Definition of Meditation – a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness. The goal is to achieve, a mentally clear and emotionally calm, stable state. Scholars have found meditation difficult to define, as practices vary both between traditions and within them.
Just like in Yoga, there are a lot of systems and methods out there for meditation, so many, that one can easily get confused. Watching the breath, Body scanning, Mantra repetition, Thoughts ambushing are a few examples of popular meditating techniques.
It is not so difficult to clear our mind and think of nothing, but just for a few breathing cycles. Thinking of nothing for a longer period, is a difficult task. Being aware / Present / Mindful of what is going on in our mind is a more realistic goal for meditation and is easier to achieve that emptying the mind.
Most of us are “Thinking Addicts”, spending a lot of our mind processing resources, on analyzing the past and trying to plan or predict the future. Various thoughts “sneak” into our ‘conscience mind’ without much control.
Some of the thoughts that cross our mind may be important for us. so important that our survival depends on them. But many times, these thoughts are a kind of noise, gossip or farfetched imaginary scenarios that are unrealistic. Our thoughts may bring us joy but they may also bring suffering.
Meditation is a practice that trains us to observe our mind and evaluate thoughts for what they are (just thoughts). It is as if one part of the mind is observing another part of the mind from a distance.
Just like training in the gym, meditation requires practice. Quick results are hard to come by. Long-term commitment is need for getting to know how our mind operates and ultimately have more control over it.