It is important to remember that meditation, whilst its effects may be therapeutic, is not a therapy. The example [which appears in this chapter], though only a small sample, shows that a meditation practice is not best viewed as a method for problem-solving. Though it can offer insights, it only rarely offers clear-cut conclusions or neat arguments. So meditation is not so much the map for your journey as your company along the way. But that role should not be undervalued. Our lives are often lonely habitations, whoever we might be sharing our dwelling with. So a companion, which can be consoler, inspiration, empathic listener, friendly cajoler, or simply a comfortable place to sit and wait, is also a good friend.
Many approaches talk in terms of enlightenment through meditation as a progression through stages of awareness or higher states of consciousness. Whilst these are not intended as tests, to many they will be felt that way, and so I would offer an alternate paradigm.
Meditation can be your companion, but it cannot be the pathway.
Rather than thinking about goals or end-points, whether we would see them as enlightenment or heaven or nirvana, we can look at our passage through life as offering continuing possibil- ities of harmony between our internal world and our external world. Our external world is constantly changing, and a practice of mindfulness and meditation can be the means of staying in tune and maintaining the modulating harmony between ourselves and a living, changing world around.