A Meditation on Mediation: What if We’ve Got Success All Wrong?

In 2017, we are more than ever concerned with becoming our most successful. Medium seems to show me articles about ways to become successful, the habits to become a successful entrepeneur, the ten books you need to read in order to be successful, the one daily habit that will improve your successes more than any other topic. There is clearly an audience for this type of talk. People want to be successful. People want to be their best selves.

However, what if we’ve got success all wrong? What if, to be truly happy, we don’t need to climb the ladder to the top, but rather look into our reflection in the lake, standing contentedly beneath us?

Contemporary fascination with meditation and mindfulness is almost paradoxical. While most of these traditions stem from a Buddhist framework, we use them as a fifteen-minute break at the beginning or end of our otherwise busy schedules. While we recognize the benefit of this mindful practice, we don’t really believe the teachings of it. Rather, we use the practice in a way that twists and perverts the original meaning.

We use short meditations in order to have a clearer mind so that we can work harder. Why don’t we dive deeper into what brought about these meditational practices and forgo our busy schedules for a truly meditational life?

Ah, well, that’s probably taking things a bit too far, you might think. That might make you feel a little nervous. You were okay with the little meditations each morning but you weren’t quite ready to devote your life to it.

And that’s quite alright. However, I think we should at least recognize the problem here, and realize that if we are still feeling a little dissatisfied with life, the answer might be bigger than “I couldn’t focus in my meditation this morning.”

The truth is a trap … you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. — Søren Kierkegaard, Journals.

The truth is a trap … you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. — Søren Kierkegaard, Journals.