Much of what I’ve perused recently on self-awareness tout the benefit of meditation in increasing self-awareness. This has led to a boom in meditation instructors providing both classes and retreats for mastering the techniques. Search for meditation on the internet and you will find hundreds, perhaps thousands of instructors willing to teach this skill for a fee. Many practitioners insist that you cannot learn to meditate properly without this kind of guidance and support, warning that students will not learn to overcome initial pitfalls and move on to a higher level of awareness.
I wondered how hard could it be to sit erect and still, eyes closed, palms up, chanting the same word over and controlling your breath, listening to your heartbeat, and continually emptying your mind? Now, I think about it, this could be a difficult feat to persist in an activity that is so boring. Indeed, one of the mistakes that some mediation teachers mentioned was people falling asleep during meditation (But isn’t it supposed to be relaxing?). Another one was that people simply didn’t see what they were accomplishing through mediation and would give up. They needed encouragement to work hard if they wanted to improve at it. People do not just pay for an instructor, they pay for a coach to bolster their confidence, to keep selling them the product they have bought, to convince them they are accomplishing something when they do not see the advertised results (e.g. relief of stress, better concentration).
Claims are made that meditation relieves stress, improves ability to concentrate and generally increases sense of happiness and well-being. But, then people would not pay fees varying from a few hundred to over a thousand 1000.00 U.S. dollars to learn a skill that made no claims. The newest claims that attract CEOs and business owners is that meditation increases awareness and ability to concentrate, improving their business acumen and making it possible to grow their business in stress ridden economy.
This has left me wondering if meditation, which was originally a tenet of Buddhism, has become the newest “investment.” People invest in it making others wealthy and expecting that it improves their own ability to make money.