The practice of meditation is a way of unmasking ourselves, our deceptions of all kinds, and also the practice of meditation is a way of bringing out the subtleties of intelligence that exist within us. The experience of meditation sometimes plays the role of playmate; sometimes it plays the role of devil's advocate, fundamental depression. Sometimes it acts as an encouragement for birth, sometimes as an encouragement for death. Its moods might be entirely different in different levels and stages of being and emotion, as well as in the experience of different individuals—but fundamentally, according to the Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, there is no doubt, none whatsoever, that mediation is the only way for us to begin on the spiritual path.
From "The Only Way," in The Path Is the Goal: A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation, pages 4 to 5.