The philosophy of Humanism includes a focus on living an ethical life that is both fulfilling for the Humanist but is also driven to create a world that is the most fulfilling for all of humanity. An “ethical” life in this context is a life with a pattern of behavior that minimizes harm and maximizes well-being for all within the Humanists sphere of influence. That “pattern” of behavior is not dogmatic but relies on constant revision as new knowledge is attained that shows what behavior meets the goal best. A mistake is often made by assuming that Humanism is “human-centered” and does not account for other species that have the capacity to suffer. Looking further into the philosophy, it is easy to see why this isn’t an accurate perception. If other species suffer needlessly without our conscious effort to minimize the suffering, all of humanity suffers as well. If other species are driven to extinction by human failing, all of humanity loses something precious.
So how does this practice of meditation come into it? Our practice of meditation keeps all of the above in clear focus throughout our practice and the goal of this practice is to enhance the life of the practitioner but also to increase the practitioner’s kindness, compassion, and understanding in their interactions with both themselves and all whom their actions can affect. In the meditation practice itself, all distractions or impediments to focus are met with a warm and accepting attitude. The practitioner reacts with lovingkindness to both themselves and whatever distractions arise. In the Buddhist tradition, this is known as “metta” and has been practiced in many traditions for centuries. This approach to meditation requires conscious intent and once the pattern is set, continues to help the practitioner grow with a more fulfilling life and an attitude of kindness toward all whom they interact with.
The philosophy of Humanism is more extensive than this and there are many references to choose from in the “Resources” section.
Learn more about our Humanist Meditation Classes, online and in person, in our Tempe, AZ studio.