What is Meditation?

We’ll back into this one.

First what meditation is not.

Meditation is not some kind of higher, altered, or bliss state of consciousness.

It is not an exercise in cessation of thinking.

Meditation is not religious (Not even Buddhist).

Although meditation may be relaxing and soothing it is not a relaxation technique.

Meditation is not a lifestyle; it is equally helpful regardless of your interest in activities which you may perceive as similar to meditation.

 

Meditation is experiential. Like a first kiss or the taste of honey it is ineffable. And even if there were words that precisely described the benefits of meditation that still would not be sufficient because words are thoughts, the product of our minds—our intellects—and meditation gives us access to consciousness which is deeper: the consciousness without which those thoughts would not be possible.

From the moment we awaken in the morning until we drift into half-sleep at bedtime our minds generate mental commentary—one thought after another with no space between thoughts. The thoughts judge and analyze the forms which are occurring at the moment, but also readily interpret past events and play mental movies of anticipated future events as well as imagined interactions and events. The thought stream is repetitive and, for many, primarily negative.

Two aspects of this thought stream are critical:

  1. We are not aware of it.
  2. We identify with it. That is, we take it at face value. It forms our day-to-day reality: ‘That’s just the way it is.  That’s just who I am.  That’s just how they are.’

There are two key results of this dynamic:

  1. Because we become that thought pattern we do not experience the present moment or the people in it.
  2. Our feelings are based on those thoughts.

Meditation is the key that frees us from this prison. This freedom is not only valuable, it is life itself.

Meditation is focusing your attention on the present moment. That sounds simple. And ‘being in the here and now’ has become a popular catch phrase. But because the conditioning of our minds has been in place for our entire life times, and because we are so attached to our thinking, this is difficult work which requires a commitment to the process.