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Is meditation alone enough to obtain peace?

Over the past 5 years, I've desired inner peace more than anything. I've been performing meditation (mainly counting of breaths to ten for at least 15 minutes per day) for 6+ years. While I can admit that I am noticeably calmer, I still greatly suffer internally (self-judgement, lack of self-compassion, etc.) as well as from external situations (getting mad at other's opinions, people "judging" me, anger at people being "weak" and unable to follow diets, etc.).

From a logical stand point, there is no need to hold onto these thoughts and while in meditation, I don't. However, once I begin daily life with common stressors, these thought dominate my life. In addition, even while in meditation, I get negative and judgmental thoughts but I am able to let go of them more often than not.

It feels like I can't escape from stress and internal negativity.

I hear wonderful stories regarding how meditation alone can help harbor a calmer, more peaceful mind. While I partly agree with that, I feel like it may not be enough on its own.

What I really want is to be able to: a) have naturally compassionate thoughts arise naturally (less negativity and judgement) or simply less judgement in general and b) a mind that naturally is calm opposed to a mind that is always racing and burning me out.

While this post is somewhat sporadic (like my mind =)) I imagine that someone has been in a similar situation. Any retrospection or thoughts welcome.



  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I'd say it really depends on the person. Meditation is a wonderful tool. But it is not the whole toolbox, at least not for most. I'd suspect you'd find in further discussion with such people who make those claims about meditation that they have other practices in their life that support developing a calm and peaceful mind. Most people I know who have seen the best results don't think they can maintain them just by meditation and then returning to their regular life and mindset between sessions. It has to be more than something you do, and rather an entire lifestyle shift, including how you think.

    Part of the point of meditation is to learn how to watch your mind and its games, and learn that you have a choice in which thoughts you give voice and action to. They aren't all deserving. Learning how to short circuit that process takes time and (IMO) different types of meditation rather than just shamatha, which is single-pointed focus, such as on the breath. That is kind of the jumping off point for most people, but isn't necessarily the end game.

    Your mind is just like a puppy who doesn't have a clue it can't pee all over the house. You repeatedly take the dog outside to retrain it so it doesn't have to think anymore about where to pee. Your mind isn't much different. Calming roiling thoughts is part of the process, but learning how to create better ones is another part of the process. And the time frame in which that happens naturally varies widely. Learning how to take the calm from meditation into the real world is what practice is all about. It's part of why having something like Buddhism to go along with meditation helps, because in addition to the meditation practice, you have things like precepts and the Eightfold path to go to when you have problems that arise. Other meditations have things like yoga that they go to. I can't think of a single person I know who fits that description who doesn't have a practice of some sort that goes beyond just meditation.

  • Hello @BoatS :)

    I don't really have wisdom to offer you. I just wanted to let you know, even though I haven't been practising for a year yet, I already find the slowness of the progress frustrating. At times, that is.

    At night, I try to find examples in my day which suggest I have grown calmer. Times when I could have reacted from a place of judgement, but haven't. I hold on to these moments, like talismans against self-doubt.

    My other strategy, when I'm unimpressed with my "good moments", is to go out and create them. Smile and thank the checkout worker in the supermarket, or wish the postman a good day. And then I can be proud of that interaction.

    I was told: If you find a peaceful state in your meditation, but can't in daily life, then try throughout the day to remember how you felt in meditation. Simply bringing it to mind can help.

    But I really answered this question because I also find it difficult. So good luck, and metta =)

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Hi @BoatS ~ Wonderful responses from @karasti and @adamcrossley ~ There's always something more - different aspects that we don't take into consideration. One of those that crossed my mind, is that you're already a decent person, before you started meditating and other practices.

    An evil person (if there is such a thing) wouldn't want to study Buddhism or meditate, etc. I figure the average person is a fairly decent human being already. We don't give ourselves credit at all or often, for being - for the most part - a caring, kind and considerate person.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    If we have presence of mind then whatever work we do will be the very tool which enables us to know right and wrong continually. There is plenty of time to meditate, we just don't fully understand the practice, that's all. While sleeping we breathe, eating we breathe, don't we? Why don't we have time to meditate? Wherever we are we breathe. If we think like this then our life has as much value as our breath, wherever we are we have time.

    Ajahn Chah

    From here.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 2017

    Is meditation alone enough to obtain peace?

    From a Buddhist perspective The Eightfold Path (which includes meditation) is the way to lasting peace of mind...

    Late add on :)

    One have to interact in a world of one's own making, (mental reflection) so it's important to take the meditation cushion and into one's everyday life...in other words Never leave home without it...

  • Is meditation alone enough to obtain peace?

    No. Clearly not.

    We need (maybe it is just me) EVERYTHING.

    Peaceful Tea such as yogi teas or chamomile ...
    Peaceful food, that improves our health.
    Peaceful, stress free environment, such as a personal sacred space.
    Peaceful fiends (oops) Peaceful friends, good company such as here, the NewBuddhas ...
    Peaceful body. At peace. B)

    etc etc etc

    Peace Be With You <3

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