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Meditation: Encountering the Devil on the Road to Inner Peace
by Dr. Neala Peake,
ATH Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder


People frequently begin meditation in order to find peace, reduce anxiety and quiet their minds. Research tells us that it is a healthy practice with wonderful benefits. Many long term meditators swear by the results. Then why do so many people explore meditation and then quickly give it up? Perhaps because they begin the practice with unrealistic expectations.

The technique of meditation is by no means complex, nevertheless, it takes time, skill and courage to get the hang of it. “Courage?” You might ask. “Why does it take courage to sit quietly and not do anything?” Therein lies the challenge of meditation. Sitting quietly gives us time to process all the things we normally avoid. New meditators may come to meditation expecting to find peace – instead they may find their hidden fears, anxieties, disappointments and everything else they are typically too “busy” to deal with. 

When faced with fears and anxieties people tend to find things that help themselves cope. These activities may range from healthy productive tasks to self-destructive behaviors. The wife of a friend of mine cleaned furiously when she was anxious, sometimes making it tempting for her husband to increase her anxiety levels when he wanted the house clean. On the other end of the spectrum, his best  friend drank heavily to numb himself from pain and had a fairly serious car accident after a relationship trauma led to a drinking binge. In other words, when in pain, humans are experts in finding ways to numb themselves from the experience. Hence, they might be wary of meditation which quiets the mind allowing for greater clarity, sharper perceptions and more sensitivity to feelings. This is clearly the opposite of becoming numb.

Everyone is plagued with varying degrees of fears, anxieties, disappointments, dark thoughts and occasional bad moods. These are normal. Though most can be overcome when dealt with directly, this can be a painful and daunting challenge requiring courage and hard work.   Therefor,e it is tempting to strive to avoid uncomfortable feelings by suppressing them by covering them over with activities, food, drink or busy mind chatter. Ironically, mind chatter is a protective reaction since the more we think, the less we feel.

The problem is that avoiding feelings doesn’t make them go away, it just pushes them deeper into our sub-conscious mind where they continue to plague us. In fact, when we cease to monitor them, they become like little demons working behind the scenes, controlling us without our knowledge. “Eat another slice of chocolate cake” they whisper. “Go on a date with that person who you know really isn’t right for you” they encourage. “Oh come on, one more drink before you drive home will just put you in a better mood. No harm done…” they say leading you into temptation. And all because you don’t want to face painful truths. Yet, the truth is, when we don’t face our problems, they take on a life of their own - potentially controlling our thoughts and behaviors. And not necessarily in the direction that is healthiest for us.

Next time you hear someone claim “the devil made me do it” perhaps what they are really saying is that the personal stuff they don’t want to deal with is encouraging them to be numb, remain unconscious and make poor decisions. Dealing with things that hurt is difficult.  Meditation is a gentle way for us to begin the process by helping us to feel and face ourselves and all the things we would rather avoid.  Meditating takes courage because on the road to inner peace, we must first face and vanquish the devils of our own making.



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About the Author

Dr. Neala Peake is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of AllThingsHealing.com and the author of The Journey of Spiritual Cultivation: Healing Through Meditation and Spiritual Practice and Intertwining of Time: A Multi-dimensional Story of Love and Healing. She conducts meditation and healing workshops and works with individuals (both in person and over phone -Skype) to help them heal by changing their core emotional patterns through a blending of meditation, spiritual practice and psychology. For more information, check out her website at NealaPeake.com.


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