Monday, 13 October 2014

Take It to the Limit

     I have often wondered how my life would have evolved had I had a life-long, serious practice of a discipline such as karate, tai chi, portrait painting, or classical piano. We know that these practices can have a major impact on serious practitioners. But what are the limits of such practices?
     After reading about, and being fascinated by Zen, Taoism and other Eastern wisdom traditions, I finally started meditating about 16 years ago. This practice, under the guidance of experienced meditation teachers, can be seen as a "meta-practice," since it provides a well-established roadmap for human maturation. The improvements in quality of life this practice enables are profound. Yet, like myself from age 18-48, not everyone is ready to practice meditation.
     An increasing proportion of the globe's population is rapidly gaining easier access to material possessions. Many of us are aggressively exploring how far materialism can take us. How happy can we become IF we - eat, not eat, drink, take prescription drugs, take illegal substances, own homes, take 'trips of a lifetime', hoard stuff, have sex, and even work - as much, as many, as often, as huge, as quickly etc as we possibly can? And the results of this research? Obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, substance abuse, workaholism, prescription psychotropic drug use, mental illness are rampant. IMHO, this looks like human devolution.
     While materialism and cynicism are currently mainstream, there are excellent, well-established, tried-and-tested roadmaps for human evolution. When one has taken various paths - including cynicism - to their limit, and found them wanting, a more intelligent, evolved alternative may merit serious investigation.

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