Three Merits of Meditation

From today, I hold a meditation camp at the foot of Mt. Fuji for four days. I am often asked, “Why meditation?” For Adlerians, meditation has three merits.

The first merit is about negative emotions. Individual Psychology teaches us that emotions do not possess the individual, but the individual uses emotions for his/her own purpose. However, we use our emotions often in childish ways, because their usage is decided by Life Style which is fixed in our childhood. It is, therefore, sometimes very difficult for us to control emotions even if we understand the principle of ‘Psychology of Use’. In meditation, we understand that every emotion is the object, not the subject of the consciousness. We realize, “I am not the emotion, and the emotion is not I. I can decide myself independent of every emotion.”

The second merit is about positive opinions. We tend to be officious to others because of our good will. Our “kind” interventions, however, often discourage others. Not only negative emotions, but also positive opinions may be our, and others’, problem. Those positive opinions are often named ‘love’. That is not the true love, but disguised Ich-gebundenheit, self boundness. Through meditation, we can be independent of the false love just the same as of negative emotions.

The third merit is about the social interest. In meditation we learn that the world and the self are not different things. The whole world is a living unity, and we are its organic part, just like a cell in a living body. The world gives us enormous blessings through four ways; blessings of the nature, of the people, of the family, and of the teachers. When we realize that, a feeling of gratitude fills us, and we begin to behave out of compassion. This is what Adler called Gemeinschaftsgefühl.

These four days, we meditate from morning till night. I do not use “Zen” type sitting meditation. Rather, I prefer Indian and Tibetan “Tantric” methods, which employ dances or hard breathing to calm the mind. My camp is like a workshop of a dance group, or sometimes of a football team. It is exhausting, but very joyful.