Meditation can be anything to each one of us, depending on what we aim to use it for. Some people meditate as a way to relieve stress, while others use it to heal their past.
And because of its numerous benefits, meditation has become more and more popular across the globe. It seems that a lot of people today are trying to figure out how to live a better live.
However, many people who engage in meditation still do not understand its real purpose. They might have become too dependent on the practice that it becomes a sort of remedy to their pain.
And while it is true that meditation can help you find your inner self, it doesn’t mean that you need to fit into a certain stereotype to prove that meditation works for you.
There are still others out there who tend to associate meditation with a certain kind of lifestyle.
But the truth is, you don’t need to be a vegan or a self-proclaimed yogi to enjoy meditation.
What is the Purpose of Meditation?
So, if meditation isn’t all about its benefits or even a certain kind of lifestyle, what is the purpose of meditation?
You’ll be surprised to know that it’s not all about finding peace and clarity.
Meditation Helps Us Discover our True Self
We often think that self-discovery is all about learning about one’s likes or dislikes, fears, or even goals. But these are still factors that sit on the topmost layer of our true selves; they are barely scratching the surface of our potential.
Meditation allows us to dig deeper into our souls so that we may answer even more difficult questions about ourselves.
It helps us revisit our past, it shows us our own potential and it can even help you discover your purpose in life.
How we think about ourselves is often what we convince ourselves to be. Our conscious mind often plays tricks on us, letting us believe that we are limited to the things we are aware of.
But through meditation, we are able to get past those limitations and gain access to our subconscious mind – the part of us that holds an abundance of personal information.
Meditation Teaches us the Importance of Control
There’s a reason why many people say they become more focused or less stressed when they meditate. But one must not mistake meditation as a tool to simply get the positive results.
Instead, meditation should be seen as a practice for self-control.
If you are able to control your own mind and body, you are ready to face any adversities that may come your way.
The purpose of meditation isn’t to provide a solution to a person’s troubles or worries, it is a discipline that allows you to see beyond your current situation.
But sadly, what happens to most people is that they focus too much on the end results of their meditation practice. The problem with this is that they become too attached to their expectations.
And when things don’t go as they please, it’s so easy to revert back to old habits.
It Takes Care of Our Mind
There are many people out there who use different types of distractions as a way to clear their mind.
It could be through alcohol or even a cigarette during break time from work. Many people fail to realize that they are not clearing out what they need to get rid of. Instead, they are actually adding to their problems.
Meditation is one way to clean our mind. It allows us to let go of the intangible things – the things which are buried deep in our minds and hearts.
A material distraction cannot replace the act of letting go spiritually; the purpose of meditation is to keep our minds and souls healthy.
It Strengthens Our Relationships
The purpose of meditation is to strengthen our relationships with others, and with ourselves at the same time.
While many people tend to think that meditation is an inward experience, it is safe to say that it also affects how we connect with other people.
As we meditate, we are able to reflect on the things that have happened to us. We are able to review how we’ve participated in society and how our choices have affected our current relationships.
It Enlightens Us
Enlightenment has always been associated with meditation. And while it is true that one can learn many things from meditation, it’s not to be seen as a way to simply gain knowledge.
Meditation is all about mindfulness. And as we become more aware of ourselves and our surroundings, we begin to see the things we may have ignored in the past.
And as we pay attention to everything that surrounds us, we also come to understand our own actions.
The purpose of meditation isn’t just about gaining knowledge, it’s about understanding them and applying what we’ve learned to our daily lives.
Why Meditation Isn’t Working for You
Perhaps you’ve been trying to meditate for quite some time now but you’re not seeing results.
You’ve been looking for some answers, but most people will just tell you to get rid of distractions or to start meditating in a quieter place.
However, after reading the real purpose of meditation, perhaps you’re beginning to understand why a simple change of location won’t help.
Below are some reasons why your meditation practices may not be working for you.
You are too Focused on the Outcome
As written above, if you are someone who is too expectant of the outcomes of meditation, you are missing out on the point of it all.
Being too focused on the result shows that your motivation for meditation is only based on what you can reap out of it.
Our expectations, although intangible, is something most of us find hard to detach from. It simply shows that you find it a challenge to control your own desires.
And as we have come to know, the real purpose of meditation is to learn how to control our thoughts as well.
You are too Attached to Other Things
Being attached to your material possessions is also a sign of lack of control.
If you’re having a hard time getting rid of your old clothing or even spending some time away from a computer game, it will be even harder to be mindful of what’s going on around you.
Our surroundings tend to disappear when we become too hyper-focused on what’s before us. This goes against the goals of meditation which is to become more mindful of everything that comes and goes around us.
You Can’t be Still
A lot of people tend to blame their surroundings for not being able to sit still during their meditation practice. But in truth, we only have ourselves to wrestle our attention with.
When we are unable to be still, it is actually our thoughts that distract us from our focus – it isn’t the noise coming from next door nor is it the mess that’s lying all around your meditation spot.
While this can be seen as a lack of control over one’s thoughts, it’s actually because you haven’t been taking care of your mind lately.
You haven’t thrown out the garbage in your mind and that is why your mind is constantly full of thoughts.
You Use it as a Form of Escape
Meditation should not be used as an exit door for all your problems.
While it does give you some sense of peace after one session, there is no guarantee that the same problem will not arise again. The problem with using meditation as a way to escape is that you become dependent on the act of meditation.
And as we all have come to know, a deep attachment to anything is not going to help you reap the benefits of a meditation practice.
How to Truly Benefit from Meditation
Now that you’ve probably figured out the culprit behind your failed attempts at meditation, it’s time to learn how you can improve your future meditation sessions.
Here are some ways through which you can start to benefit from meditation:
Make a Commitment and Stay Disciplined
Making a commitment and instilling discipline into your practice is a way for you to practice some self-control.
If you are able to keep your word, you know that you are well on your way to becoming more successful with meditation.
Designate a certain schedule for your meditation practice and make sure you follow through even on days when you don’t feel like it. In fact, it is especially on those days that you need to meditate the most.
Every time you are present for your meditation session, instead of doing something else, you are slowly learning how to control your desires for other things as well.
Get Rid of Your Expectations
Just know that meditation is good for you and try to forget all the smaller details. Don’t try to use meditation to target a single area of your life – use it to change your way of living as a whole.
Get rid of expectations and stop measuring your progress meticulously.
If you’ve only been using meditation as a way to escape from stress, try utilizing meditation in a whole different way.
You’ll be surprised with its unexpected results in areas you weren’t so focused on in the past.
Be Open to Possibilities
In relation to getting rid of your expectations, learn how to become more open to other possibilities.
Whenever something isn’t working out for you, don’t give up too soon. Understand that you have a lot of potentials and that meditation is there to show you tons of possibilities.
When something isn’t going your way, perhaps you need to change something a bit. But what’s most important is that you continue to move forward and that you keep trying.
Live in the Present
The meditation practice is all about being mindful of the present. It’s time to let go of the past and stop worrying about the future.
Pay attention to the current happenings in your life instead. When you live in the present, you will be able to focus on the things that you can control.
It’s no longer possible to change the past, and there is no way of telling the future, so why not make the present count instead?
Meditation is all about using the present time to reveal what has always been under our noses. Perhaps because we were too focused on something else, we’ve failed to realize the things that need our attention the most.
Meditation is not limited to just lying down or sitting on a chair in a quiet place. It can be anything from taking a walk to journaling, even a coloring book can be a way of meditation in your own way.
When traditional meditation is difficult for you to get into, be creative and use the resources available to you.
Try to find something you enjoy, and the meditation practice will be a lot easier to commit to.
The purpose of meditation has always been to aid our spiritual health. It is not a passive way of living, instead, it gives us a chance to actively improve our lives.
Many of us think that because meditation suggests peace and calmness, it is an act of accepting everything in our lives; from our suffering to our pain.
However, that is not the case at all.
The purpose of meditation is for us to see that we can live in peace and love if we learn how to control our thoughts and emotions – even in times of suffering and pain.
Meditation is not merely an acceptance of their existence, but rather a way to handle them better.
If you feel that you are in a cycle of constant suffering, or if you are always on the search for something missing, getting back on track with meditation is the best solution for you.
It pays to remember these different pointers in order to truly benefit from the many advantages meditation can offer.
Allen Wei is someone who believes in living his best life, focusing on balance, happiness, and relaxation. He fosters a positive lifestyle in terms of his body, mind, and environment, and he is a huge proponent of learning to be balanced via relaxation techniques integrated into our busy lives.