What Meditation Means to Me

When I meditate, this is what I do. I listen.

That’s probably too obscure, so I’ll explain what I mean. Think about a situation when you are listening to another person talk.  If you don’t stop talking yourself, and stop thinking about what you want to say next, you can’t really be listening to what they are saying. When I first started meditating a few years ago, I noticed how noisy my mind was. When I stopped to observe what was going on in my head, I found it was like a never-ending cacophony. One thought after another, without end. No wonder I was so distracted so much of the time.

Now I am a firm believer in reason, and I was concerned about the idea that it is ever good to stop thinking, even for a little while. Stop thinking? That is how you get drawn in to irrationality and woo-woo. Never check your brain at the door!

But meditation is not “checking your mind at the door.” Stopping thinking is more like stopping talking for a while so that you can hear what is going on around you. So you can really listen. And I find that when I have stopped the incessent internal conversation, and really listened to what is going on, both inside and outside myself, I am prepared to be even more rational than ever.  

With all the noise in my life, I really do enjoy the silence.

2 thoughts on “What Meditation Means to Me

  1. Thank you for writing this. I am currently in the process of studying to become a certified yoga teacher and have been fighting through the “woo woo” of many of the yoga texts.

    What a powerful tool – using your meditation to still the ever present illogical thoughts and socio-religious pressures to find the simply beauty of the rational human mind.

    Thank you.

  2. This is a different take than I have on the subject, but I think it’s just another way of saying the same thing. When I meditate, I think of it as becoming a mere observer of what’s going on. In other words, I let thought flow freely without constraint or analysis. After a while, they stop.

    A great book that discusses the scientific aspect of meditation (and specifically zen) is called Zen and the Brain. I’ve not got all the way through it, but it’s been very helpful in filtering out the woo and presenting what’s really helpful.

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