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Lions Roar : September 2010
38 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2010 Why Meditate? Matthieu Ricard answers everyone’s first question Take an honesT look at yourself. Where are you in your life? What have your priorities been up till now and what do you intend to do with the time you have left? We are a mixture of light and shadow, of good qualities and defects. are we really the best we can be? Must we remain as we are now? If not, what can we do to im- prove ourselves? These are questions worth asking, particularly if we have come to the conclusion that change is both desirable and possible. In our modern world, we are consumed from morning till night with endless activity. We do not have much time or energy left over to consider the basic causes of our happiness or suffering. We imagine, more or less consciously, that if we un- dertake more activities we will have more intense experiences and therefore our sense of dissatisfaction will fade away. But the truth is that many of us continue to feel let down and frustrated by our contemporary lifestyle. The aim of meditation is to transform the mind. It does not have to be associ- ated with any particular religion. every one of us has a mind and every one of us can work on it. Is Change PossIBle? The real question is not whether change is desirable; it is whether it is possible to change. some people might think they can’t change because their afflictive emo- tions are so intimately associated with their minds that it is impossible to get rid of them without destroying a part of themselves. It is true that in general a person’s character doesn’t change very much over the course of their life. If we could study the same group of people every few years, we would rarely find that the angry people had become patient, that the disturbed peo- ple had found inner peace, or that the pretentious people had learned humility.