The Silence of Mind
By Scott Shaw
On virtually every spiritual paths, the concept of meditation is taught to its practitioners. Though the techniques for meditation vary from teaching to teaching, the desired results are the same — a calm, one-pointedness of mind and, at advanced levels, interaction with the divine.
Though virtually all spiritual paths discuss meditation, there are many people who question its usefulness in modern society. Though the concept of a calm, one-pointed mind, and divine interaction all sound very good, for an untold number of reasons people choose not to meditate.
One of the primary reasons people forgo meditation is the time it takes to actually bring the body and mind into a place where meditation may be actualized. With society so full of places to be and things to do, many people feel they just do not have the time. It was for this reason that spiritual schools of thought such as Transcendental Meditation were developed. In TM it is taught that success in meditation can be had simply by sitting down for a few minutes a day.
Other schools of meditation developed that embraced a concentration on playing a musical instrument, on dancing, on walking, bowing, shooting a bow and arrow, painting, making flower arrangements, serving tea, and so on. In each of these cases, these schools of meditation were developed for those people who did not possess the mindset to believe that they possessed the time or the metal focus to actually sit down and meditate.
Anyone who plays a musical instrument will quickly attest to the fact that is a very focused action. Formal dancer will say the same thing. As will painters, martial artists, and tea ceremony masters. But, the result differ greatly between meditating by focusing on an external object or physical action and consciously sitting down and silencing the mind.
Life is a complicated place. Events happen to all of us that cause us to lose our peace and remove our focus on what we truly hope to actualize and achieve. Some people are lucky, they work in an environment where their coworkers all get along and they live in a safe neighborhood. Others are born into or develop the financial means to remove many of the obstacles of life. Though this is the case for some, most of us are left to a world where we have to interact with people who are not focused on consciousness and are set on a path of solely getting what they want by whatever means possible. From this, each of us have at least visited a Life-Place where conflict occurred.
It is the simple reality of life that we each must find a way to move from birth to death, while trying to remain healthy, happy, and whole which encountering instances that we wish would never have happened. This is just the condition of life. For better or for worse, this is the way it is. Who ever said life was fair?
When these life situations occur, it is very common for the average person to completely freak out. Why, because they are overcome with emotion. And, emotion equals enhanced adrenal flow. For some they become addicted to this rush of adrenaline. These are the kind of people who tell you that they love their job — that their job is their meditation, even though it is obviously a very stressful environment and you can see that it is damaging their health. But, for most, when life goes wrong, or a stressful even is encountered, living itself becomes very hard and the question of, "Why," or "Why me," echoes in the mind.
First of all, there is no answer to this. Life is life and things are going to happen. We can each consciously place ourselves in an environment where we will meet as few obstacles as possible, but sooner or later things will happen that we do not like.
What this has to do with meditation is that, when these evens occur, as stated, the average person freaks out. They are driven to acting out all kinds of events like anger, sadness, high blood pressure, anxiety, and even suicide. But, on the other hand, for someone who consciously meditates, they have developed the ability to focus their mind and guide it to a place of peace, where answers to the problem can be understood and living through the event will be less emotionally devastating.
What do you do when you sit and meditate? Just like when you lift weights or run, you are developing a muscle. In the case of meditation, it is the muscle which acutely focuses your mind.
When you sit and meditate, you are focusing on a very singular object — be it a mantra, your breath, an image of what you perceive the divine entity to be, and so on. What you achieve by doing this is the ability to remove your mind from the chaos of the world, and take it to a place where divine understanding and perpetual peace may be encountered. It if for this reason that choosing to sit and meditate can actually provide you with the tools you need to emotionally overcome even the most trying of circumstances.
So, the next time you tell yourself that you do not have the time to practice meditation or you do not possess the mental mindset to sit and focus your mind for a few minutes a day, think about what the not taking the time to perform these action will mean to you the next time a situation of intensity or stress comes your way. Believe me, it is far better to be mentally prepared and exercise the muscle of your mind when you have some down time than when you get hit over the head with an excessive life event.
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