Trying harder isn’t always the answer. The simple way often produces the best results. The same can be said for the fact that if something is good, more isn’t automatically going be better. Moderation and balance are always the best plan with any program. This was very apparent in an incident that happen some years ago.
One day at our Center in San Diego, I answered my phone and was immediately asked, “Are you the meditation expert?” From the voice I assumed the caller was an elderly lady and replied, “Well, I know something about meditation, how can I help you?”
“I’m very concerned”, she said, “Whenever I meditate, I feel as though I’m turning into a man!” “What exactly do you mean?” I asked. “Every time I meditate”, she said in a troubled voice, “I feel I’m growing a beard and becoming very manly”. With perspiration starting to appear on my forehead, I quietly asked, “Did I teach you to meditate?” “Oh no”, she said, “I taught myself”. Whew, I thought, as I let out a silent sigh of relief.
“What do you do when you practice this meditation?” My anxiety now having turned to intrigue, I asked. She paused for a moment and then replied, “Well I sit in my recliner and put on my tape of the Tibetan monks chanting and listen to it with my eyes closed for a couple of hours”. Mmm! I thought, “And what do you during the rest of the day?” “I water my plants, play with the cat, read a little and sometimes listen to the tape again”. As the problem started to become clear, I asked, “Do you go out at all or get any exercise?” “Not much”, she said, “I sometimes go for a walk in my garden and about once a week, I walk to the store”.
This was a classic, if unusual, case of being too inward and not outward enough. For most people the problem is usually the other way round but, either way, the key to fastest growth is to maintain balance in everything we do.
I recommended that she only listened to the chanting for no more than twenty minutes once or twice a day; to get outside every day for a short walk and some fresh air; to make sure she was eating regular meals and if things didn’t improve in the next two weeks, to call me again. As I never heard from her, I assume this did the trick.