Meditation - Not What You Think

Imagine yourself away from all of the turmoil of daily life. Imagine yourself in a consciousness where only the quiet and calm of the present exists. There is nothing from the past. There are no thoughts of the future. Only inner peace. The mind is not jumping from thought to thought thinking, "What is going to happen next?" or maybe "What am I going to do about that?" or "How will I work that out?......There is nothing......just inner peace.

That sounds good, you say. How can I get that? How much will it cost? Maybe, you're a skeptic; you think that this is not possible. After all, we are living in this world. We are living with and are part of all of these problems. Besides, if we weren't, it would just be escapism. In that state you're not dealing with daily life; you're just running away.

Many people have had similar conversations with themselves. Their rational minds have taken them to the point where the only solutions to life's problems can be achieved through a rational thought process. Everything has to have a logical, mechanical or mathematical solution. This kind of thinking is not bad in itself, but there is so much more beyond this. There is so much more to our consciousness than what exists on this level.
We have all heard about meditation before. We know many of the commonly touted benefits. For many it sounds too "far out". This is a hold-over from the sixties. Is meditation a practical, applicable tool for my life in 1995

To answer that question we must first look at the mind, how it works, and how meditation affects it.

From the yogic perspective, the mind is a collection of habits (samskaras). These samskaras make up most of our daily lives. How we act, how we think, how we emote are just habits of the mind, conditions that have been embedded and reinforced through repetition over extended periods of time. These habits can be both desirable and undesirable. The undesirable habits are obvious; they are things like anger, anxiety, etc. things without which we would be much better off., On the other hand, desirable habits such as kindness, responsibility and so forth are habits that enhance the quality of our lives and also the lives of those around us while at the same time giving us inner peace and contentment in themselves. The undesirable habits make the mind turbulent and unquiet, making us go outward looking for things to quieted the mind while thinking that these external things will make us happy and give us peace of mind. For example, we think, "If I had that new car, then I would be happy." We get the new car; what happens? Yes, it does make us happy ......for a while.

How is that mechanism working? Why does the new car (or whatever thing we are desiring) make us happy, but just for a while? When the mind is happy, or even as in the beginning of this article, it is in a blissful state, it is focused, the scattered rays of the mind have become one-pointed; the mind is concentrated on one particular thing. When the mind focuses on one thing, whether it is an event, a person, etc. outside of itself, it becomes quiet. These external focal points are transitory, however, and conditioned in time and space. By their nature they are impermanent. Consequently, the concentration wanes. We

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