Meditation’s Evangelists—and its Skeptics—Need to Lay Off the Preaching

There is not much value to preaching about meditation. By the same token, there’s also not much value to preaching about anti-meditation.

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In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, on October 9, Adam Grant, an up-and-coming young business professor at Wharton, throws his hands up in exasperation at people judgmentally insisting he should meditate. Bravo on that point. Few things are more annoying than you-should-ism, and as we’ve made clear in these pages, touting one-size-fits-all solutions to all problems is ungenerous and fanatical.

And, as we’ve also pointed out, together with Dan Harris, talking to people about meditation with a holier than thou attitude is the surest road to being ignored. When it comes to people telling you how to work with your own mind, skepticism is healthy.

Professor Grant is having the natural, intelligent, response to being oversold on something. Good for him, and good for us all. Perhaps his outcry about stopping “the meditation madness” is a signal that it’s time for those of us who are proponents of meditation to move beyond cheerleading and preaching to simply serving the hundreds of thousands of people who readily accept that meditation is beneficial while continuing the slow work of finding objective evidence of effectiveness. Lesson learned. End of story.

As Grant goes on in his piece,…