What is meditation and why is it important?

Meditation is a very broad term used in today’s society. It can mean a variety of things. Wikipedia defines meditation quite well. They define meditation as a practice where an individual operates or trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself. There are a variety of methods to induce this increased awareness. Even something as simple as going for a walk and clearing your mind is a form of meditation.

From my experience, I can say meditation is one of my most important habits. Why? Because the mind is a crazy beast. It is constantly going, going, going and it rarely stops. It is like a monkey jumping from one thing to the next. With a mind operating like this it is very easy to get lost in our thoughts. When we start to get lost in our thoughts I find we limit our capabilities and remain unconscious of the things that are actually going on. It gets out of control and creates unnecessary stress and anxiety. This is something you must notice and it is hard to notice when you are lost in it. I would argue everyone suffers from this on a varying degree unless you’re an enlightened yogi or something like that.

I would argue that because our minds operate like this, we find it hard to stay within the present moment. We are always projecting ourselves in the future or we are living in the past. This, I would say, happens unconsciously to the majority of us. We then wonder why we are stressed all the time and sometimes you would even say you’re not stressed because being stressed all the time is your normal way of living. It is like a fish trying to notice that it’s living inside an ocean. You must have a clear intention to notice this in yourself. I find in today’s society mediation could not be more important. There are so many distractions, like social media, emails, and advertisements that just grab your attention unconsciously. This fuels the monkey mind.

Meditation is not something you can do. Meditation is a way of becoming. You become meditative. If you meditate every day, slowly you start to become meditative all the time. You create a distance between you and your mind and when this happens you are able to control it much more effectively. Once you have control, you can just about doing anything in this world and the more distance you create from it the more peace that will enter your life.

For me, my meditation is just sitting in a cross-legged position for 20 minutes every day. I just remain still and notice what my mind is doing. I don’t try to control my thoughts and try not to engage in them. I just remain the observer. As strange as this may sound, don’t try to do this. Just be the observer. To keep my mind from drifting off, I focus my attention on my breath. One thing that is always happening right now is your breathing. I find focusing on my breath really grounds me in the present. I still have crazy monkey mind but as I notice it more and more, I can create a separation from it. As I meditate more and more I can see myself getting much more peaceful and my ability to function at any task has increased substantially, but still, there is a long path ahead.

There are numerous long-term and short-term positive effects from meditation that have been scientifically proven. Check out the article written by Forbes at the end of the post. I strongly encourage whoever is reading this to start a meditation habit, if it’s an hour a day or if it's just five minutes a day. You will definitely notice the difference in your quality of life. Also, I encourage you to learn how to meditate properly. There are a variety of resources out there that can teach you how to meditate properly. I am still learning how to meditate properly.

Ask yourself, how are you able to do anything in this world? Only through your body and your mind. Gain control of your mind and body and the world is literally your playground to do whatever you desire. It may be a long and daunting task, but I don’t see anything as important for achieving the things you want in life.

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Forbes: The Effects Of Meditation On The Brain