Why Meditate?

Why Meditate?

"Why meditate? As you suffer less, are more fulfilled, as you understand who you are, and as you have a handle on changing how you carry yourself, all of that sums up ultimately in how you contribute to making this world a better place." 

~ Shinzen Young

Humane Societies

From Ecce Homo (Behold Humanity) by Xavier Le Pichon:

Xavier Le Pichon Physical pain, like fear, are mechanisms of alarm that play a decisive role in the process of decision necessary for the survival of the individual, among animals as well as humans. They also play an important role at the community level. Beyond physical pain, there is the inner suffering. For example, the rupture, due to death or departure, of a relation of very strong dependence between two individuals, may lead to grief consumption or even death. Human societies integrate in their structure in an organic way the fragility and vulnerability manifested in this whole vast world of suffering and death. This is why they are called humane. In the French language the word “humain” is used to denote someone who is both human and humane. That is, he is sensitive to the suffering of his neighbor and tries to alleviate that suffering. In the same way, a society is humane in the degree that it takes care of the lives of those who suffer most without either rejecting or marginalizing them.

…Our humanity is not an attribute that we have received once and forever with our conception. It is a potentiality that we have to discover within us and progressively develop or destroy through our confrontation with the different experiences of suffering that will meet us throughout our life.

My Life Wasn’t Meant To Be This Difficult

Excerpt from “To Cambodia, With Love,” by Shannon Sexton, Yoga + Joyful Living (Fall 2009):

To Cambodia With Love When millionaire movie executive Scott Neeson took a backpacking trip through Cambodia in 2003, he didn’t expect to land on a garbage dump. What he saw on the outskirts of Phnom Penh changed his life: hundreds of children—some as young as three years old—somber, sick, smeared in grime, scavenging for recyclables in the smoky wasteland of Steung Meanchey, a toxic dump site that spans eight football fields and is more than 100 feet deep.

Abandoned, orphaned, or sent here to work by their families, these children toil for 12 hours a day or longer, earning about 30¢—enough for a bowl of rice. They scorch their feet on smoldering garbage as they wade through hospital and industrial waste, shards of glass, used condoms, rancid food, and feces. Pimps lurk at the edge of the dump, hoping to lure them into brothels. Their parents—if they have any—are the youngest survivors of the blood-drenched era of the Khmer Rouge; alcoholism, drug abuse, and domestic violence are woven into the fabric of their everyday lives. The most heartbreaking statistic? Only 27 percent of these children survive.

Few of us would consider selling our house, our car, our cherished possessions, and moving here—to one of the most polluted places on the planet, shrouded in smog so thick it coats the taste buds and sears the lungs; a place where flies rise up in black clouds and children are run over by garbage trucks.

Even fewer of us would fund schools for these children with our own money or work long days and weekends with no end in sight, fortified only by the knowledge that we’re making a difference.

Scott Neeson / Cambodian Children's Fund Scott Neeson did.

…He told PBS the real turning point came when, during a visit to Cambodia, he received an "emergency" call from LA. "My phone rang, and it was my office, and the actor who was on tour was having quite a serious meltdown because the private jet didn’t have the right amenities for him. He didn’t want to get on the jet." The actor was quoted as saying, "My life wasn’t meant to be this difficult."

"And I thought, I don’t want this to be my world. This isn’t my reality anymore."

[Thanks Kit!]