I want to clap for this David Gerken, but I think you’ve done Meditation a large disservice by presenting your understanding as the end-all of Meditation. There is a difference between meditation and mindfulness — which you don’t focus on at all — and equating them is neither correct, nor useful in the long-run.

“The objective of meditation and mindfulness is to observe, without judgment, anything and everything happening in the present moment and to accept anything and everything happening in those moments exactly as they are.”

The objectives of Mediation are many-fold, not just the initial stage of learning to wittingly (the old word for “mindfulness”) pay attention to what is happening. And while the “acceptance” that you present as the only way to do meditation correctly may be the be-all end-all of modern mindfulness practice, you have glossed over the most important part of first-stage meditating: noticing that your mind has wandered away — because that is mindfulness, not failure.

Someone whose mind wanders away during meditation is blessed with a multitude of opportunities to both experience and deepen their mindfulness. And I find this statement something to dial into because put this way, every noticing of their wandering mind is an accomplishment — not a failure to withhold judgement on.

I can never understand why that point isn’t made clearly at the beginning of mindfulness courses, because it seems that it’s absence from their training leaves students open to the idea that every time they find their mind wandering they have failed — which is far from the truth.

Beyond that initial effort and accomplishment — which is all modern secular meditation seems concerned with — Meditation is ultimately focused on having a direct experience of the nature of one’s mind, because once you’ve experienced that, everything changes for you. And along the way to that, there are many paths.

Thanks for listening.

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