Why Should Anyone Meditate?

by meditative - January 27th, 2015

One can have no smaller or greater mastery than the mastery of oneself.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

If you really want to understand your own mind then sit down and observe it. If you genuinely want to know where you stand in your life then sit down and be with it. If you truly want to be happy with where you stand free from your afflictive emotions then sit down and make the effort. If you honestly aspire to transform a breathless and chaotic lifestyle to one that offers greater serenity and clarity then sit down and discover the power of your awareness…

In our mindfulness meditation practice, the object of attention is ultimately the mind and the workings of the mind. Here and now we can challenge the tendencies and patterns that limit our happiness and often precipitate our suffering by simply being present with them. As it is, the mind creates our experience of the world and translates the experience for us. In training of the mind, we can sharpen and refine our awareness- our mindsight- with a more relaxed, clear and accurate way of noticing, seeing, and perceiving our experiences.

By patiently and curiously sitting with our minds, we may develop more wholesome qualities of awareness through our careful and focused observation. In this practice, we may not only manifest emotional balance (i.e. equanimity), inner peace, and wisdom, but also cultivate warmth and empathy for others. With the right intention and effort, we can transform the way we see and perceive things, and thereby transform the quality of our life.

Looking inward over and over again, we may continue to refine our inner capacity of awareness to observe even the subtlest mechanisms of our mental functioning. Our routine discipline of noticing—deep reflection—and sustained observation can lead to a penetrating and discerning awareness, with the power to transform. With this quality of awareness, we may come to see a Way of being that is not subject to the patterns of our habitual thinking- and the streams of thought that just seem to multiply by virtue of association, and not necessarily from our direct experience.

The profound relief and relaxation we may experience in this practice comes from letting go of our egocentric whims (i.e. hopes, fears, and attachments, etc.) that feed the images, projections, and storylines of our dramatically entangled mind states. At the heart of this practice and in seeing reality for what it is, in the midst of our direct experience, we may begin to unmask the deep causes of our suffering and dispel the mental confusion that walls our capacity from experiencing the fullness and wholeness of presence in being.

The willful choice to practice or not to practice- to see clearly or not clearly is ours and ours alone. The process of awakening to mindfulness- to the open awareness and free attention of our own mindsight- is not an easy path for there is so much conditioning, habit, and deeply enmeshed traits of character to penetrate so that we may ultimately see clearly. Meditation is a contemplative practice with the inherent potential to open our eyes and our mind’s way of seeing (mindsight).

As best you can, try to devote 20-30 minutes out of your day to spend in stillness- to calm and quiet your mind. Invite the questions and insights. Let heartfelt curiosity be your guide, and come to freely explore and examine the workings of your mind. You watch what you eat, and train to keep a healthy body. Shouldn’t you carry this same devotion in training the instrument that shapes your world of experience? It’s your choice- your mind- and your life.

To truly change our world and ourselves we must first cultivate a mind that is clear of the truth.