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Why is meditation important?


The sounds of the past that are still in the back of your mind, your tyrant supervisor being rude to you at work, the daily pressure of your chaotic family life that is slowly swallowing you up inside, these are examples of events or things in life that affect you mentally as well as physically.  What if there was a way to help alleviate and control some of these negative energies in our life? The answer is simply meditation.

In our everyday lives our conscience tries to trick us into believing that these past or future negative energies exist at the present time. It tries to make us feel angry over events in our lives that we can’t control. Why worry about something that happened 10 years ago?  It’s in the past.  The issue is probably resolved or the person is probably gone from our life, so why worry about it any longer?  Why worry about the future when the time has not arrived yet? You can plan for the future but must you worry about it now when you can’t control what “will” happen? In reality you can’t control the future or the past; however, you can control what is in your thought process today at this very minute and second. The only person you are hurting with these negative thoughts that you keep bottled up inside is yourself. Why not learn to control these negative thoughts or at least give yourself a break from these negative energies. Give your mind a reprieve and a much needed mental rest by learning the techniques designed to promote relaxation.

Meditation is the primary tool to strengthen the mind and is the most important practice in which we can achieve liberation, and breaking free from suffering.  By keeping our focused attention on every breath - in and out - the mind has a focus point that is always anchored in the present moment; it is impossible to have your attention on a breath that has already passed or to imagine what the next breath will be like.  Just have moment-to-moment concentration of your breathing in, and out.  There are various techniques that are used by different practitioners, some have their focus of their breath at the diaphragm, watching the rising and falling of the abdomen.  Another technique sometimes taught is to focus on the nostrils, on the flow of air in and out.  You will quickly realize that just being able to close your eyes for a moment and watching each breath, your mind begins to flail around looking for anything to cling to - what I had for lunch yesterday, tomorrow I have to pay bills, why did she say that to me, don't forget to feed the dog, I have to send a report tomorrow at work, ad infinitum - because that is the nature of the mind.

After you have been able to watch each breath, there are and discovered the true nature of rebirth and death.  Rebirth in the Buddhist sense, is the continuous folly in which we continue to live through the same mistakes without understanding it's causality, and not to be mistaken for the transmigration of soul, or reincarnation as believed by Hinduism, which is the predominant religion practiced on the Indian subcontinent long before Buddha's time.

As humans, we are assured happiness everyday by multitude of senses. The 5 basic senses allow us the ability to feel happy by:  1. Sight 2. Touch 3. Smell 4. Hearing and 5. Taste.  These senses give us temporary happiness. As the item gets old, dull or repetitive you feel the need to find a replacement to resurrect the happiness you once felt.  However, by allowing your mind to be in a meditative state you are able to control your thought process, slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure thus allowing your mind and body to feel relaxed. This is a different level of happiness, one in which you no longer need to acquire through your five senses. When meditation is practiced every day, dividends will be noticed with a more stable, calm and uncluttered mind.  It’s like cleaning dirty windows, once cleaned; you are able to see everything sharp and clear.

Now follow these basic Mediation guidelines:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Realize the air that surrounds you
  3. Through your nose, take a deep breath and feel the air hitting the front of your nostrils
  4. Feel the air flowing down into your diaphragm and into your lungs
  5. Slowly exhale the same path it enters
  6. Repeat and re-focus on your breathing technique

Anytime your mind starts to stray away from your basic breathing technique push it aside and refocus on your breathing technique at that time and not 1 second before or after.

Translaete by Anucha Prakopkit