The term “meditation” can have two meanings:
1. Meditation (verb): the act or practice of meditating (don’t you just love these circular words?), which is, “to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.”
2. A meditation (noun) as “a written or spoken discourse expressing considered thoughts on a subject.
In this instance, I’m using the second meaning of thought pieces, my thoughts or musings on a subject.
Meditations can have a religious meaning, as in Christian meditations or the meditation of Buddhists. You can certainly use these meditations in your spiritual or religious life, and with some of the meditations in this book I have included suggestions for how you might want to use them for your own religious or spiritual meditations.
An example of a book of meditations would be the meditations of Marcus Aurelius, a 2nd Century Roman Emperor who was also a very wise man. Some of his meditations are lengthy, others short.
Here are a couple of short meditations by Marcus Aurelius, to give you an idea of what he says (be aware that he was talking to men specifically):
“Treasure what little you have learnt and find refreshment in it. Go through what remains of your life as one has wholeheartedly entrusted all that is his to the gods and has not made himself either despot or slave to any man.”
“Today I left the troubles surrounding me, or rather, I cast them out. For they were not outside but within me, in my assumptions.”
“That which does not benefit the swarm does not benefit the bee.”
Like some of the above meditations, his thought pieces often sound strikingly modern. For example:
Socrates’ refusal of Perdiccas’ invitation to visit him: “that I may not die the worst kind of death,” that is, that I may not receive favors and be unable to return them.”
When I read this meditation, I thought of Sheldon Cooper (“Big Bang Theory”) and his fear of receiving gifts because he would be obligated to give something equal in return.
I will be including meditations of people like Marcus Aurelius and Montaigne in some of my own meditations, and meditating on them.
Michel de Montaigne, a famous essayist of the 16th century, said this about meditation:
Meditation is a rich and powerful method of study for anyone who knows how to examine his mind, and to employ it vigorously. I would rather shape my soul than furnish it. There is no exercise that is either feeble or more strenuous, according to the nature of the mind concerned, than that of conversing with one’s own thoughts. The greatest men make it their vocation, “those for whom to live is to think.”
I love the concept of shaping your soul. That’s what I’m about with these meditations, which I hope will help you shape your soul into a new, more green, way of life, with increased balance and richness.