What is Meditation and Why Should I Meditate?

Mediation is a process of awakening.  Awakening to what?  To the truth, to your thoughts, to the great aspects of your life. To whatever you want to accomplish.  It is designed to give us a greater awareness of something important to us.  It has been practiced throughout history and is enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the west.

That sounds esoteric doesn’t it?  Hang with me for a second.   We all have a sense of who we are and what it feels like to be happy.  When we are unhappy with the current situation or ourselves, we feel a suffering because of the perceived distance between what we are experiencing and where we want to be in life.  If we are in pain, we don’t want pain.  If we are angry because of someone’s actions, we want this corrected to get back to not-angry or something better.  Agreed?  At least accept for a second that you may not want to be where you are which results in your personal brand of discomfort.[hr]

Secondly, we cannot accomplish what we want in a bad state.  Creative thinking can’t come from a space of overthinking.  Great health cannot come from a depressed state.  Confidence cannot radiate out of anxiety.  So, point two is that this separation, this distance, is limiting our capacity, or in simple terms, is contributing to our unhappiness.[hr]

Lastly, we typically focus on external changes to improve our situation.  This often takes a lot of energy and sends us overboard in the wrong direction.  We want to lose weight so we start a restrictive diet and a 5-day-a-week workout plan which cannot be sustained.  Yes, we need to take action, but the first step is to STOP doing what you are doing.  This is where meditation comes in.[hr]

Think of our actions as if they were balls on a pendulum.  It requires a lot of energy to pull away from the center in order to create the force necessary to move back to the center.  This results in an equivalent reaction on the other end that comes crashing back.  This is the ill-conceived diet that makes you ravenous for the food you need less of. This is the superman workout routine that results in injury.  Are you exhausted?  Are you ready to stop feeling punished just because you want change for the better?

What is meditation truly?

Accept that every action you are conceiving of to help your situation has to pass through this neutral centrality.  Just go their first.  This is meditation.  The quality of actions that come out of this central place of thinking is powerfully accurate.  What is meditation? This is mediation.

Good Reading:

Jon Kabat-Zinn: How to Make Your Morning Routine into a Meditation

Breathing Meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh

Ready to Try for Yourself?  Learn How to Meditate or Rapidly Improve Your Practice

Readers of Tai Chi Basics consistently ask for resources to start meditating or improve their practice. I have become a big fan of the Art of Mushin Meditation Study Course because it is accessible to everyone – everywhere and is a good blend of hands-on practice, explanation, and science.

Scott Prath

Scott has been practicing and teaching tai chi and qigong since 2000. He is a lead instructor for the Austin Chen Tai Chi Association. His interest in the internal martial arts began after traveling in India and Nepal, and he has since traveled to China to train. Scott has published over 100 articles on tai chi with a focus on research showing the benefits of practicing.

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