Why Meditate?

by Matthieu Ricard

“Why meditate? Sometimes I wonder why we need to ask this question. Nobody who admires a talented artist, or pianist and would like to become one would say, “Why should I train? Why don’t I just go on stage and play Mozart?” However, when it comes to the basic human qualities that we might admire and hope to acquire—altruism, inner strength, inner freedom to deal with whatever comes our way, emotional balance, not being swayed by hatred and craving and jealousy— we think that they come up just because we want them to, without any training. Or we think that they are fixed, permanent, and that we can’t change them. It is absurd to think that we do not need training to nourish these kinds of positive qualities.

“We have the potential to be more kind, to practice mindfulness, and to experience well-being, but we only use a small fraction of the potential we have. So that’s what meditation is about: to cultivate the qualities that we have the potential for but that remain dormant, latent, unused, and to develop them to the best of our own potential.....

“Authentic happiness can only come from the long-term cultivation of wisdom, altruism, and compassion, and from the complete eradication of mental toxins such as hatred, grasping, and ignorance.”

(My comment: Why Meditate? Because, according to Author/Philosopher Ken Wilber, meditation is the scientifically documented single most powerful practice to cultivate what Matthieu Ricard is calling "authentic happiness", what I call "happiness that is not dependent on external or internal conditions", what mystics call our "already enlightened nature". Peace, Charlie)

(The above Ricard quotes are from an online Tricycle Magazine article by Matthieu Ricard, excepted from the book Why Meditate?: Working with Thoughts and Emotions © 2010 by Matthieu Ricard. Published by Hay House.)