When hearing the word “meditation”, many people have different ideas. For some people, meditation creates the image of some mystical practice that somehow takes you to a different realm in your mind.
For others, meditation can generate the idea of some kind of discipline that only some people practice in Asia.
But if we want to take a closer look at meditation, we need to ask, and of course, answer three questions: What is meditation? Why do I want to meditate? How will I meditate?
What Is Meditation?
The first question is: What is meditation? Meditation is a method of training yourself to get into a more productive mood or attitude. This method is done by generating a certain state of mind over and over again, to become familiar with that state of mind and make it a habit. There are, of course, many different helpful states and attitudes. A state of mind can be more relaxed, with less stress and anxiety; Another state of mind might be more mental focus, or a calmer state of mind, free of anxiety and constant thoughts. Another mindset might be to understand more about yourself, about life and so on; and another state of mind may be to contain a lot of compassion towards others. So there are many kinds of helpful states of mind that we can achieve by meditating.
What is the purpose of Meditation?
The second question is: Why do I want to generate these states of mind? To answer this question, we need to look at two factors: First, what am I aiming for? Second, from an emotional perspective, why would I want to achieve this goal?
For example, why would I want my mind to be calmer and clearer? The obvious reason is that we get restless when we’re not calm; This causes us a lot of unhappiness and prevents us from living our best lives. Mental disorders can also have adverse effects on health; it can cause or worsen problems in the family, hurt other relationships; can create problems for us at work. So, with this example, our aim is to overcome some of the defects, part of the problem, both mentally and emotionally. We decide to overcome that problem with discipline, through meditation.
What emotional state prompts us to start meditating? We may have been completely fed up and disgusted by this unpleasant state. So we say to ourselves, “That’s enough. I have to get out of this situation. I need to do something.” And if our aim is to help our loved ones more, for example, then our emotions will be love and compassion, in addition to disgust. The combination of all these emotions will prompt us to look for ways to help us better assist them.
However, it is very important to have a practical understanding of meditation. If we think that just practicing meditation is enough to solve all our problems, that is not realistic. Meditation is a tool; is a method. When we want to achieve an outcome and have positive emotions pushing us toward this goal, we need to realize that we cannot get an effect from a single cause. It takes a lot of causes and conditions coming together to produce an outcome. For example, if my blood pressure is high and I have high blood pressure, of course meditation will be very helpful. Daily meditation can help me worry less. But just practicing meditation won’t bring my blood pressure down. It may help, but I may also need to change my diet, exercise more, and possibly need to take medication. Many factors applied in common will lead to the lowering of blood pressure I desire.
Of course, the methods used during meditation can also be used to create a state of mind negative. For example, I might meditate on how terrible my enemy is. I can use meditation to develop hatred, causing me to find and kill my enemies. However, that is not how meditation is commonly used. It is used as a method to create a positive state of mind that is helpful to ourselves and others.
How do we meditate?
The third question is: How do we meditate? There are many methods used, depending on the state of mind we want to develop, but one thing common to all methods is the need for practice. “Practice” means repeating an exercise over and over. If we want to exercise our body, we need to practice certain movements on a regular basis; Similarly, we need to practice with our own mind.
Develop new states of mind by meditating
Meditation is about dealing with one’s state of mind, so it makes sense to use a mental method to create a positive change. Now, we can also use physical methods to try to change our state of mind; such as practicing yoga poses or martial arts, such as Tai Chi (Tai Chi). These methods are not meditation in themselves. These physical methods can help us to generate certain states of mind, but meditation is something you can only do with your mind. Of course, now you can meditate while doing some yoga poses or tai chi, but physical activity and mental activity are two different things: one is done with the body, the other is by the mind.
To produce the desired result, we may have to use many different causes, both physical and mental. We can work with our bodies, for example, by changing our diet, and this can affect our moods. However, meditation is working with the mind itself. If we want to achieve a certain goal, we must research what we need to change in our lives, both physically and mentally, to achieve that goal. We may have to start meditating, change our diet, increase exercise, or do all of these things.
If meditated correctly, meditation sessions will begin to affect daily life. If we practice a certain state of mind during meditation sessions, such as a calmer, more focused, or more loving state of mind, it is not a matter of just generating that state of mind during sitting meditation. quietly. The main point is to build this positive state of mind thoroughly, making it a habit, a habit that we can apply whenever we need it, at any time of the day. In the end, it became something very natural; always present: we will become more loving, understanding, mentally focused and calm.
If we find ourselves not in that state of mind, what we need to do is remind ourselves: “Love more.” Because we are familiar with this state of mind through practice, we can generate it immediately. For example, when we realize we’ve lost our temper with someone, we’ll immediately notice and remind ourselves, consciously or unconsciously, “I don’t want to react like that!” Then, like a snap of a finger, similar to restarting a computer when it issues a technical failure message, we will close this “wave” of anger and re-create our loving attitude towards each other. that person.
Generating these states of mind, like loving-kindness, is not just a matter of discipline. For example, in order to love others more, we need to understand why we must love others more. We can remember that all people are related by thinking: “You are a human being like me, you have feelings like me; Just like me, you want to be liked and not ignored or hated by others. We are all here on this planet and we should get along.
The following example may be helpful. Suppose, you are in an elevator with ten people and all of a sudden the elevator stops halfway and you are stuck in it for a few days. How would you treat the people in the elevator? You are all stuck together. All are in the same situation; Either way, you should get along with each other. If you guys start fighting in such a narrow place, it’s a disaster, isn’t it? Instead, you need to work together and be patient with everyone. You need to work together to get out of that situation. So if we think of this planet as like a really big elevator, maybe that helps!
Through such thorough meditation, we are able to generate a state of mind of loving-kindness and tolerance towards others. If you just sit in meditation and say to yourself simply, “I will love others more.” it is very difficult to generate any real feeling. So, when we ask how to meditate, one method is to create a certain state of mind, like in the example of becoming more loving and tolerant. We will learn how to use a script in our head like the one in the elevator. We will think about it until we understand it and see that it makes sense. Then while sitting quietly to meditate, while imagining other people around us as acquaintances or strangers, we try to generate love and compassion.
Make the mind still
Another meditation practice is to calm the mind, to come to a more natural state. This is a very important point to understand: When trying to calm the mind, the goal is not to have an empty mind, like turning off the radio. It’s not at all the point of…