Most people are familiar with the term ‘meditation’ and a lot of people have some idea what it means.
But is that idea correct?
What is meditation and can it be explained by using just words?
Throughout the centuries, meditation has been used in a number of different ways by people in many cultures in order to improve their personal development and to achieve a healthy life balance.
Although al lot of people still think it is used as an esoteric spiritual practice for people to reconnect with oneself, which is certainly true, meditation is currently widely practiced for a variety of reasons. In Buddhism for example, people meditate to achieve unconditional happiness.
These days approximately 20% of Dutch people meditate on a regular basis. Many find it a great way to fully relax and recharge. Business executives and Olympic athletes use it to reach their maximum performance levels and optimise concentration. For the same reasons, elite military units all over the world use meditation in their training programs.
Since the corporate world has discovered the benefits of the practice, it is used in more and more companies to increase productivity, creativity and to reduce stress as an effective method to keep sick leave under control. Meditation gives them a solution to one of the main challenges of today’s society: how to function at your best in a hectic, digitally driven society, with lots of stimuli and common stressors that can easily cause a burn-out.
Meditation is a method to achieve a certain ‘state of mind’. It’s an experience rather than an activity and therefore hard to explain by using words only. For example, try to explain the taste of a great meal in a restaurant to someone who didn’t taste it him or her self. It’s not an easy task.
Explaining in words what meditation is, can be compared to explaining the Tibetan analogy ‘the finger pointing to the moon’. If someone is trying to show you the moon by pointing a finger at it, their aim is to show you the moon, not their finger. So if all you did was look at the finger, you will miss the moon.
Putting the term ‘meditation’ into words is like that finger. And experiencing meditation is like that moon. You have to experience meditation and its benefits before you truly understand what it entails.
As for the finger… Meditation comes down to being aware of and resting effortlessly in what is in this moment. It means being and remaining in an ‘observational mode’, without getting distracted and being fully open to everything there is in that particular moment.
Meditation will help you to accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be without you trying to stop or change anything. You will take whatever happens in with a neutral (meditative) mind.
Meditation is simply ‘being’, a time-out from your attention being constantly shifted by your thoughts, feelings and senses. They will still be there, but instead of reacting to it, you become the observer. Being able to relax in the present moment brings relaxation, balance, insight, overview and eventually freedom of mind and happiness.
This all sounds ‘doable’, however, it is everything but. Just like every new activity or hobby, it takes a bit of practice to learn and master it. At first, you will get distracted often and you’ll spend a lot of time coming back to the breath, back to the present moment. Don’t let this discourage you, it is completely normal and you’ll already experience the benefits of the practice. After a while, being detached from your thoughts (or ‘being fully aware’) and resting without any distractions will become more natural. You’ll be able to stay ‘present’ with ease and for longer periods.
Since ‘practice makes perfect’, you will start to notice little differences in your daily life if you maintain a regular practice. Just like climbing stairs becomes easier once you’ve started an exercise regime, so does meditation. You will achieve the most effective and quickest results by learning to meditate with the support and guidance of an experienced professional. Compare it to learning a language, mastering a sport or learning how to drive, it always is better, quicker and easier with a good teacher.
Do you want to learn quickly and effectively how to meditate? We would love to help you. Follow one of our meditation programs or follow the easy step-by-step plan in my book: Meditation, your daily mini-break (unfortunately only available in Dutch). It’s very easy and won’t take much time. Try for yourself and experience what meditation can do for you. You can click here for a free meditation audio. Enjoy!
I hope this blog helped you get a better understanding of the what meditation is all about. Do you have a different question regarding meditation? Send it to me and who knows, it might the subject for my next blogpost!
Meditation trainer and autor of ‘Meditatie, je dagelijkse minivakantie’
More information about meditation you can find here on www.meditatie.amsterdam and our Facebook page
Do you also want to benefit from all the research and experience I gathered for many years to get to the core of meditation and translate it into contemporary, accessible and practical methods to get the best out of yourself? If you would like to work with me, apply now for one of my next activities.
Beginner or more experienced, I am happy to help you on your way towards more inner peace, balance, energy, clarity and freedom of mind, with methods that can have lifechanging effects within weeks. See you soon!
Roel Wilbers – meditation trainer and author of ‘Meditation, your daily mini holiday’