Why do we Meditate?

Today Payton led a discussion on the rather complicated topic of “Why do we meditate?” after playing a talk given by Ren Bunce, which is available here:

http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/3093.html

Ren spoke about her personal experience coming to practice, starting with Alcoholics Anonymous. She heard the teaching to love everyone, but was confused about “How?”. It was only through a lot of meditation that she was able to directly experience what Jane Hirshfield once wrote:

“Everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.”

The discussion touched on many peoples’ personal experiences and challenges coming to formal meditation practice, particularly the paradoxical nature of doing something – and something that’s really hard – without a goal. Meditation seems to work like little drops of water hitting a stone; nothing appears to happen for a long time, but eventually there is a hole and through it we can see our experiences in a new way. As Ren said,

when we sit, we are training the mind, we are not indulging the mind