I recently read an interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn about mindfulness meditation. One of his main points was that we are too concerned with doing, instead of just “being”.
It all sounds very well, and quite poetic, and it’s easy to see that modern hectic life-styles have too strong a focus on what you do and achieve, and that something is lost along the way. A similar feeling has been conveyed by Buddhist teachers advocating seated meditation through the humorous twist on an old phrase: “Don’t just do something! Sit there!”
Beyond the clichés
This easily leaves the impression, however, that meditation is not about doing, just about “being”. This fits well with a view of meditation as a specific state, perhaps a state of “just being” where you’re “totally present in the here and now”, as some of the clichés go. For sure, meditation may lead to states of intense presence or contentedness, but it also includes phases of restlessness and boredom, or even pain and sadness.