Don’t Meditate to Get Better


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Beware of self-help formulas—such as the many pithy well-intentioned memes on social media—that reinforce conditional thinking, including any semblance of a formula conveyed by this brief article! For example, "If you let go of fear, then you will be free."

You are already free, regardless of what you're experiencing. Now...integrating that insight into one's consciousness is another story, although it's a story worth entertaining.

Don’t practice meditation and self-improvement methods to get better. Practice to see clearly and think & act skillfully, with kindness and compassion. Better is a relativistic concept; striving to be "better" can sometimes be a subtle form of self-rejection. The cultivation of clear thinking, skillful action, and compassion is an intentional, values-based orientation that can guide you in a direction to make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

What are the keys to a path of clear thinking, skillful action, and compassion?

  • Know your intentions and values. Knowledge is the power that energizes them. If clear thinking, skillful action, and compassion align with your values and intentions, become familiar with those qualities by closely observing how you and others embody them.
  • Commit to your intentions and values. Commitment creates a context for holding yourself accountable; accepting your shortcomings with kindness is recommended. While knowledge is the fuel, commitment is the engine that can move you along this path.
  • Practice expressing your intentions and values through your thoughts, speech, and actions. Practice is the essential vehicle for cultivating skills that can liberate you. The paradox is that you are already liberated. The practice of mindfulness meditation ultimately reveals this truth.

As the ancient poet Rumi asks, "Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?"

In Rumi's parlance, the invitation is to, "Move outside the tangle of fear thinking. Live in silence. Flow down and down into ever-widening rings of Being."


© 2017 Larry Cammarata, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist and Mindfulness Educator

Mindfulness Travels provides continuing education retreats to inspiring places throughout the world with leaders in the field of mindfulness-based psychology and mindful movement.


      © L. Cammarata 2017