Meditation as Modern Luxury?

Vedic meditation found its way into Angeleno magazine this month—the high-end glossy that, as its subtitle suggests, is home to all things Modern Luxury. (I was featured in a wellness story as one of “one of LA’s expert de-stressers and detoxers.” Click to enlarge.)

Is “modern luxury” at odds with meditation—a practice that is, essentially, allowing us to transcend the relative world and all its trappings for a few, powerfully restorative minutes? It’s funny, I’ve always told my friends (admittedly with tongue slightly in cheek) that meditation delivered the ultimate luxuries: inner peace and unshakable bliss. After all, in this era of unprecedented wealth for many, and unprecedented access to information and stimulation for most, we’re still doing a great job of suffering. True happiness—the kind of unconditional, unshakable inner contentment that stays switched on no matter what’s going on around us—is no easier to maintain and sustain than it was when we had access to less.

There’s nothing wrong with luxuries like beautiful possessions, sensory pleasures, and breathtaking views from the Amalfi Coast. These things have the potential to awaken our senses, add to our poetic storylines, and tickle our creativity, after all. But, if we are fortunate enough to access these things, we won’t truly enjoy them if we’re distracted, stressed, or too busy organizing the-next-thing-that-might-deliver-happiness to notice what we already have. And if we look to these things for our fulfillment, we’ll always be a little disappointed. Possessions may break, senses may fade with age, and jaw-dropping views may disappear when the bank account dips.

Meditation is the foolproof strategy we use to engineer our own, reliable, non-conditional state of peace and happiness; it allows us to make contact with the quiet inner field where fulfillment is located. In so doing, we find that whatever our life’s particular flavor may be—extravagance? simplicity? austerity?—gets clarified and enhanced. A daily meditation practice is the delivery vehicle for happiness in all these cases, the foundation upon which everything else plays out (whether you do it in ultra-deluxe cashmere or your worn-out college sweats).