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Meditation — What is it and Why do it?

Meditation is a practice aimed at strengthening concentration and stilling the mind.  Both of these outcomes are often accomplished by focusing one’s attention on a single point —the flame of a candle, a mantra, the breath’s inhale and exhale, a prayer, an affirmation, etc.

Why would we want to strengthen and still our mind?  Because, such present moment awareness awakens us to becoming mindful about our sensations, thoughts, emotions and actions.  As an example of mindfulness, close your eyes and for the next five minutes, watch the thoughts arising in your mind.  Don’t get emotionally caught up with any one thought.  Just note each of them, and let them pass across the landscape of your mind much like clouds carried by a gentle breeze across the sky.

You probably notice how easily these thoughts arise, how they just keep coming and how nonsensical the content often is.  So, why bother to watch them?  Well, the watching of your thoughts allows you to listen for what is important and disregard the nonsensical, which by the way is 99% of the total.  When we are able to not pay attention to this 99%, we quiet our mind from its manic outpouring.

Many people have said to me, “Oh, I could never meditate.  My mind never stops spinning.”  Fundamentally, this is exactly the mind that needs to experience meditation.  A spinning mind cannot rest.  When the mind is unable to rest, neither will the body nor the breath.  As a result, the mind-body-spirit connection sustained by the breath is perpetually caught in a flight-fight response pattern.  Essentially, we are “stuck” on high alert every day, all day.  This scale of intensity is appropriate for life-threatening events, not for walking to the store to buy a quart of milk or reading a book.

This is the most sedentary generation there has ever been in 60,000 years of the human race.  Our grandparents worked in the fields 10 hours a day and then cycled home.  We move from car to desk to couch to bed.  We are connected digitally 24/7, so we are constantly on, but also constantly on-guard.    Keith Gaynor

Over time, only experiencing life from this heightened state of alertness fatigues the body, mind and spirit, which can lead to depression — the second most common disease globally.  Those who have experienced depression understand when I say that deep rest is its solution.  Meditation achieves this deep rest. Essentially, the purpose of meditation is to create silence and then to enter or rest in that silence.  As we abide in this silence, we are listening beyond information for the deeper wisdom inherent in everything we experience.   I am going to repeat this sentence because it is too important to miss . . . as we abide in this silence, we are listening beyond information for the deeper wisdom inherent in everything we experience.

All true knowledge awakens within the unknown [the silence].     Adyashanti

What we awaken to in our meditative silence is truth, not the surface appearance of our ever-chattering mind but the wisdom that runs deeply within our being and throughout the fabric of life.

When you tense up in life, you lose access to the inner resources that you actually need to discern what’s in front of you, what is in your grasp.    Sarah Lewis

If you are interested in healing yourself, knowing yourself and transforming yourself, meditation or effortless listening is an immediate and proven resource.  IMHO, the healing and transformation that emerge from a dedicated meditation practice exponentially expand the human ability to create and contribute. My personal experience with meditation has been life altering.  Below are some of the benefits I now enjoy —

  • lower back tension and pain eradicated
  • depression and anxiety exited my body
  • joy and compassion rose to replace them
  • intuition and insight guide my actions
  • intimate awareness of my bodily sensations, thoughts and emotions

In addition to its physical and emotional healing, meditation brings me increased self-awareness and confidence.  With regard to opportunities, possibilities and creativity, my productivity and innovative thinking are heightened considerably by meditation.  Since 2009, I have written and published five books with three more in the wings.  My first book of poetry, The Mosaic I Am, and my soon-to-be published second book of poetry, Of Bone and Stone, emerged as a combination of meditation and awareness writing. If you are seeking to know yourself and Life, to live your passion in the world and to contribute from a place of purpose and grace, then develop your own ‘best friend and Way Show-er’ through a mindful meditation practice. What benefits have you experienced from meditation?

Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.

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