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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.
 


"All take work. There is no easy or royal road to the goal we seek. Further, there is no end to the search; there is no position from which we can say, 'Now I have arrived, I can stop working.'"

Lawrence LeShan, How to Meditate, Part 2

These explorers have developed training methods to help people reach these abilities, and these methods (meditational practices) all have much in common. As I shall show in Chapters 4, 5 and 6, all are based on the same insights and principles, whether they were developed early in India, in the fifth to twelfth century in the Syrian and Jordanian deserts, in tenth-century Japan, in medieval European monasteries, in Poland and Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries or at other times and places.

All take work. There is no easy or royal road to the goal we seek. Further, there is no end to the search; there is no position from which we can say, "Now I have arrived, I can stop working." As we work we find ourselves more at home in the universe, more at ease with ourselves, more able to work effectively at our tasks and toward our goal, closer to our fellow man, less anxious and less hostile. We do not, however, reach an end. As in all serious matters--love, the appreciation of beauty, efficiency--there is no endpoint to the potential of human growth. We work--in meditation--as part of a process; we seek a goal knowing it is forever unattainable.

A good program of meditation is, in many ways, quite similar to a good program of physical exercise. Both require repeated hard work. The work is often basically pretty silly in its formal aspect. What could be more foolish than to repeatedly lift twenty pounds of lead up and down unless it is counting your breaths up to four over and over again, a meditational exercise? In both the exercise is for the effect on the person doing it rather than for the goal of lifting lead or counting breaths. Both programs should be adapted to the particular person using them with the clear understanding that there is no one "right" program for everyone. It would be stupid to give the same physical program to two individuals differing widely in build, general physical condition, and relationship of the development of the breathing and blood circulating apparatus to the development of the muscles. It is equally stupid to give the same meditational program to two individuals differing widely in the development of the intellectual, emotional and sensory systems and in the relationship of these systems to each other. 

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