"Timing" ("readiness for change") really is everything! In broad terms, if you're happy & feel that life will remain rosy, you probably don't want anything to change. If, however, you're somewhat unhappy & sense that genuine happiness is obtainable, you may be motivated to actively change your life.
An important timing issue to consider is recent major trauma: death of a loved one, or the recent end of an important relationship. It's best to give yourself adequate time to heal from such trauma before taking on the challenge of learning to meditate.
“Any experience that is stressful enough to leave us feeling helpless, frightened, overwhelmed, or profoundly unsafe is considered a trauma.” Pat Ogden To benefit from meditation, one has to be able to feel safe, relax, & play just past one's comfort zone, in their zone of learning. I use the word 'play' because the quality of effort required for meditation is much like looking after a beloved 3-year old child. It's kind, playful awareness, flexibility & curiosity (instead of struggling to drag a heavy suitcase up flights of stairs).
So, is this the right time for you to start meditating? Maybe the following can help you decide:
1) For some, life is rolling along nicely and feel that if they just keep doing their part, life will continue to be satisfactory. While life is not always perfect, short of winning a lottery, they really can't see how life could be much better than it is now.
These folks tend not to be motivated to start, nor complete, an 8-week MBSR program. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
2) For some, life is tolerable - "ordinary unhappiness" - but they're certain, even dogmatic, that nothing can be done to substantially improve things.
These folks are rarely interested in meditation.
3) Some do not settle for "ordinary unhappiness" and are certain, even dogmatic, that they are markedly improving their lives by engaging in a specific path, practice, discipline, philosophy etc.
These folks might be open to meditation IF they realize that their current seemingly successful path is not interfered with AND IF they believe that meditation can supplement or boost the depth & effectiveness of their current path, practice, discipline, philosophy etc.
4) Some do not settle for "ordinary unhappiness" and seek a path towards genuine peace & profound happiness. They're ready to gradually let go of fearful (egocentric) self-concern, and shift to (allocentric, ecocentric) openness & loving curiosity about all aspects of life, including death. Such a shift clearly requires maturity in the form of self-compassion, self-acceptance, & acceptance of all manner of life's difficulties, complexities & apparent paradoxes.
Folks like this are uncommon, BUT tend to be deeply interested in meditation practices.
When the time is right, most people benefit from meditation.
I've received VERY diverse, wise email responses to this post, which I will share by early July - stay tuned!
If you haven't already, please consider adding your unique perspective.
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