Anita Aparna Muyeed

What Does Meditation Do For Us?

Meditation is a state of being, where the body is relaxed, the mind is calm and the heart is at peace. When we rise to this place of stillness and quiet, we can begin to experience the higher aspects of our own being. In a way, meditation clears the static, and reconnects us to who we truly are. It helps us to better cope with the daily challenges in our lives by helping us overcome anxieties and successfully get through the tests that we are faced with daily.

The actual process of meditation withdraws our awareness from the senses to bring it inward and upward, toward the most advanced part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex. When we bring our focus and energy to the point between our eyebrows, we can begin to experience higher consciousness, joy, empathy, creativity and can more easily find solutions to our daily challenges. Physically, we experience renewed vitality, mentally we have clarity of mind and emotionally, we naturally shift our attitudes to ones that bring true happiness.

To demonstrate a befitting analogy of what mediation can do for us, I’d like to share with you a story that my mentor Diksha McCord, co-director of the Ananda Meditation Teacher Training, shared with me: A few years ago, Diksha and her husband decided to go hiking up a nearby mountain trail together. They started down at the valley where they stood in a thick forest, and although it was a very sunny day, the sun was unable to pass through its dense foliage. The hiking trail was dark and shady, and they couldn’t see very far up because there were many trees and rocks in the way, but they kept on climbing. They continued to make a steady effort and remained on the uphill path for two hours, until they finally reached the top of the mountain. And there on the summit, the space opened up. There were no more trees. The sky was blue and expansive. The sun was shining. The air was fresh, and before them was a vast 360 degree view of the valley and everything around and above it.

And so she explained, that most us inhabit the thick shady forest down in the valley, full of trees and shrubs, synonymous to living in our heads, full of thoughts, full of projects and to-do-lists, worries and regrets. But when we meditate and we offer our energy upwards towards the brain, we begin to withdraw our awareness from the senses. And as we keep making the effort to uplift it, there comes a point when we reach the top of the mountain. And here, we experience clarity of mind. We feel lighter. We get perspective, and we see a broader reality. We find solutions and we experience joy. This is what meditation does for us.

Meditation is not about problem solving, checklists, thinking and analyzing. It is a state of inner being, of calm, peace and joy. Meditation is not a state of somnolence and unconsciousness; but rather it is a state of being fully present, being awake and being ready. Meditation is like coming home. It is the process of reconnecting to our true essence.

Furthermore, meditation is a state of being, not a state of doing. In our modern lives, we are constantly doing. And so it is understandable that it may take some time and effort to make the transition between doing to being. Just like it takes time and practice before becoming comfortable with a language we haven't spoken in a very long time, slowly, by the regular practice of meditation, we start to remember, “Ah yes! I remember this. This is familiar. This is my true essence. It's been here all along, within me.” And we can start to experience true peace. We live more from our center and more from our truth.

It takes practice and perseverance to reconnect to and rediscover your true center. Just like Diksha's hiking experience, it takes time, it takes patience, it takes willingness, it takes self discipline, it takes perseverance and it takes commitment to reach the summit. Are you ready and willing to receive the infinite expansion that meditation can give you?