What Is Meditation?
Meditation is when the mind and body are still and the heart is open. This is one of our favorites of the many ways to define meditation, because it is so simple and concise. When we quiet our mind and body, and open our heart, we are able to reach subtler levels of who we are — a divine spirit, a soul free from the ups and downs that we tend to get caught up in during this lifetime.
Remembering who we are during meditation means releasing, revealing, renewing and recharging. We can release emotions and thoughts, and over time even release habits and tendencies. This reveals more of our true spirit and higher aspirations, which renews and recharges us often with strength, energy and ever-new joy.
Meditation is also concentration. When we meditate, we try concentrating on one thing at a time, as opposed to trying to grapple our many thoughts. Single-pointed concentration, such as on the breath or a mantra, is part of what leads us to emerge from meditation feeling recharged. This is because it draws our energy to one thing, allowing our energy to become more focused and interiorized and therefore more powerful, because it isn't being dissipated outwardly in the countless things that demand our attention every day.
Concentration has the power to bring both our body and mind to a place of deep stillness. For example, when we concentrate on our steady breath, our thoughts tend to slow down as well. The mind and the breath are intimately connected. When one calms down, the other tends to follow suit.
It’s important to listen for the subtleties in meditation. It’s been said that prayer is talking with the divine and meditation is listening for the answers. Do not sit passively during meditation; be active in developing calm awareness and openness to inner guidance.
This is how meditation changes every aspect of our lives (not just our stress levels and emotions!). It changes us on deep inner levels, inspiring our daily thoughts, emotions and actions far beyond our meditation time — so long as we spend some time devotedly trying to still our mind and body and open our heart!
Enjoy this video of a young meditator explaining how meditation helps her remember and connect with who she really is!