Not Just a Happy Place
Sometimes, when we are stressed, the ability to sit and calm ourselves can be incredibly healing. When we practice meditation we almost always start with centering, calming and being present in a way that we don't usually experience in our daily life. Of course as we practice the hope is that this calm will pervade more and more of our life so that we can be centered and present even when we are not on the cushion.
But meditation is surely much more than just finding that place of peace, and can offer more than reading The Little Book of Calm can. Finding that point of peace, calm and presence is part of the journey, not the destination. Meditation is not just about finding your 'happy place.' As Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche says in his book "What Makes You (Not) A Buddhist":
Prince Siddhartha, who sacrificed all the comforts and luxuries of palace life, must have been searching for more than passivity and shrubbery when he set out to discover enlightenment.The key insight we can have, when we find that place of presence and calm, is that 'Things Look Different From Here.' We can in the moment of presence have a clarity of view that we cannot reach when we are distracted.
We live in a time where the most influential words and actions seem come from a place of noise and distraction. People read a Facebook post, hear a TV pundit or watch a YouTube Video (or twelve) and then shout their received viewpoint. Action comes from an ever-growing snowball of outrage and indignation, and for that reason they only increase suffering.
In contrast, when we are in a place of calm and presence we can instead cultivate compassion, goodwill and wisdom. Having cultivated these we can get clarity - and use that clarity to inform our actions.
Things really do look different from here.
I have linked below a fully guided thirty minute meditation on finding Clarity in that place of calm. You are welcome to use it in whatever way helps your own practice.