Maybe They're Seeking the Spiritual Path Without Knowing It
It's funny how many people run after unusual methods of spiritual cultivation when the basics for cultivation are all around them. It's also funny how many people are searching for the path of spiritual cultivation without knowing it either.
For instance, many people know nothing of spiritual practices, yet you can find them seeking for that same necessary quietude of the mind by adopting cultural habits - even something as simple as sitting in a rocking chair - because those activities might lead to some sort of mental stilling.
In other words, people are constantly looking for samadhi without knowing it, and something as simple as watching a baseball game, zoning out in front of a movie, or sitting in a rocking chair might be masquerading attempts to find this sort of mental peace.
An interesting story which illustrates that people are always seeking samadhi is the following example from the mental health field:
People tend to pursue all sorts of activities like this that will lead to a one-pointed calming of their thoughts, but what they're actually doing is seeking the realm of spiritual cultivation through some sort of one-pointed concentration. Singing songs, reciting the rosary, making paper airplanes or folding origami ... they're all forms of cultivation in greater or lesser measure yet people don't know it. Sometimes these activities aim at producing mental emptiness, and sometimes they aim at producing one-pointed concentration where there's only one thought rather than ten-thousand. That's a definition of mental emptiness as well, because in that state there's very little discriminative thought. The professional athletes who taste the state of "flow" just once spend the rest of their lives trying to regain the taste of that state, and what they're missing as well is that this is all spiritual cultivation.
We commonly say all these people are seeking "peace of mind" but in truth, they're all seeking samadhi.
As Eckhart Tolle noted,
All these people are seeking for some way to quiet their thoughts. They're seeking some form of meditation, and yet religion and society have not taught them this is what they're searching for. I always recommend the HOLOSYNC program for these people, because it's meditation that they are seeking and they just need some way to get started.
Let's take sleeping for instance. One of the reasons some people love to sleep is because the state of deep sleep is a chance to silence their mind. It's one of those rare situations where people can get away from all the mental busyness they normally take upon themselves. The Hindu sage Shankara said that people are always seeking an escape from the misery brought out by the efforts of the mind, and that's why mankind has invented so many cultivation methods, and other activities, that can lead to some type of mental calming. So we get involved in all these activities, but forget what we're really seeking. It's only when you can master the emptiness of meditation that you can return to the state of the heavens.
As the Vimalakirti Sutra says, "Since the minds of those who are difficult to help are like monkeys, various methods of teaching are devised to check them so that they can become tamed." That's why we have so many meditation methods and spiritual paths. The wide variety you see in the world shouldn't confuse you because they have all been created to appeal to all sorts of minds.
So what do you do next time you see someone in a rocking chair, or buzzing out in front of the TV? Just recognize that they're not really seeking entertainment, but just some way to calm their minds. When next you see this, why not point them in the direction of meditation?
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