About Meditation

What is Meditation and How Does It Work?

Meditation is an ancient technique designed to expand the range and clarity of our consciousness. By expanding and clarifying our consciousness, we can get a deeper understanding and enjoyment of who we are and of every aspect of life.

Meditation works with the instrument of experience – our mind. The mind is like the surface of a lake. When the waters of the lake are rough, we can’t see much below the surface. So with the human mind: if it is agitated, nothing of the reality around it will be reflected clearly; we will not be able to perceive or enjoy ourselves or our world fully. When the mind is still, it can clearly reflect what it perceives and we will get more appreciation of our environment and ourselves and even difficult situations will not disturb us.

All human beings desire unlimited freedom and happiness. Yet our experience of this is limited. According to yoga psychology and practice, human consciousness itself has no inherent limitations. It is only through constant association with limiting thoughts and limited objects that our consciousness becomes limited. Meditation, which is a fundamental part of the science of yoga, works by detaching the mind from all limited objects and thoughts and redirecting it towards something unlimited. Consciousness is plastic, flexible. When we withdraw our mind from limited objects and focus it on something unlimited, it expands and eventually becomes unlimited itself. This brings feelings of freedom, bliss and understanding. A yogic way of saying this would be: “As you think so you become.”

The unlimited idea is represented by a certain tool we use in meditation. This is a mantra, a word or phrase one repeats mentally. (An example is the universal mantra “Baba Nam Kevalam” which means “Infinite Love is All There Is.”) When you learn a personal meditation practice from a qualified teacher, the teacher gives you a personal mantra that is not to be repeated vocally, but only in the mind.

When the mind focuses on the sublime thought of the mantra, it begins to expand, shedding its narrow limitations and dissolving its hard edges. In addition to its meaning, the mantra also uses the power of sound. Yogis have long understood the effects of sound on the mind and the Mantra uses a powerful combination of sounds that awaken our consciousness.

The mantra also functions as an anchor for the mind, preventing it from spinning off in different directions. The mind naturally wanders, but the mantra gives us a centre point that we can return to. By constantly returning to this centre point, the mind gradually becomes calm and eventually completely still. If you practice the meditation regularly, the ability to concentrate becomes steadily stronger. One can try to concentrate with the use of any object, such as a candle or one’s breath, but the advantage of the mantra is that its meaning, rhythm and sound are attractive and have a beneficial effect on the mind. Furthermore the mantra is completely internal and can be used anywhere anytime, without the need for an external aid.

The whole process of meditation, including the mantra and other techniques that you learn from the teacher, serve as a tool. It can be a most invaluable tool to achieve inner peace and higher states of consciousness, but unless you make an effort to use this yogic tool it will be hard to achieve these states. That is: it is your regular use of the meditation process that makes it effective. You might compare this to a carpenter, for example. He may have a modern, efficient drill, but if he doesn’t use it, but just lets it sit in his toolbox, it won’t be effective.

So, in sum, meditation is a most fascinating system to help us find inner peace, which gradually can have a deep positive effect on those around us, as well as helping to improve our health and overall well being. It is also a system to find deeper meaning in life.

There is no charge for learning meditation, but rather your sincere effort is what makes it work.

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