While many of my formal meditation moments may be focused on working with remaining in the present moment and resting, as best as I can, in a state of non-distraction, without altering my mind, there are times when I’m suddenly presented with an idea worth noting or taking down for use later on, after my session is over. And, sometimes these ideas are more than just worth noting, they’re actually pretty darn good insights – they’re AHA moments!
While there are many reasons to practice meditation, one of the main reasons that I have found to practice meditation is to be less distracted and more present, to be more aware of what is going on within my mind and to be more aware of those around me. With an increased awareness of what goes on in my environment, there’s also the potential to become more aware of what is happening to those around me and to attend to those who need my help or assistance. This “compassionate impulse” is a benefit that is not always found in discussions on meditation.
At its heart, a primary reason to practice meditation is to become more of who we inherently are; compassionate, present and aware. The state of non-distraction, which we gradually achieve as we progress in our meditation practice, brings us a mind that is aware of our moment-to-moment life, that in turn brings about a natural state of compassion, recognizing others as being equally as distracted and in need of awareness within their mind.
“If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.” – Pema Chodron
Does your mind get all unruly when you try to meditate?
Beginning meditators often feel disheartened when they find their mind besieged by more thoughts and emotions than ever. They might even give up, thinking that meditation will never work because their mind is just too unruly.
Even those who find meditation easy in the beginning, may soon encounter a time when their mind suddenly feels out of control. "Advanced" meditators also hit turbulence from time-to-time.
Here's the secret: If your mind is a bit wild, you are not alone! Agitation is one of the two main obstacles in meditation; the other is dullness. The great meditators of the past encountered precisely the same problems when they tried to meditate. Lucky for us, they found solutions.