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Excerpted from How to Meditate by Lawrence LeShan. Copyright 1974 by Lawrence LeShan. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"My goals are a function of the way I perceive myself and the world. As these perceptions clarify and broaden, my goals also develop."

Lawrence LeShan, How to Meditate, Part 3

One of the reasons the formal schools of meditational practice have such a high percentage of failures among their students--those who get little out of the practices and leave meditation completely--is that most schools tend to believe that there is one right way to meditate for everyone and, by a curious coincidence, it happens to be the one they use. Both physical and meditational programs have, as a primary goal, the tuning and training of the person so that he can effectively move toward his goals.

Does meditation also change these goals? Certainly the increased competence and knowledge of this competence, the increased ability to act wholeheartedly and whole-mindedly, the wider perception of reality and the more coherent personality organization that it brings do change the individual's actions and goals as much as good psychotherapy is likely to change actions and goals for the same reason.

My goals are a function of the way I perceive myself and the world. As these perceptions clarify and broaden, my goals also develop. As I become less anxious and feel less vulnerable, I become less suspicious of and hostile to my fellows, and my goals and actions change. The analogy between physical and meditational programs cannot be carried too far, but it seems reasonable here to point out that a person who has trained his body and is confident of it feels far less vulnerable and therefore behaves differently in many situations than a person with an untrained and uncoordinated body.

There is no age limit for meditation. This book was originally titled Meditation for Adults. One can practice, and benefit from, these disciplines as long as you are adult enough to understand that your own growth and becoming is a serious matter and worth working for. And so long as you understand that if you wish the best from and for yourself, you will have to work hard, that it does not come without sustained effort.

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