Let’s have a decent look at this. We’ve heard a lot about the relaxing calmness that meditation can bring to your world, but some people complain that it is short lived; there’s a good reason for that – you’ve lost your focus. Again, some people get who get caught up in the teachings of the ‘Law of Attraction’ or the ‘ability to manifest at will’ complain they don’t manifest their desires and end up back where they started or worse – again you’ve lost your focus – and (this is the big one) you haven’t followed through with the work. And one more example, I’ve heard complaints that some people who are trying to control negative thinking or discover silence of the mind, after a short spurt of success, only go back to their original pattern of thinking or the noise persists; and again I would say that you haven’t followed through physically or you haven’t maintained your focus. You can’t remain calm, relaxed and peaceful if you don’t follow through with the physical work of ‘being’ calmed, relaxed and peaceful; your body needs to be shown how it works and get used to it. And you can’t control thought or remain silent unless you have focus.
There a many reasons why anyone would want to begin the practice of meditation, but in my (almost) 30 years of practicing it, I’ve managed to recognize that there are 3 major focal points (or intentions) to apply in meditation to begin with.
1) To Discover the Mind and its silence: most people believe the mind thinks. It doesn’t; it is that part of you that provides thought dependent upon what it is focused; otherwise the mind is silent and observes thought. Once it becomes focused upon a thought it will begin to guide your body into completing that series of thoughts or thought. It also uses your 5 senses to observe and experience the outside world and then decides to either join in with it or just remain observant to it or detached from it. The Mind is reliant upon the body to complete and express whatever it is focused upon and the body is reliant upon the mind to guide it in its desired experiences.
2) To strengthen focus and will: the strength of mind is dependent upon its focus and will power. These two terms have been taken out of context in that, it has been inferred in the past that we have to force our minds to think in a certain way. This is only true if you haven’t used meditation correctly – and, by the way – it is short lived. As soon as you enter into the thought and feeling of “I have to” you’ve not only put stress upon your physical body, but your mind will reject it based upon the reaction it gets from the physical body.
Focus of the mind means to allow your inner gaze to remain fixed upon a desired thought or idea; then will power cuts in, when your gaze becomes interrupted by a distraction; and those distractions can be extremely strong! As an example, have you ever started a project you really were keen to get completed only to be swayed from your original intent and became frustrated with yourself when you realize you hadn’t completed it? It could have been something very easy and simple but the distraction got the better of you. No need to get lost in the frustration – just bring yourself back to the project until you have successfully completed it – reward yourself and feel the elation. The power of the will is gentle and reminding. When we talk of the ‘power’ as such, we tend to think and feel of something that has ‘power’ over something but in this case it’s not correct to see it this way. The power of will is the ability of the mind to bring itself back to its intent; or it can be seen as the mind reminding itself of its intent.
The same can be applied in the form of meditation; you can focus your mind on some ‘thing’ (a candle or anything will do – try an insect, that’s an interesting one) or something in your imagination, with the intention of being fully focused upon it without taking any notice of your thoughts about that thing. Or you could focus your mind upon a positive thought without allowing any other thought to interfere. You may notice your attention being arrested by a noise outside or another thought; your will allows you to gently come back to the minds original intention. You don’t have to force it; you only have to practice it. The best way is to practice it in meditation and then practice it physically – do something with your mind fully focused upon the job at hand until completion and/or success. Yes it all sounds too easy, and it is – with practice.
3) To discover the real and authentic self (Mind, Body & Spirit): Everybody has been looking for that certain something that makes the difference in their lives. Life has become difficult and fast with digital technology the way it is. Depression and anxiety have hit a high, suicides are abundant, drug taking and alcoholism is epidemic amongst the many other mental conditions being diagnosed. And in all this people are looking for answers not only for others but for themselves too. The problem occurs when we begin to look outside of ourselves to find those answers. Some look for God, some others look for inspiration from others or try to become someone else, all of which only lasts a certain time, but many don’t even bother looking for anything and become complacent puppets and wonder why they are being pushed around.
To discover the real self is to discover your mind first, then it will naturally point itself to the body and heart (the authenticity of yourself physically). The ‘something’ that is going to make the difference is the mind. It is the most powerfully dynamic part of you that once focused and used correctly, will give you any experience you want. You can’t find yourself outside but you most definitely will on the inside.