Patrick Ophuls in his book BUDDHA TAKES NO PRISONERS offers an interesting analogy between the meditative state of mind and household pets.
He points to cat as exhibiting the primal state of awareness that human beings seek to emulate when they meditate–a state of being completely "in the moment". Dogs, on the other hand, have become "more or less deranged, thanks to their neurotic masters".
This state of pure awareness is particularly difficult for thinking, cognitive beings. The complexity of our thoughts and feelings seem to ensure the difficulty of achieving the state of quiet observation nearly impossible.
The challenge of quieting our ever engaged minds will be the 21st century's greatest obstacle to healing.
I can almost imagine the agrarian society of Siddhartha Gautama's time. Solitude would be built into the framework of daily existence. Communication between individuals essentially involved face-to-face contact. Meditation would be achievable far more easily than in our world of cell phones, Blackberries, I phones with 24hr instantaneous contact with other human beings. Twitters, tweets, texts and calls seem to literally overwhelm us.
Along with 24hr news announcements, we have become frenzied, jittery, anxiety ridden, unsettled and completely messed up. I am sure that there has been and will continue to be a rise in emotional and physical "dis-eases" as a direct consequence of these devices and our addiction to them.
Ironically what we need most, meditation, seems further from us, more impossible than ever.
We will need to make time to meditate, to turn off all communication with the outside world. It will be the only time that we can be alone with our own thoughts and feelings.
What we need more than another social network website, than a more powerful hand held communication devise, is to emulate the cat. Sit in uninterrupted mindful awareness. It will be difficult, but it may very well save our lives.