“The object of meditation is to transform oneself, not to have good meditations”Urgyen Sangharakshita
What is Meditation
Meditation is a set of skills or a set of tools that you can learn to use to become calmer, friendlier and more positive.
Meditating regularly can help you to live a calmer, friendlier life and to reduce stress and to de-stress. To learn how to move away from unhelpful and painful ways of thinking such as anger or fear and to begin to develop your own positive abilities such as fearlessness, compassion and so on.
There are many types of meditative techniques literally hundreds in fact. Each works in different ways and on different parts of our psyche. Of course you don’t have to be a Buddhist in order to meditate effectively but eventually there are limits as to how far a non-Buddhist can take meditation.
Ultimately Meditation in the context of Buddhist practice can lead to Enlightenment, to fully realise the innate potential of being human – the complete embodiment of Wisdom and Compassion.
A bigger container
Practising meditation isn’t about getting into a state where you never experience difficulty or distraction – it’s not about escaping.
Rather it is about learning to hold all of your experience as best you can in a wider perspective, with equanimity; learning to hold the whole of your experience in ‘a bigger container’.
Learning how to choose to respond rather than react to the unpleasant and difficult aspects of your life. Over time becoming a bigger container for your experience.
It has been shown that meditation has many practical applications; it is a very effective set of tools to work with stress, in preventing stress and depression, living with serious illness and so on.
But it is also worthwhile in and of itself, it leads to positive growth as a human being.
So, a bit of a health warning
A regular meditation practice will change you! Will change you in very positive ways. And perhaps in unexpected ways.