The ultimate goal of meditation is to reach a moment of peace and quiet. A temporary end to incessant activity of our minds…
Despite all its popularity, very few of us truly know what meditation actually is. Some see meditation as mental concentration while others believe that we meditate when we imagine something that gives us peace or satisfaction. Regardless, almost everyone can agree that the ultimate goal of meditation is to reach a moment of peace and quiet. A temporary end to incessant activity of our minds.
However, these exercises (intense concentration or imagining something) are not really meditation — they are substitutes for meditation because it is normally very difficult to stop our racing minds. In reality, meditation is the state of thoughtless awareness, not an activity that we do.
Confusing? Let me give you an example: consider sleeping. We don’t have to do anything to fall sleep. It’s a state that we (for lack of a better word) slid into. We are either sleep or not. Same with meditation, we are either in this state or we are not.
During meditation our mind is calm, silent and alert. Inner silence that comes with meditation brings about joy, satisfaction and a sense of well-being that cannot be compared to physical sensations that we get by doing something. While in meditation, we are with our true self. A self that is eternally joyful and beautiful. True meditation brings about an inner transformation that takes us to a higher level of awareness and enables us to fulfill our true human potential. The problem, of course, is how to achieve this state!
Meditation is not…
Fixing our attention on something outside of our being most likely will distract us from our thoughts and may give us the feeling of being thoughtless. However during true meditation our attention is inside. We are thoughtless without any effort.
Loss of control
Hearing voices, seeing shapes or colors, involuntary movements, etc. have nothing to do with meditation and are in contrast to calmness and joy that comes with meditation.
Physical exercises, breathing techniques and other such activities will help us get into the state of meditation however, in themselves are not the same thing as meditation!
Meditation is a state and by definition, has to be effortless and easy. How can we use our thoughts to stop or thoughts? We can’t think about not thinking!