In “Waking Up: Searching for Spirituality Without Religion”, Sam Harris, the neuroscientist who battles superstition, and popular religion, tells us that “the insights we can have in meditation….confirm some well-established truths about the human mind: Our conventional sense of self is an illusion; positive emotions, such as compassion and patience, are teachable skills; and the way we think directly influences our experience of the world..”
Matthieu Ricard writes in “The Art of Meditation” that “The ultimate reason for meditating is to transform ourselves in order to be better able to transform the word or, to put it another way, to transform ourselves so we can become better human beings in order to serve others in a wiser and more efficient way. It gives your life the noblest possible meaning.”
Mary Oliver sings, i think, of a person who has realized what Sam and Matthieu are talking about (in her poem “On Thy Wondrous Works I Will Meditate (Psalm 145)” (published in her collection “Devotions”)
I know a man of such
mildness and kindness it is trying to
change my life. He does not
preach, teach, but simply is. It is
astonishing, for he is Christ’s ambassador
truly, by rule and act. But, more,
he is kind with the sort of kindness that shines
out, but is resolute, not fooled….
under the storm clouds, against the world’s pride and unkindness,
with both unassailable sweetness, and tempering word.