Meditation helps you understand who you really are.
When you meditate you go “back to the source”. You try to ignore all the layers and layers of false appearance and be aware of pure consciousness.
Consciousness vs. Thinking
All our lives we’ve been lost in thought. From a very early age we’re encouraged to think and to put great stock in those thoughts. At school that’s one of the many things we are commanded to do, especially when pondering an unfathomable math question, “Think, child!”
So it isn’t surprising then, when the child becomes an adult, gets an education, gets employment, gets hobbies, gets mortgages, life insurance, pensions, etc., that we are so much “in our thoughts” that our minds have forgotten about pure consciousness.
Pure consciousness is still there. It was always there. We’ve just been ignoring it all the time because there’s so much else going on.
The domain of the meditator
When we sit wide awake in a darkened room with nothing to do and no sound or vision for us to think about where do our thoughts go? With most of us our thoughts will race and flit around from one issue to another, to memories, to feelings, to fears for the future.
Amazingly, this potentially unproductive and meaningless milieu (sitting in a darkened room with nothing going on) is the domain of the meditator.
Meditators put themselves in this potentially dangerous place everyday. And, instead of watching the thoughts hurtle by, they concentrate on one thing in an effort to calm the mind.
The mind doesn’t like this. It fights back. It draws up thoughts, speculations and memories seemingly from nowhere that beg and demand attention. Instead the meditatorn must turn their attention away from these thoughts and back onto the one thing they have chosen to concentrate on.
The object of concentration can a mantra or a flame of a candle but it is usually the breath.
If you are just starting out with meditation and are trying to be aware of your breath, you’ll be lucky if you manage to concentrate on one breath from start to finish completely without any hindrance from your thoughts.
But even these early attempts – isolated islands of peace in a vast tempestuous ocean of competing thoughts – will be doing you some good.
Benefits of meditation
Meditators often report calmness, greater ability in their undertakings, better sleep patterns, improved health, and many other benefits right from the early stages. This would be no more than 5 minutes per day. But most will try to extend the practice.
What you can do
By concentrating your awareness on your breath or some other thing you ignore the layers of thought (non-reality) and instead inhabit the world of pure consciousness which is your true self.