Here we have two perhaps quite commonly held contrary views. from two very different characters with very different backgrounds and preferences.. Shantam Prem, from an Indian Sikh heritage, with, I think it’s fair to say, a strong ‘Bhakti’ or devotional tendency, is sceptical about its value. He writes:
“Meditation is too much over-hyped. When things are too much over-hyped they become rubbish! How much over-hyped was Neo Sannyas when the founder created his start-up!
Without ethics and morality, meditation, prayers and other peripheral activities are mental and physical fitness techniques. They solidify the ego’s well-being.
Without ethics and morality, religion and spirituality are like washing powders to remove strains of guilt.
Remorse is the essential element of redemption. There is no other shortcut.
With these straight lines, I wish to start a new discussion: Is not meditation not too much over-hyped in its effect and reach?
But please note: This is not a sermon but it is my firm belief, which I offer as a suggestion for discussion and comments.”
Arpana, however, an English artist, emphasises “The qualities enhanced and developed by meditation, starting with an understanding I came to about painting.” He explains:
I have often wondered what the benefits of meditation are, and generally speaking I have tended to take on trust that meditation is beneficial; although in my case, meditation, particularly Vipassana, dramatically enhanced my insight capabilities, or rather my insightful capabilities took off after a lengthy spell of twice-a-day Vipassana when I was back in the West after my first and lengthy stay at the ashram.
Such was certainly the case about my own life, which I’m increasingly trusting of, and to an extent, about others and the world around me, although I’m much more circumspect in my trust about the latter.