Meditation and Personal Development – Mortal Enemies?

Today, as I was meditating, something occurred to me. It was: it is not only the case that meditation helps me to see the world in high definition. It is that meditation helps me accept myself as I am.

This leads to a certain tension between meditation and personal development.

Meditation is about being satisfied in the moment. Personal development is born of dissatisfaction.

Meditation is about living in the present moment. It is about understanding that the here and now is enough, and that the past and future projections in which our mind spends most of its day-to-day life are almost always the cause of our suffering.

Meditation also gives us perspective and clarity, and helps us see our excesses.

On the other hand, personal development focuses on the future. Personal development is about visualizing a better self as a goal- a better future situation for which to aim for – and devising a plan in that direction. A plan is nothing more than a succession of ever closer micro-future projections.

Furthermore, personal development often requires excesses. Sacrifices. Analyzing anyone who has achieved something sublime, we can determine that success came from focusing on one goal. The focus comes from the ability to set priorities and to follow them. Setting and following priorities requires, by definition, leaving other things behind. That is: sacrifices.

It is, of course, possible to achieve some objectives without excesses. But rarely do life’s great strides come without unusual exertion, an effort that leaves scars.

The truth is that when I meditate, when I go into a deeper meditation session, I feel less interested in my goals. It is not an apathetic disinterest; It’s more of a “things are already fine, the goal is not that important.”

This scares me a lot. As good as it is to be pleased with the present moment, I feel partial about Future Luís’ enjoyment of his present moment.

We are beings made of dichotomies. In us lives darkness and light, chaos and order. This dichotomy – between the peace of living in the present and the tension needed for a better future – is yet another imperfection of life to be accepted.