Why meditate?

These are the big motivators, as I see them, in order of prevalence.

  1. Escape suffering. This is the classic Siddhartha motivation. From what I can tell, this the major motivation driving the current surge in mindfulness/meditation interest.
  2. Performance. Some people meditate because they want performance benefits. Happens a lot in sports and business.
  3. Achieve enlightenment. This is a more aspirational motivation.

Shinzen Young gives these five aspects of happiness that can be achieved through the application of mindful awareness.

  • Reduce physical or emotional suffering.
  • Elevate physical or emotional fulfillment.
  • Achieve deep self knowledge.
  • Make positive changes in objective behavior.
  • Develop a spirit of love and service towards others.

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