News reports can instantly transfer our minds and feelings to a disaster site, a battlefield or refugee camp. Video shows the hollow stares of victims whose primal instinct of survival and self protection is an hourly or daily struggle for food, water and shelter.
But in countries where residents know peace and abundance, personal survival instincts have changed from defending and protecting the body, toward defending and protecting the personal psyche.
In peaceful countries with a co-operative social structure, personal survival instincts have mutated toward defending personal self concepts, instead of fighting to defend their bodies and property.
Most North Americans evolve like this, struggling with their personal fears and self destructive behaviours, instead of struggling to get safety and adequate food and shelter. North American survival instincts have changed to work on self made internal problems; not on external forces or factors. This becomes a big problem, when a society considers these psychological sensitivities a normal condition, as is the case in North America.
Because they are not concerned with adequate provisions for daily living, they become focused on, and worry about, a scratch on their car, a stained shirt, or bad breath. But living with these internal concerns leaves very little joy for the excitement of living or spontaneous fun.
Most North Americans spend enormous daily energy in protecting their inner psyche-trying to control other people, trying to mask the aging process, competing with their workmates, and seeking popularity with their employer. For them, a “good day” means not getting their psychic feelings hurt while having an easy time of defending themselves from competing friends and family.
Living like this makes most North Americans closed to inner peace because in their own minds, there is never an escape from the ceaseless voice of the Inner Critic; “What if I say something wrong?” “Why is she wearing the same dress as me?” – “Do we need leather seats in our new car?”- “Maybe we should move to a better neighbourhood.” – the Inner Critic never is happy… and it never stops.
The Inner Critic must be ignored, if not silenced, during meditation. This becomes easier with practice. Not every practice is successful. Expectations and rules do not apply. But people everywhere interested in meditation and mindfulness must discover that meditation lacks a pursuit or competition.
“It is what it is.”, can be a good result from meditation, the results of which will manifest, often in subtle or unexpected healthier ways of being.