You Can't Do Meditation

You Can't Do Meditation

By Eric Baret

Q: Mindfulness is very popular these days. And so is meditation. But meditation and mindfulness lead towards the mind, and you speak of opening the heart. Would you advise meditation?

A: I do not give advice. To advise is a mere political tendency towards fascism, and fascism has no place—in spirituality at least. Meditation is a meaningless word, because there is no one to meditate. Just be in love with your functioning. Next time you’re jealous, next time you're afraid, next time you're agitated, feel it and love it because that is what you are, and on your deathbed, what will you have? Only that. So, we must deepen this openness. We do this by feeling emotion. Some people call it meditation, you can call it any way you want.

In the morning, sometimes you wake up and you sit, because sitting is a very comfortable position for most people. Your neighbor might look out his window and say, “Oh, he is meditating.” That is his problem. You're not meditating, you are just doing nothing because there's nothing to do at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning. So, because you have nothing to do, you just sit quietly. That's not meditation.

My teacher Jean Klein, whom you read about, used to say that meditation was like not taking the train. You have nothing to do to not take the train. There is nothing to do, it is non-doing. So, meditation makes no sense, and mindfulness… I’m too polite to comment about!

Don't mix meditation with mind techniques which are totally egotistic. They’re about producing a peaceful ego, a meditative ego. In France we have people who want to introduce meditation in schools, in jails. For me, that is completely ridiculous. And again, there is room for anything in life if it’s happening, but it’s totally meaningless.

Meditation is what you are when you stop pretending to be. It is not something you can do. We are constantly going away from meditation by thinking, by going into the past or the future, by wanting to be this or that. When you stop pretending, what is left is meditation, with nobody meditating and nothing to meditate upon. What is really important is to see that we are constantly going away from stillness, that we are constantly trying to do, and what is important is not what we do, but what we are.

Meditation is to stop doing, and instead, to let yourself be totally taken by whatever you call it, intensity, stillness, silence—words have no meaning. It is a non-activity. It has nothing to do with all the freedom techniques, which are… why not? People are bored, and maybe it is more interesting to do this than to play golf or tennis or cards, why not? But it is on the same level, a complete romantic fantasy that makes absolutely no sense. I respect it because it is there and some people seem happy with that; and I'm very happy for them. But it makes no sense from a traditional point of view.