Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Home » Discussion » "Why I Meditate" by Shane Hennesey

"Why I Meditate" by Shane Hennesey

11 March 2010

I want to be kind. I want to be compassionate. I want to be the person that makes others feel more peaceful and settled just by sitting in the same space with me. 

I want be kind because it is the best possible, most clear, most sensible action to take. The goal is not to be “good” or avoid Hell (whatever that is) or get extra points for Heaven (whatever that is). The goal is to have no goal and still be kind.

The meditation part comes in because it is during that practice of intensified mindfulness, I get to begin to penetrate down below what my everyday mind is attached to (it's one of the cool side effects of regular mindfulness practice). I recently heard a talk by Shinzin Young (see his YouTube videos) in which he talks about the concept of “no self” as being like an old CRT monitor displaying a pure white screen. It’s white when I look at it with my naked eye, but if I put a magnifying glass up to it, it breaks down into the pixels of red/blue/green. So which is it? Red/blue/green or white? Well, it’s both, depending on my perception, so we could also say it is both and neither...or, to quote the Heart Sutra, “form is emptiness, emptiness is form.”

So when I penetrate deeply enough into my own mind, and see this to be true, the notion of being disconnected from other people, places, things falls away and true kindness emerges. And true kindness is contagious like a virus, it has an energy of its own. Can you imagine a world infected with kindness? Kindness cooties…go get some.

Shane Hennesey is a gay man exploring the Dharma of life beyond 40. You can visit his regular writing at www.zenfant.wordpress.com.

 

Major funding provided by: National Endowment for the Humanities, PBS, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation. Additional funding provided by: the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Shinnyo-en Foundation, the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, the Bumper Foundation, and viewers like you.