Q: What can meditation do for me?
A: People who meditate are generally trying to reduce stress. Reducing stress is fine. However, there’s nothing mystical about meditation that can help you. Letting your mind stop can be useful, but it also can be an indication that there’s something irrational or mistaken about how you’re living life in the first place. If you’re being realistic in what you expect of yourself, you will rarely, if ever, need to stop your mind altogether (as meditation seeks to do). Instead, you’ll simply yearn for mental refueling, in which the mind focuses on something different than it usually does.
People who are overwhelmed generally want to shut their minds down, simply to gain relief from the array of needs they are trying to meet for the sake of others. People who take on only what they are prepared to honor, and who don’t feel one bit obliged to take on anything that would be a sacrifice or an imposition, do not generally become overwhelmed.
Refueling means continuing to use your mind, but in a different way from the manner you do at work. If you normally pursue a career or job during the day, you seek to refuel your mind through movies, the arts, other forms of entertainment or simple personal, intellectual conversation with significant others. When it’s time to shut down the mind (and body) altogether, you simply go to sleep.