WHAT IS MEDITATION?
The root of the word meditation is similar to the root word for medical or medicate. It implies a sense of attending to or paying attention to something. In meditation you pay attention to dimensions of yourself that are seldom observed or known–– that is, your own deepest, inner levels. Meditation involves an inner attention that is concentrated, quiet and relaxed. There is nothing strenuous or difficult about creating this inner attention. There are only two requirements: determination and sincerity.
WHY SHOULD I MEDITATE?
Meditation does something that nothing else can do. It introduces you to the bliss, fullness and wisdom of your Essential Nature. Once you experience this Self-realization, you are increasingly able to base your actions in the world on your discriminative faculty. This, in turn, improves your physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.
"Every thought is only a suggestion. It is not an imperial command. If there is consternation in the mind, it means that you are dealing with whatever you are dealing with from the limited perspective of the ego (ahamkara). And that is not you. Before you allow yourself to become emotionally involved with certain habitual thoughts, go deeper within until you reach the thinker of the thought. Now, from the fullness and contentment of the Eternal Witness, ask your discriminative faculty (buddhi) if the thought that is calling your attention is a preya (ego or sense gratification that conflicts with inner wisdom) or a shreya (that which leads for your long-term health and well-being). If the buddhi tells you the thought is a preya, honor it and willingly surrender it back to the Origin from which it has come. Then, re-direct your attention (love) back to the mantra, and you will be led for your highest and greatest good." –– Leonard and Jenness Perlmutter
WHAT HAPPENS IN MEDITATION?
In meditation, you are fully alert, but the mind is not focused on the external world or events. In the process of meditation, we ask the mind to let go of it's tendencies to think, analyze, remember, solve problems, focus on events of the past or on the expectations of the future. Meditation helps the mind to slow down its rapidly changing series of thoughts and feelings, and to replace that mental activity with an inner awareness and attention. Thus, meditation is not thinking about problems or analyzing a situation. It is not fantasizing or daydreaming or merely letting the mind wander aimlessly. Meditation is not having an internal conversation or argument with yourself or intensifying the thinking process. Meditation is simply a quiet, effortless, one-pointed focus of attention and awareness. In meditation, we try to let go of all the many mental distractions, preoccupations, and the fleeting thoughts and associations of our normal waking experience. We do this, not by trying to make the mind empty, which is impossible, but instead, by allowing the mind to focus on one subtle element or object (mantra). By giving the mind one internal focus of attention, we help the mind to cease it's stressful mental processes, such as worry, planning, thinking and reasoning.
HOW DO WE BENEFIT FROM MEDITATION?
The skills we gain in meditation, to witness our thoughts and emotions, can then be employed in all our relationships throughout the day. Instead of always reacting impulsively to our fears, anger and desires, meditation teaches us how to observe them and then to transform their energy into thoughts, words and deeds which raise us to a higher level of happiness and contentment.
CAN MEDITATION HELP POST-SURGICAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALING?
For individuals recuperating from any kind of surgical procedure or emotional trauma, meditation is therapeutic from the very beginning. Meditation helps relax the tension of the gross and subtle muscles and the autonomic nervous system, and it provides freedom from mental stress. Individuals who meditate attain a tranquil mind, and this helps the immune system by limiting its reaction to worry and anxiety. Even after just a few days of sincere efforts, meditation will begin to establish new, healthy, habit patterns. These skills increase individual will power and help a person make positive, discriminating choices that will enable them to fulfill the purpose of life. Sound decisions concerning a beneficial diet, healthy nutrition, daily exercise, diaphragmatic breathing and lifestyle selection all become possible when the mind is not distracted by the call of the senses.