What is Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of familiarization with the mind in order to understand the nature of our mind, overcome the suffering of our lives, and become better people. Through meditation practice we become aware of that which does not serve us and let it go, as well as cultivate that which does serve us. There are two primary aspects of meditation: awareness and benevolence. Awareness allows us to know what is true of our experience, our feelings, and our thoughts, to have a calm and clear mind capable of having deep insight into our reality. With insight we may know our choices and be able to transform our behavior. In breath meditation, we simply focus on the flow of the breath through our nose and maintain one-pointed focus on that. Simply doing that brings about a radical transformation in our mind.
Besides awareness practices in meditation there is also benevolence practices. Benevolence practice cultivates our loving-kindness and our compassion towards ourselves and others, sometimes by reciting phrases in our minds which offer well wishes for ourselves and for others. This is the second half of meditation practice. This is the practice that truly brings about a heart transformation and brings a depth of meaning to the practice. In addition to making us more loving and compassionate people, it is also what defines the basis of our motivation. Why do we practice meditation? The answer is for the sake of everyone. For our loved ones, for our friends and family, for even those whom we don't know, we practice. We practice to better ourselves and become more capable, compassionate people. That is what you should know coming to every class.
Each of these, awareness and benevolence practices, support and help each other. Awareness practices without benevolence can be selfish and stale. Benevolence practices without awareness practices are blind. Without knowing the truth, the truth of our suffering or our happiness, we may not know how to move forward. Once we know what we experience we may begin cultivating that which truly brings us and others happiness.
Meditation is a long-term process, not just one sitting. It is a commitment to become conscious and have a pro-active relationship to yourself and your understanding of your reality. Through meditation we can come to our greatest potentials as human beings. It is a practice which for thousands of years has proven to be a way for us to accomplish mental, emotional, and spiritual development. I hope that you are excited and that you take it easy on yourself, for there is no rush to get anywhere. Let the practice come at your own pace and allow the practice to reveal itself.