I’m the wrong person to ask how to introduce others to meditation. I’ve successfully introduced a handful of people to Anapana and have yet to convince someone to sit a full 10-day course. Part of the reason is because in the past I would convince people to participate by getting them excited. If I could get their adrenaline pumping a little bit I could convince them to join in. This is a great strategy for parties, hiking adventures, going to the gym, and having dinner, but not for meditation.
It’s because meditation is such a long haul. There is no instant gratification. When you use excitement as a motivator people want to be rewarded. If they’re not rewarded before the adrenaline wears off they’ll give up. At least that’s my experience. So the question is, how do you inspire someone to participate?
Obviously, I don’t have the answer. It seems to me that a person just needs to be wired in a certain way to pursue this path. They already need to be searching for answers, hard workers, and a bit unsatisfied. They need to be in a position to take 10 days off and be willing to use those 10 days to do something really difficult. They need to be willing to work towards an impossible goal. They need to be down right different. The amazing thing is, these “different” people can be found in every race, class, country, religion, and sex in the world. I don’t know how to inspire people to meditate. If you do, let me know. Time to meditate.
4 thoughts on “Excitement Does Not Work”
“They need to be wired in a certain way” sounds right to me; I would say “they need to be karmicly receptive.” Those who are will surely be inspired by the qualities of meditators, but I don’t think it’s possible to chose “who” to inspire or “when” to inspire them, otherwise it would be persuasion.
Inspiration is defined as divine influence, which would be impersonal.
Persuasion is directed at a target because it comes from an individual with attachments.
You understand that there is no instant gratification or immediate reward in meditation. It seems the same is true of trying to spread the technique to others.
There is no excitement in deep sleep either. Imagine if you miss it for a day or two. Simple awareness and equanimity is like deep sleep but achieved consciously. Once you get a taste of it, you will never want to go with out it. Did the chicken came first or the egg?
I like all of your points Lisa, Tryg, and Anon. I know that I have ego stuck in this desire to help people, and I’ve definitely used persuasion in the past, especially with kids. It’s strange to be taught to take control of situations my whole life and then realize that the best thing is to let it all go. Letting go is hard! Thanks for your comments! They definitely help me process things in a little different way.