Meditation is the action of life loving life, an activity that life itself conducts. You pay attention as the life in you loves the life in the world around you. Then it becomes that you are life, attending to life. Then it becomes life attending to its manifestation as you in the world, interacting with the world, and life is an infinite, pulsating field of intelligent motion.
Think about the powerful effects of meditation, for example that it allows the body to go into a deeper kind of rest than deep sleep. And this is just a side-effect of the restful mental attitude, it is not something that is worked for. There are many other beneficial side effects having to do with the body healing itself.
This is an adaptive process, in which your energy circuits tune themselves to be better adapted to your environment. If you allow your awareness to be filled with your everyday life and your current problems with your friends, family, work, and desires, then you will find yourself adapting and thriving in the context of your daily life.
The Wrong Type of Meditation for You
When you do the wrong meditation for your individual life, your path and your aims, then all the benefits of meditation can become twisted in a way to undermine you. And because meditation is "supposed" to be beneficial, and all negative effects are just your fault for not "surrendering to the guru" enough, there is no investigation into what went wrong.
If you start telling yourself, "I need to adapt to life in India, circa 500 B.C.," then your nerves and senses will begin to change to meet that configuration. If you tell yourself, "The most important thing in life is to please the guru, the guru is great," then your meditation time will adapt you to this fantasy. Over the years you will find yourself indeep adapting to live in ancient Tibet, or India, or Japan. But what then? OK, you have devoted your life energies to pretending you are a devoted Tibetan, worshipping the Dalai Lama. Now what?
And here lies one of the great problems of meditation, and the deep damage that can be done if you rip yourself out of your real life and substitute a fake life and a fake set of problems, such as how to adapt to the conniving, Machiavellian crowd around a guru. It'll happen. And it'll happen on a deep level that is ordinarily inaccessible.
I know people who spend weekends in the Society for Creative Anachronism, SCA, and they dress up as if they live in the Renaissance, and are knights, ladies, women warriors, healers, and so on. Then they come back home on Sunday night and re-enter their lives, refreshed. They had a vacation from the 21st century. With meditation, though, the Anachronism is in your head. Once you build it, there is no escape.
Meditation allows you to adapt to life, to line up your energies. In the natural course of things, when you meditate you will feel excited and worried about your own projects and the people you love.
If you substitute the needs of a guru, an Asian religion, or a meditation cult for your own interests, then all this adaptation will shift away from your personal development and you will start to modify yourself to be a servant of others.
A strange and long-lasting kind of damage can result from this, because you went to a deep level of your being, meddled with your electricity in the name of meditation, and then from then on your circuits are set that way – to be, for example, a compliant servant to a dominant male from Asia.
If and when you want to get your life back, you have to go to that same deep level and re-orient toward your everyday life. The trick is, you have to reclaim the everyday as sacred.