Esoteric Meditation vs Practical Meditation
We live in a very secular time. We’d like to believe that we are guided by reason and science. Given this context, it is entirely understandable why people have second thoughts about meditation. A lot of this really flows from the dichotomy between practical and esoteric meditation.
Esoteric meditation is really the historic practice of meditation. In this context, meditation is practiced in connection with some sort of higher religious goal or some sort of mystical objective.
If anything, meditation is not the centerpiece. Rather, it’s just a side practice to what should be the primary goal, which is to attain some sort of enlightenment or some sort of spiritual release.
Esoteric meditation is rooted in Eastern philosophy. The whole idea of Eastern philosophy is that life is suffering or that there is such a thing as karma and eternal rebirths. The whole point of any kind of spiritual exercise is to gain a perspective that enables people to break out of this eternal series of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth.
Meditation has historically been associated with this thinking because meditation is one practice that enables people to start seeing life from a completely different perspective. This would enable them to think, talk and behave differently enough for them to break the pattern of karma or the attachment that keeps them trapped in that mystical cycle of birth and rebirth.
As you can tell, this involves a tremendous amount of religious and spiritual concepts. There is chanting. People who practice meditation in this context say “om om” or they use some sort of spiritual mantra. They also engage in yoga and other physical exercises that have spiritual connotations.
Practical meditation simply strips away all the esoteric, religious, spiritual and mystical layers of meditation. Instead, it looks at the meditative practice based on the core mental processes that enable people to self-repair to such an extent that they do not go crazy.
In other words, instead of dwelling on the surface differences, practical meditation goes to the structural components of the meditative act itself and strips away anything that is unnecessary. It also focuses on one non-religious, non-spiritual or non-mystical goal, which is to achieve focus in the present moment.
We’re not even talking about peace. We’re not even talking about some sort of inner serenity, harmony and what have you. Although those emotional states and experiences can and do happen, practical and fully secular meditation is all about achieving some sense of mental clarity in the here and now. There’s no past to worry about, and no future to obsess over.
The Bottom Line with Practical Meditation
Practical meditation basically strips away all that is “extra” or “historic” and “cultural” about meditation. It goes to the basics. The basics really boils down to learning how to focus on the present moment. Nothing before, nothing after. It’s all about right here, right now.