What is meditation?
Everyone interprets the meditation realm in their own unique way. There are many techniques and forms of expression for every single human. The common threads running through all meditation techniques are stillness and the stillness of the mind. So from there, all the other intricate and, I guess, cosmic things that people talk about come from there. The essence of all meditation explanations and amazing experiences stem from that. It’s basically a study of the mind, you're observing your mind and how it works and how the endless flow of mind traffic and thoughts continue on when it isn't necessary. If you lie down or sit down and you don't have to do anything, you don't have to think about anything, you've got no engagements and you've got nothing that needs your attention, you will witness the mind still carrying on and thinking about things even though your current situation doesn't need any thoughts or mind traffic. Your thoughts basically continue rolling and ruling your life in that moment. So basically, meditation, even though it’s described in many different ways, is just about sitting down, or lying down and just being the observer of your mind.
So you sit down and become the observer of the thoughts rolling through your mind. Eventually what'll happen is that you begin having gaps in those thoughts. And in those gaps between the thoughts is a very deep form of peace and relaxation and belief for a lot of people. It's a very nice feeling of peaceful silence.
With practice those gaps start to increase and the thoughts start to decrease and you can begin residing in that place where you have no thoughts. You're not asleep, you're not unconscious, your mind is just somewhere in there. You are in that experience, but you are not judging, naming, categorizing any of your experience. You're just in it.
Could you liken it to anything?
A lot of analogies are used to describe this experience, and one that is really appropriate is the blue sky mind. If you think of your mind in the way that the sky appears to us. You look up and you see the clouds passing by all around you. And you look at that and you can draw an analogy by saying that the clouds are like thoughts in your mind. They sometimes cover everything and are pervasive. But above or beneath or beyond or however you want to describe it, beyond those thoughts, those clouds, there is always the clear peaceful blue sky that resides there behind all that kind of turbulence and that motion and the movement of the clouds. So really when you are that observer you are opening up patches in the sky, space between the clouds and the cloudiness that is pretty much responsible for a lot of our confusion, conflict, and I guess stress and what not; rampant thoughts running through the mind and I guess from that space – once you reside in that peaceful state where you mind is very clear and there are no thoughts and you feel very relaxed and peaceful. Things start to happen in that experience – stuff that is occurring that is not from your mind; things come to your attention. Perhaps feelings in your body surface where you have got a lot of tension. Energy starts moving to that area of your body because your mind is relaxed and you body is just like a body of water, the water starts flowing more once the pathways are open and the channels for your blood and fluids in your body are relaxed and everything can keep flowing a lot clearer. Clear blue mind. Makes sense on a physical level to give your mind some rest. We sleep each day to rest body, and we feel that when you are rested you feel rejuvenated and you come back to your daily lives recharged and energized and ready for action. Most of us in western society never do that for our minds. We get shit-faced and really drunk and get out of our minds for a while or go surfing and ride a tube or a wave and that kinda pulls you out of your mind and into the environment and into your body. Music and movies also time out of mind. We are still using our bodies or active in our minds. Meditation accesses peace and joy that is always under all the surface things we do, resting our minds and brains. Neurotransmitters rest from sending thoughts into our minds.
And the benefits?
Your mind becomes a lot sharper and clearer after meditation.