02/12/2013 12:20 am ET Updated Apr 13, 2013

Why Meditation Doesn't Belong to Anyone


Yogis do it, Christians do it, Buddhists do it, Jews do it, Hindus do it, Muslims do it, and atheists do it. Kids, the elderly, CEOs, celebrities, housewives and politicians all do it. It can be done in schools, hospitals, boardrooms, town halls, or your own living room. Meditation is now written into TV dramas. Cross-legged yogis and monks can be seen in computer and credit card ads, while newspapers and magazines publish meditation tips from famous film stars. In our local post office, fliers advertising meditation and yoga classes hang next to overseas postal prices.

Meditation doesn't belong to anyone, nor is it exclusive to any particular religion, belief, or doctrine. There are as many forms of meditation as there are people who practice, and it's of value to all. It's as simple and normal as breathing. The Dalai Lama, probably the world's most famous meditator, says that meditation is like cookery: "You wouldn't merely read recipes with approval, you'd try them out. Some you'd like and would use again. Like cookery, meditation only makes sense if you put it into practice."

We have both been doing it, writing about it, and teaching it for more than 40 years and couldn't image how we could survive without it. In that time, we've seen how easily people get confused or miss the point, believing meditation means having to stop their thinking (which is as pointless as trying to catch the wind) or do complicated techniques to reach an unrealistic place of perfect bliss. But remember, saints get headaches, the Buddha had a stomachache, Oprah has bad hair days. We're all ordinary, and meditation is no big deal -- it's just being quiet with ourselves, as we are. It is more of an undoing than a doing. It enables us to witness how our mind jumps from one drama to another, it dissolves mental clutter, frees us of habitual patterns, helps release stress, and feels wonderfully peaceful.

The type or method of meditation is not the point, as it is simply an aide. It's not the experience itself. Everyone is different, what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another. A hammer can help build a house, but it is not the house. No one practice is better than another; they are simply methods that give our chattering minds something to do other than drive us crazy, thereby allowing us to be still.

Meditation is waking up from the misconception that the intellectual and rational mind is the whole picture. It is the realization of the brilliance of who we truly are. Someone once asked Ed if he had ever experienced another dimension. Ed replied: "Have you ever experienced this one?" As a result of meditation, our mind becomes clear of obscuration, our heart as big as the universe. We are awake, free, spontaneous, and in the moment. What a gift!

So what can you do for yourself this year? Meditate! It's something that will change your life for the better, forever!

What does meditation mean to you? Do comment below. You can receive notice of our blogs every Tuesday by checking Become a Fan at the top.

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The upcoming Be The Change Meditate e-Conference is a life-changing way to do this. Thirty-two inspiring meditation experts and luminaries take you on a magical mystery journey that will transform you from this inside out, such as Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love; Congressman Tim Ryan, author of Mindful Nation; Sharon Salzberg, author of Loving Kindness; neuroscientist Richie Davidson, who proves how meditation affects the brain; Gabby Bernstein, author of Spirit Junkie; and with us, Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of the conference companion book, BE THE CHANGE: How Meditation Can Transform You and The World.

A vital resource of understanding and personal experience, Be The Change Meditate e-Conference brings meditation alive and accessible to all. Discover the transformative effect of meditation, what meditation means, how it benefits you, how easy it really is, and simple guidelines on how to do it. Expect your life to never be the same again! Register now and be ready for lift off March 4-8.

Enjoy our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, foreword by the Dalai Lama. Our three meditation CDs are: Metta -- Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi -- Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra -- Inner Conscious Relaxation.

Ed and Deb are members of the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Yoga and Sports. They host their own radio show, Going Out Of Your Mind, on For more information:

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