Meditation is a state of consciousness that can be understood only on a direct and intuitive level. Ordinary experiences are limited by time, space and the laws of causality, but the meditative state transcends all boundaries. While you meditate, past and future cease to exist. There is only the consciousness of I AM in the infinite, eternal, NOW.
Finding What Is Happiness
Everyone wants to be happy and this is a universal fact. Most people believe that some material object will bring this happiness like money, the perfect spouse, the dream job, a new car, a big house with swimming pool. But in truth the list of what would make you completely happy is never-ending.
Each “thing” will please only for a short time, until the novelty wears off. As long as you think that happiness will come from something outside yourself, you will never be happy. Happiness is a blissful state, comes from within your own self.
Anyone who believes otherwise is like a person wandering in the desert, constantly disappointed by mirages of water and shade. Worldly happiness is equally difficult to achieve, always just beyond our grasp. Two famous stories as follows illustrate the reason why.
Searching for Sweetness
A man went to visit his guru. When he arrived he found the teacher sitting in the yard in front of a massive pile of hot chili peppers. The teacher was eating the chilies, one by one. Tears of pain were running down his face and he was sobbing “This is terrible”, over and over.
When the man asked his guru why he was doing this, the teacher replied, “I am looking for the sweet one”. His actions exemplify the way in which most of us spend our lives.
We should know from our experience that “the sweet one” does not exist, but we continue to search for our happiness in external objects. However, the sum total of all the pleasures of the physical world are nothing compared to the blissful state of meditation.
Looking in the Wrong Place
Once, an old woman dropped her needle. A passer-by saw her searching in her garden and offered to help. After looking for some time without success, the kindly stranger asked the woman exactly where the needle had fallen. He was amazed to learn that she had dropped it inside the house. “Then why are you looking out here?” he asked. “You will never find it.” She replied that her house was too dark, so she was looking outside, where there was more light.
Most of us are like that woman. We are looking for our lost happiness where the bright lights are, but it isn’t there to be found.
Meditation Health Benefits
Meditation provides a lasting spiritual rest, which must be experienced to be understood. Once you can meditate, the time you normally devote to sleep can gradually be reduced per night, and you will still feel more rested and peaceful than before.
By reducing heart rate and consumption of oxygen, meditation greatly reduces stress levels. It seems that each part of our body, even down to the individual cells, is taught to relax and rejuvenate.
Meditation helps to prolong the body’s period of growth and cell production, and reduces the decaying process. After the age of 35, our brain cells die off at a rate of 100,000 per day, and they are not replaced.
But meditation can reduce this decline, as it changes the vibratory make-up of both the body and the mind. In this way, meditation can prevent or minimize senility.
We each possess vast inner resources of power and knowledge, much of it brought with us from past lives. In meditation, new patterns of thinking come to the surface and develop as we experience a new view of the universe, a vision of unity, happiness, harmony, and inner peace.
Negative tendencies gradually cease to exist, and the mind becomes steady. Meditation brings freedom from fear of death, which is seen as a doorway to a new name and form.
People who meditate regularly tend to develop magnetic and dynamic personalities, cheerfulness, powerful speech, lustrous eyes, physical health, and boundless energy. Others draw strength from such people and feel lifted up in their presence.
Meditation is only possible when all mental modifications (thought waves) have been stilled, and with this comes mental peace.
States of Consciousness
This is the normal everyday state of awareness. The conscious mind is functioning. We know that we are awake. The intellect is working. We are thinking and reasoning, and we are aware of our physical environment. Time, space and causality are in full control in the waking state.
Contrary to popular belief, this intermediate state between waking and deep sleep is not a restful state, as mental energy is being expended. The intellect is not functioning, but there remains some awareness of the physical world. Regular yoga asana practice will help you to relax at night and enter deep sleep.
When the mind is relaxed it will go into the state known as deep sleep. The mind is blank. There is no awareness of ourselves as a separate entity. The ego identity does not exist. There is no awareness of “I am doing….” nor of our physical environment, nor even an awareness of our own being.
As in deep sleep, neither body consciousness nor awareness of an external physical reality exists. Nor do time, space or causality, but in meditation the awareness is transcendental. It is the continuous flow of one thought of the Supreme, as identification of the individual with the divine.
Is Meditation a Religious?
Meditation is innately human. And just as religion cannot claim exclusivity to food, sleep or play, neither can it claim meditation.
Meditation come easily to us. Listening to the sound of river water moving, sitting under a tree and feel the breeze, the thought naturally paused for a few minutes in peaceful, spontaneous harmony. And while watching the magnificence of the stars emerging in the sky as the world grew dark and quiet, rest undoubtedly come naturally to the mind.
Science now tells us that this kind of rest for the mind is healing to the body and it also helps to rebuild brain tissue and prevent several psychological disorders.
No one person, religion or organization can own inner peace. It is a human experience, a state of being that every individual can access within themselves. So if you can access inner peace within yourself, that makes inner peace you, doesn’t it?
The word, “meditation”, merely describes the act of accessing the inner peace which is already inside of us. We own it. Therefore, meditation belongs to whomever chooses to access their pre-owned inner peace. Our meditation and inner peace are exclusive possessions of ours.
And however we access our inner peace is meditation, whether it is a quiet stroll by the beach, climbing a large rock or sitting in lotus position humming.
We can make eating a sandwich religious with a great deal of effort and organization. But a sandwich is still just a sandwich, and meditation is still merely the momentary pause of thought, brought about consciously. Food is just food, but when it’s included in religion, it takes on holy significance. The same is true of meditation.
If you are not religious, you needn’t fear that you will become religious if you choose to meditate. You will, however, prevent mental illness and rebuild brain tissue. Also, meditation has been linked to the prevention of stress related diseases, which make up a large portion of all diseases. Meditation empowers the meditator with health and clarity. You just have to stop thinking at will.
Hope this article help you to have a better understanding of meditation and clear all the misconception of it. If you have any experience or thought you would like to share, please don’t be shy to leave them in the comment box provided below. I am more than happy to hear from you.
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