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Having Friends Who Don't Meditate

Something that has become interesting to me in my experience with meditation is not just the ways in which meditation has made me appreciate myself and my life more, but also the effect it has had on my relationships with others.


Specifically, I am speaking about people who do not meditate and who have many preconceptions and prejudices about it.  It is challenging when you feel good about something you are doing in your life and others are startled or put off by it.  Reactions vary and may be hurtful or conjure up pre-existing feelings of insecurity -- especially when you are starting to practice.  Of course you want to be accepted in this world -- you want to be there for others and to have others be there for you.  Yet, these types of situations can be good for re-evaluating how exactly you are relating to others and receiving praise or blame based on others' perceptions of you.  If you like meditation, and you feel like it is something that has become important to you, then you should keep doing it. 

It's about becoming comfortable with yourself, developing confidence -- and accepting that we are not solid, fixed entities; we are subject to change, and, sometimes, people don't like it when we challenge their expectations of us.  While these reactions have ultimately not discouraged me from my practice, they have stirred a curiosity within me in terms of wanting to more fully understand these prejudices and how to skillfully approach them.


While I have become confident in the value of my daily practice, and am continuing to learn to be patient and loving toward myself, I’ve had to learn to accept these challenges I’ve faced with others as a part of the practice as well.  Basically, people are not always going to be as supportive as you want them to be, but instead of simply writing them off on this basis, it’s important to evaluate how you respond to these sometimes difficult situations: to appreciate that there is misunderstanding and perhaps intolerance there -- to acknowledge it, and to not allow others’ prejudices to tarnish your own self worth.   Not everyone is going to want to meditate, and that’s okay -– but staying true to your own practice is a very personal and, in fact, very empowering thing.   


It’s funny when you tell people in your life what you’ve been up to, and the strange looks you sometimes get when you tell them you meditate.  Not all people, but some.  As soon as it elicits this reaction or something similar, I usually laugh and gently ask them what they think about meditation -- that I’m curious to understand how they view it and why.  More of the common answers I’ve gotten are that they think meditation entails having your head in the clouds and is rooted more in emotion or dreams than in real life or logic.  They seem to regard it as a type of self-hypnosis that detaches you from reality.  Others I’ve asked about it just think the idea of sitting with yourself quietly is very odd -– they are used to being stimulated by music or television or a myriad of other things, and for them, this is normal and expected. 


Whatever they may think, just creating a dialog about it -- to open the lines of communication and to be open and honest about what it means to you -- encourages a healthy exchange of ideas.  By doing this, you are giving them a chance to be accepting and understanding of you, and you them.  Not everyone has to meditate, but clear communication with the intent of cultivating understanding and tolerance is never a bad thing -– even if it doesn’t always work.


You may even figure out who your most tolerant and accepting friends are, and that’s also never a bad thing, either.




Photo Credit: Morguefile.

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I can see a visible

I can see a visible difference between the people who meditate and people who don't.The people who meditate daily are far more positive than the people who don't meditate.

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