What is meditation

Meditation is sitting quietly
while paying attention to your experience,
allowing it to be just as it is.
— Cassandra Vieten

Why do we want to meditate?

  • If our mind is peaceful, we will be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness, which is equanimity (upekkha).
    But if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions.
  • If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we will experience a purer and purer form of happiness. Eventually, we will be able to stay in this state all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.
  • Usually we find it difficult to control our mind. It seems as if our mind is like a balloon in the wind – blown here and there by external circumstances. If things go well, our mind is happy, but if they go badly, it immediately becomes unhappy.
  • However, since we cannot have everything we want, and since we will inevitably be separated from the friends and possessions we currently enjoy, this mental stickiness, or attachment, serves only to cause us pain. When we do not get what we want, or if we lose something that we like, we become despondent or irritated.
  • By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.
  • If we train in meditation systematically, eventually we will be able to eradicate from our mind the delusions that are the causes of all our problems and suffering. In this way, we will come to experience a permanent inner peace, known as “liberation” or “nirvana”. Then, day and night in life after life, we will experience only peace and happiness.

What is Vipassana meditation?

It is also called anapanasati. It is so simple, you just do this:
ana = “breathe in”
pana = “breathe out”
sati = “be in the present”, “pay attention”
And then do it again. And again … that’s all!

Learn more

Experience Beyond Thinking, a practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation, by Diana St. Ruth
At Buddhismnow.com
Articles about meditation, from all traditions.
At Buddhismnow.com

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