Each day most of us experience a “roller coaster” of emotions from feelings of happiness and contentment to feelings of sadness and frustration. Through meditation we can help ourselves experience and develop a more consistent and peaceful mind.
Meditation is the art of silencing the mind. When the mind is silent, concentration is increased and we experience inner peace in the midst of worldly turmoil. This elusive inner peace is what attracts so many people to meditation and is a quality from which everyone can benefit.
Meditation is the greatest gift that you could ever give to yourself.
The purpose of meditation is to introduce you to the space-like nature of your mind which may give you freedom from possible eons of mental and intellectual darkness. All spiritual traditions practise meditation especially Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu paths. By arresting the intellect and putting the ego on notice, we can return to our long forgotten core consciousness.
The practice is not to be a pursuit that brings the mind into a mental dullness or torpor; it is rather a release, or gradual unveiling of the mind into a luminous, crisp, alert and virtuous awareness.
How Buddhist Meditation Unlocks Our Natural Wisdom and Compassion
One of the best ways to tame our mind is through the unique and profound approach of meditation in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet.
The first and most basic practice of meditation is to allow the mind to settle into a state of “calm abiding,” where it will find peace and stability, and can rest in the state of non-distraction, which is what meditation really is. When you first begin to meditate, you may use a support: for example, looking at an object or an image of Buddha, or Christ if you are a Christian practitioner; or lightly, mindfully, watching the breath, which is common to many spiritual traditions.
What is very important, the great Buddhist teachers always advise, is not to fixate while practising the concentration of calm abiding. That is why they recommend you place only 25 percent of your attention on mindfulness of the breath. But then, as you may have noticed, mindfulness alone is not enough. While you are supposed to be watching the breath, after a few minutes you may find yourself playing in a football game or starring in your own movie. So another 25 percent should be devoted to a continuous vigilance or watchful awareness, one that oversees and checks whether you are being mindful of the breath. The remaining 50 percent of your attention is left abiding, spaciously. Of course, the exact percentages are not as important as the fact that all three of these elements: mindfulness, vigilance and spaciousness, are present.
What Are the Benefits of Meditation?
Meditation helps is in all aspects of our well-being.
Improved concentration – A clear mind makes you more productive, especially in creative disciplines like writing.
Less bothered by little things – Do you sometimes allow yourself to get upset by little things? It is the nature of the mind to magnify small things into serious problems. Meditation helps us detach. We learn to live in the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or future. We do not worry about meaningless things, but see the bigger picture.
Better health – There have been numerous studies pointing to the health benefits of meditation. The reason is that meditation reduces stress levels and alleviates anxiety. If we can reduce stress, many health benefits follow.
Knowledge of self – Meditation enables us to have a deeper understanding of our inner self. Through meditation we can gain a better understanding of our life’s purpose.
Is Meditation Religious?
The great thing about meditation is that our philosophy/religious belief is not important.
Meditation is about consciousness. The beliefs of the mind become trivial. We dive deep into the heart of the matter to gain access to our soul – our inner reality. Therefore, meditation can (and is) practised by people of different religions or no religion.