KATHMANDU: Meditation has become a mainstream term in popular culture. An activity restricted to a sub-culture of limited religious and spiritual followers has now become a common name in households and offices. But what is Meditation?
“Meditation is the discipline of focusing your attention and returning to the present moment over and over again.” But what does focusing your attention entail? Where do I direct the attention? These are some common questions asked by people starting out. Typical answers are either to direct your attention towards an object or your thoughts. The important thing is to ‘concentrate,’ so the object could be anything. But what really happens when we concentrate that way?
What Meditation primarily does is streamline our thoughts. Our brain is constantly buzzing with thoughts that range from the most bizarre to the most enlightening ones. Whenever we interact with the outside world, there is a constant inner conversation that keeps happening in the background of our heads.
What it does to our system is slow us down. As per scientists, we hardly use 5-10% of our brain capacity; some say it’s even less, and what do we do with what we have? We either imagine scenarios and conversations in the future or contemplate and freeze on past experiences; we hardly stay in the present moment.
But is it just that? What happens when we break this flow inside our brain oscillating between past and future? We can see through the drama. It’s as simple as that. Our brain has a monkey nature that’s constantly jumping from one thought to another, but when we concentrate on something, we break that pattern. Now, if we keep doing that regularly, we can easily break the irrelevant thought patterns and derive some sense of it. This is how Meditation helps us gain control over our thought patterns.
For a deeper understanding of what Meditation is, its important to understand THE MIND
The mind is simply a process working inside of us, which keeps on learning what it perceives through the five senses and replays it in random combinations as its only function if not mastered properly. It’s a faculty with two components: one that experiences what’s happening in the present (the present reality) and the other that absorbs everything and resides in our every experience since childhood (the unconscious reality). The two keep colliding and dim our awareness levels in the present moment. The role of Meditation is to tame the unconscious and bring more awareness to the present moment.
But why the need to tame the unconscious? The unconscious mind is like a recorder, recording every experience as it happens. It stores the visuals and dialogues and the feelings that we experience at all times.
A wild unconscious mind is dangerous simply because it can make you feel pain or anxiety of the past at its whims while corroding your experience in the present. What streamlining your thoughts does is give you the power to control your experience in the present. Meditation is the instrument that helps you achieve that blissful state of mind.
Meditation beyond ‘Peace of Mind’
But Meditation is more than just an instrument for attaining peace of mind. It can also direct your Mind towards your’ purpose’. How?… If the Mind is busy in the past, the choices in the present are taken half-heartedly as most of the mind’s power is being used on irrelevant things. The only power our Mind has is the ‘POWER OF CHOICE.’ Living in the present, in this context, means being able to make the best possible choice every moment, which aligns with our long-term desire to create the best possible story for ourselves.
Meditation helps in being conscious of where the ‘awareness ball’ in our head is moving and making conscious choices without being influenced by our past or others’ opinions but only by our deepest innate desires. It helps us channel our being in such a unique way that the entire process of living becomes easy. In other words, life becomes easy. Situations won’t be easy, but our perspectives will adapt better in accessing a situation.
Our Consciousness causes our state of being, which facilitates our state of Mind, which further enables our thought patterns. The brain is like a machine that drills out thoughts in accordance with the level of awareness and vibrational frequency of a person. Hence Meditation can disrupt our thought patterns, bring clarity, and elevate our thoughts.
The whole spirituality could be summed up in this one word – ‘NOW.’ That’s it. That’s all it is in the end. And thoughts never let us live in this ‘now.’ When we stay with less awareness and let random thoughts replay in our heads, our mind combines thoughts together to form a pattern. This pattern, when repeated, becomes a habit and thus stays with people for ages.
If thoughts don’t follow a thread, they fall back, and we, for the first time, witness thoughts as nothing but random movement in the brain. This is revealed to us in Meditation. When we close our eyes and concentrate our mental energies on one object, it strengthens our concentration powers and enhances the quality of our everyday experiences.