The Purpose of Meditation
Buddhists believe that all our actions are dependent on our state of mind;
An unhealthy outlook will cause suffering,
And therefore the mind itself is the principle object of meditation.
I like to talk about the "taming" of the mind.
A mind that is not well controlled
Is liable to cause a great deal of harm to itself and other people,
While a peaceful mind
Creates a comfortable atmosphere for itself and everyone else.
Meditation serves to harmonize body and mind
And create a balanced state of inner and outer peace.
Rinpoche, D.T. (2002). The practice of Tibetan meditation: Exercises, visualizations, and mantras for health and well-being. Rochester, VT : Inner Traditions.
How to Do Sitting Meditation
- Sit comfortably with straight back in a chair or on a meditation cushion. Close your eyes, relax completely, and look inward.
- Focus on your breath. Breathe slowly and deeply, through your nose, from your abdomen, with the in-breath the same length as the out-breath, and no break in-between.
- While inhaling through your nose, silently count “One.” Exhale. On next in-breath, count, “Two,” etc. When your mind wanders away, go back to one again. If you reach 10, go back to one again.
When you are deeply relaxed, open to your inner experience. Simply observe and let go of whatever arises, without attachment, judgment, direction.
With systematic meditation, you will be able to hang on to this open-ended awareness for longer periods without distraction.
More information on specific meditations included guided examples can be found on our Taking Charge site.