Busyness, restlessness, distraction, intolerance to discomfort, and impatience energizes searching, but results in a lot of shallow, dry wells, exacerbating a chronic sense of 'lack.'
Those who persevere, 'delving deep,' achieve all that meditation has to offer. Lifelong committed meditation practice yields profound benefits, far beyond stress reduction.
“Often when we meditate, we are not consciously aware of much happening. It just seems like we are sitting there. Much of the time, our mind may be wandering, and when our mind is not wandering, it goes to sleep. After a while, we become aware that we are physically uncomfortable, and then we come back to our object of meditation for a couple of seconds. Sometimes meditation practice goes on and on like this, and it doesn’t seem as if anything of real value is taking place. When we tell our friends what we experienced at a meditation retreat – mostly pain, sleepiness, and confusion – they may well say, ‘You paid good money for that?’
But all the while, clarity and equanimity are slowly but surely trickling down into the subconscious. They rewire us at the most fundamental levels without us necessarily knowing it at the time. How do we know that it’s happening? We notice that things are changing in daily life. Our behavior and perception seem to be improving spontaneously. … In meditation, a lot of the learning that takes place is of this type. Meditation can clean out stored materials without necessarily requiring that you recall specific memories, traumas, and such.
We might refer to this paradigm as the ‘trickle down’ model for reaching the subconscious. This contrasts with the ‘dredge up’ model used in much of psychotherapy. In the dredge up model, we reach down and explore a specific complex. This leads to a specific personal insight that then improves our quality of life. Dredge up and trickle down could be looked upon as mutually complementary processes. For some meditators, trickle down purification may be sufficient. But when that’s not the case, they can utilize the services of dredge up experts, that is, competent mental health professionals. It’s important to appreciate the awesome power of meditation practice, but it’s also important to realize its limitations. Sometimes other elements are required – therapy, 12-step programs, openness to social feedback, having a list of explicitly stated ethical guidelines, and so forth.”
Shinzen Young. “The Science of Enlightenment. How Meditation Works.” Sounds True, 2016.