Rakesh Sethi, BS, CAHP

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Ayurvedic Practitioner

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What is Meditation and It’s Purpose? Part 1

Posted on: November 13th, 2010 by Rakesh Sethi 27 Comments

Every day the bombardment of life’s responsibilities crowd our daily thoughts. Constant conversation about what we “have to do” and “should be doing” plague our minds. The chatter seems endless as does all the required activity of daily living. As we have transitioned into “technology-based, information-loaded“ lifestyle, it seems as if there is no restful moment for a quiet mind.  People look towards meditation to quiet the chatter, calm the mind, and develop single pointed concentration. However, there is more to meditation. Before we answer what is meditation, take a look at how we have entangled ourselves into the outside world?

What Are We Part of?

We live in a fast paced stressful environment.  Whether it is conscious or unconscious choice, we have become part of it.  In the spirit of competition & winning, we are trying to “keep up” or “out-perform” our fellow co-workers or neighbors. Our American culture, up through 2008, has been based on acquisition of “stuff” to validate our success and worth in society. The more we have the more we think the world says to us, “Atta boy, good job!”  This outside recognition keeps us running on that economic wheel.

There is no end to this race.  We strive for years chasing the false illusion that when we make the next goal, the next promotion, the bigger house, the faster car we will feel that level of satisfaction. And every goal we accomplish, the feeling is satisfying momentarily. Then once that feeling fades away, the dissidence begins again, and we start striving to next goal see if we can attain that momentary feeling of satisfaction. Unfortunately, the race continues month after month, year after year. Without self-reflection, the race usually ends for a person when he is physically or mentally unable to carry on.  We have created ourselves a never ending “pressure cooker” and live in it with stress.

Why Meditate?

woman meditatingTo find relief, some of us jumped on to meditation to relieve stress.  Meditation, among other things, does reduce stress, calms the nerves, & relax the body systems, which leaves us feeling refreshed after this exercise. Could the purpose of meditation be to reduce stress?

Keep in mind meditation has not removed the causes of stress which continue to agitate the mind.  So the underlying problem is never resolved- thus an agitated mind cannot take to meditation and draw lasting benefits from the meditation, benefits are only temporary.  So we go in cycle from stress to meditation – meditation to stress. Meditation is then reduced to forcing yourself to sit in a quiet place and focusing on an object, place, person, or mantra and it no longer provides the same refreshing feeling that it used too.  One day the effect of stress catches up resulting in some sort of a disease and we render the meditation as a useless maddening practice.

How did we miss the very purpose of meditation?  Are we practicing meditation after the fact?  How can we turn this around?

What is meditation and its ultimate purpose?

Meditation is to practice our intellect to keep our mind on exclusively one & one thing alone.  Our intellect must always keep strict observation over our mind & prevent the mind from wandering off into past or future or flowing into multiple thought streams. The best time to practice meditation is at sunrise and sunset. This is when outside nature is calm and supports calmness in you.

However, the practice of meditation just doesn’t end there.  Now we bring this practice and apply it all day long at work, at home, with relationships, and in any other situations.   It is just like an athlete, who practices & improves his skill on his own, and come game time, he puts his practice to work.  So it is with meditation.  You must put it to work in the field; the purpose of meditation is not just sitting alone practicing in a room at home. Discover benefits of meditation in part 2 of the meditation series.

If you liked the benefits of this article then the biggest service you can give is by sharing its benefits with others.

Be Well!

Rakesh Sethi

Share your comments, thoughts and suggestions below. I appreciate your time & will take the time to read every single one!

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27 Responses

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    • Rakesh Sethi says:

      Appreciate your feedback. I will email all interested when I post a new article. Till the next one- Be Well!

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    • Rakesh Sethi says:

      Please feel free to ask and I will reply directly to you or post it on blog if it benefits others as well. You can contact me thru Facebook ID – Rakesh Sethi. Be Well

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    • Rakesh Sethi says:

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  12. Alyssa says:

    I have wanted to experiment with meditation, but, ironically enough I cannot seem to make myself focus.

    I think this is a case where I simply need more practice. This post motivates me to do that.

    • Rakesh Sethi says:

      Alyssa, I felt the same way but with this attitude every task you do is your meditation. Be Well!

  13. I believe in the power of meditation and have made it a part of my daily life for many years, this article is fantastic it not only sums up the importance of meditation but it also explains exactly what it is. An inspirational piece of writing and I will be sending the link to others in the hope that it will motivate them to improve their life with meditation.

  14. Venkat S says:

    Dear Mr.Sethi,
    I have learnt many techniques of meditations not by myself but from the respective Gurujis. Then analysed seriously about what is happening. Sure enough the stress is reduced and that is reflected on diagnostic instruments.

    It just requires anyone to have consciousness of the mind. If the mind is engaged in work, letting it go is wiser than checking it. If it is in conflict, then one has to be aware of the conflict and when the emotions subside, one can analyze the conflict. The analysis requires understanding of our own conditioning, the values, the mismatch of our living system etc.

    From what ever I have experienced it doesn’t require any system or any method or any particular time for meditation. When one has learnt to be aware of the mind and its nature, the mind can be manoeuvred at will. The emotions take some times to come under control.

  15. Susana says:

    Hola, Muchas Gracias por compartir material sobre meditacion: La verdad que hace mucho tiempo intento meditar; Han cambiado algunas cosas en mi siquis, pero no me produce la alegria que otras personas dicen tener cuando meditan. Es cierto que me invadio un silencio desconocido, pero creo que me he vuelto mas lenta, menos inteligente…es normal?

    • Rakesh Sethi says:

      Yes, it is true you will feel at first that your pace has slowed down relative to before. Perhaps because you are fully involved in the present moment unlike before. What you need to see is if you are enjoying the process of doing paying attention to detail and producing better quality results from your activity. And, less intelligent? That is not normal.

  16. Susana says:

    Lo que quiero decir es que las respuestas que antes sabía, ya no estan…Como que los conocimientos se fueron. Me cuesta recordar las cosas…Parece que comprendo las cosas, pero ya no me interesan. Estoy desconcentrada y tengo miedo de que eso influya en el trabajo. Gracias por responder!

    • Rakesh Sethi says:

      Perhaps I misunderstood after the translation to English. I wish I had known Spanish. Sorry I couldn’t interpret & add to the discussion correctly. Be Well.

  17. Awesome website…

    Really nice blog. I will check back for more information on this subject later….

  18. Jim Freedom says:

    I have found that meditation calms the mind, brings inner peace, stillness and CLARITY. It is with this clarity that I have been able to see the truth that sets me free to perfectly enjoy and love ALL that life has to offer. For instance, I can see that virtually all the stress I experience is a product of MY REACTIONS to what life is offering: my thoughts and then my habitual emotional reaction to those thoughts. A thought is really nothing more than an electro-chemical impulse traveling along the neurons of the brain and it cannot hurt me, it is only my reaction to the thought that can cause me stress or pain.

    So I have changed my practice to include practicing positive emotional reactions to ALL thoughts. So most of my “meditations” now focus in on practicing happiness, joy, love, peace and feeling freedom. All of these are inner experiences and ENTIRELY a function of habit, which can be changed.

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