Why Meditate? The Purpose Behind a Practice Nearly as Old as Human Existence Itself
I’m sure you’ve noticed the thoughts that flow in and out of your mind throughout the day. I call this mind chatter. It’s the commentary we place on our experiences. Mind chatter is like thought bubbles in a comic strip. And the storyline comprises variations on two basic themes: events that took place in the past and ideas about the future. Sometimes we ignore the mind chatter, while other times it consumes all of our attention. In this blog post, I’ll explain the pitfalls of mind chatter and how to decrease its influence in our lives.
We’re Guests at Party and Don’t Even Know It
At any given point and time, there are countless phenomena where we can focus our attention. Unfortunately, we miss the calls to embrace the present moment because we’re so busy dwelling on the mind chatter. It’s as if we’re the honored guests at an event, but we’re so preoccupied with what happened before and what will take place after that we miss out on the actual celebration itself.
Meditation Quiets the Mind
With a regular meditative practice we learn to turn the volume down on the mental commentary that drowns out present experience. It’s a technique for reducing the mind chatter. As we become more skilled, we can eventually lead a meditative life, one that is totally present to what is, 24 hours a day. When you’re able to do this, life will be more peaceful and cause less suffering because you’re not consumed with thoughts about the past and future.
All Techniques Lead to Stillness
The are countless ways to meditate. Whether it’s through counting breath, repeating a mantra or prayer word, or observing thoughts, the goal is the same: to quiet the mind. Thoughts may arise, but with practice, they will dissipate quickly because your attention is focused on the present moment.
As we develop our meditative practice, we transform both our spiritual and physical sides. We no longer miss out on the life that is unfolding before us that is ever changing and always new. Without the overlay of mental commentary over present experience, we lead fuller, richer lives. Consider making meditation a daily activity. Once it’s a regular part of your life, you’ll understand why it’s a practice nearly as old as human existence itself.