What is Meditation?

Meditation is a method for calming the mind and developing a positive approach to life. It has numerous benefits for the health of both your body and mind, is easy to do, and something everyone can learn. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, with the first documented evidence of the practice dating back to approximately 5,000 BCE! Through meditation, we can truly relax, control our feelings and emotions, gain inner strength, and let go of negative states of mind such as stress and anxiety.

More technically, meditation is a mind that is single-pointedly focused on one single thing and becomes familiar with it. The Tibetan word for meditation, “gom” can be translated as familiarising, habituating. In short, it means to familiarise with a positive state of mind, which actually refers to training the mind.

Meditation is not just for relaxing, rather it can be used to develop deep concentration (samadhi) and to access a state of mind which is the nature of clarity, calmness, bliss and a true sense of well-being. This blissful state is called “shamatha” in Sanskrit. Once we have reached this very advanced concentrated state of mind, our mind is very serviceable, and though vipasyana, transforming our mind and developing deep wisdom and insight is quick and easy.

Whether we wish to experience some temporary peace and calm, or become a happier and more positive person by training to remove bad habits of mind and cultivate positive ones, or find deeper meaning by exploring the depths of our mind and discovering the true nature of reality, meditation can be practised by everyone!

Since nearly everyone living in the modern world is coping with an overload of thinking, remembering, and planning this may be just what the doctor ordered: a general prescription for soothing and healing overworked bodies and minds.

B. Alan Wallace

Why Meditate?

To develop the wish to meditate, and the motivation to practice, we first need to understand why we need to meditate. When we first try to meditate, we notice that our mind is all over the place. This experience shows us how little control we have over our mind. Having so little control over our mind is the reason why we experience negative feelings and are not able to be happy. Meditation is more than just a fun way to relax, it is essential if we want to experience our deepest wish which drives our day-to-day life – lasting happiness.

All positive feelings, such as happiness, joy, and love, just like all negative feelings such as sadness, worry, and anger – are experiences of mind. And because they are experiences of mind, their causes and remedies are not to be found outside the mind. If we want to be truly happy and free from painful feeling, we must learn how to control our mind. Meditation is the method to controlling the mind. 

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