The meditator’s hell

Being a meditator is difficult. The perception of time and space changes a lot. The body resents this transition. I often feel pain in my third eye, throat, and heart chakra. In addition, I feel energetic tension in my spine and the back of my neck.

And yet I keep meditating like crazy.

I do so, even though there’s a horrible phase in meditation practice called “the dark night of the soul,” where the spiritual path becomes a nightmare because desolation, loneliness, and demotivation hit hard—occupational hazards. You can’t skip them.

It’s like when you start to recover from a muscle injury. Exercises to regain mobility and strength may be painful; you can’t do them well. You can’t operate like everyone else. The same thing happens when you are a meditator. You spend all your time recovering mental muscles that you atrophied throughout your life. The physical and psychological adjustment you undergo in transitioning from an egocentric to an awakened mind is heavy. It is hard. It’s painful.

And yet I keep meditating like crazy.

Recently on a podcast, one of my students told me: “That’s the Buddha’s promise, isn’t it? Dharma practice grants you permanent happiness.”

“That’s right,” I tell her. But deep down, I know the price is hard. I know it is a different happiness from the one we know in samsara. It is not euphoric. Dharma bestows a serene, ontological, existential happiness that doesn’t depend on conditions.

Does everyone want that? I Don’t know. I think many people prefer fleeting and addictive pleasures. I don’t, but a lot of people still do. What I do know is that nobody wants to suffer. And although some have already gotten the idea that suffering never ends, I am sure that if they knew that this is not true and that it is possible to transcend it, they would look for a way to end their suffering forever.

In that sense, I hope that there are people who want what the Buddhadharma promises: total freedom from human suffering.

And not only that. It also grants you freedom from ignorance. Again, I don’t know if everyone wants that, but I do. That’s why I meditate like crazy because every day, I see how I wake up more and more, even though it hurts me to realize hard truths. Even though my head hurts because my kundalini got stuck in the areas of my skull that still assume independent, selfish existence.

It is a process. It is not for everyone. But it is for me. I see that the superior intelligence that does not belong to me but that includes me reveals itself more.

It’s for me because I don’t want to die without evolving. I don’t want to die without recovering from our spiritual illness. It is for me because, compared to the human suffering we cause ourselves due to our stupidity, I prefer to go through the spiritual crisis experienced when evolving to that omnipresent cognition that transcends the rules of neurosis.

I hope that more will be encouraged to go through the scrub that the meditator goes through. It’s hell. But as they say: no pain, no gain.

See you in hell if you also think Buddhist meditation is for you.