The practice of meditation is believed to have originated in India. However, it has been incorporated and adapted by many religions around the world and is an integral part of multiple cultures in today’s societies. Meditation, in this context, can be defined as being aware of what is happening, while it is happening, without preference. The practice involves anchoring our attention to sound, the breath, or a sensation in the present moment, and returning our attention to the chosen support when our mind wanders in distraction or thoughts. As one continues to strengthen the ability to hold oneself in the present, mindfulness is developed. However, as simple as this instruction may seem, it is important to find and follow experienced and genuine teachers to help us truly understand the habits and patterns of our own mind through this practice.
What are the Benefits of Meditation
Resting in the present moment reduces the tendency to elaborate on the stresses and anxieties that our thoughts encourage. Therefore, the peace and happiness that we all have within us, and that is exempt from external circumstances, begins to reveal itself. Although “calm-abiding” meditation, or mindfulness, can result in feeling more calm and at ease, it is also a tool to gain insight into our own consciousness. Anchored in the present, we can learn about ourselves and see the illusory nature of thoughts. This in turn starts to deconstruct a solid and fixed sense of self, the source of many of our problems.
Being more aware of our internal environment helps us to notice our thoughts as they arise. Consequently, we become less overwhelmed by our emotions which reduces our tendency to react impulsively to external situations. It is only natural then that our relationship with ourselves, as well as others, benefit as we can see our reactivity, and instead respond to any circumstance with kindness. Ultimately, through dedicated and consistent practice, meditation is an essential tool to help us awaken to our innate pure potential.