What is Meditation?
Meditation is the development of our mind. In order to improve the mind, we must first recognize and understand our mind. To achieve this we must first gather our mind to us. The training we give the mind to bring it to one place, and focus on one thing is called mindful meditation.
We develop the mind, and train it using this meditation in order to then use our mind to understand the reality, the Truth of the world. This is called Insight Meditation.
Insight meditation is recognizing the true nature of the universe. In the world we look at things with the belief that everything is permanent, life is happiness and these things in the world are my own.
Each person works from these beliefs. The premise of insight meditation is to remove these rosy glasses that distorts our views and see the world in its true form.
There is only one thing that does not change in this world, and that is the truth that everything changes. Impermanence is the fact that everything, at all times in every way is changing.
Impermanence is a truth of the universe. It is an inescapable truth. And yet within human beings there is natural reluctance to accept this truth. We try constantly to control this change to try to create a world where nothing changes. This reluctance is the ultimate cause of dissatisfaction and discontentment that drives human beings.
This is the teaching that: Nothing is mine.
Let’s take for example 2 things we consider our own. My house and my body. But the truth is that if we cannot control how it changes, then it is not ours. We might say that the house is mine, but we cannot control how the weather, how nature, how time will change it. When we think of my body, it appears more certain that it belongs solely to myself; and yet can we control how we age, illnesses and ailments, looks?
We cannot and so nothing, not even my body is my own.
Nothing is me.
We are not independent beings. There is no me. We humans are made up of 4 elements. Air, Water, heat and hard elements. However none of these elements are purely our own. Air enters and leaves our body, water enters and leaves our body, and so on for the other elements. Ultimately we are a part of the cycles of nature’s elements. We, all beings, are merely a part of a greater fabric of nature’s elements.
Not my soul.
For instance, because of impermanence, we are growing and learning and changing every moment of every day over each lifetime. We are never the same person in two moments. My soul is not me, but my soul is not not me. If we are reincarnated, the reincarnate of my soul is not “the me” of a certain lifetime, and yet it is not not me, for it has elements of me.
Practicing Insight Meditation
Next we practice how we take these truths and meditate on them.
In order to prepare the body for meditation, give instruction to the mind to relax the body.
In order to remove distraction from outside sounds, recognize and make the mind familiar to what they are.
Next we focus on breathing.
Recognize the breath entering and leaving our body. (Take some time to meditate on breathing)
Try to understand and become aware of the impermanence of breathing, each breath is different.
Try to understand and recognize the dissatisfaction in breathing. If we don’t breathe for some time, we are uncomfortable, and discomforted.
Finally try to be aware that each breath we take, in the next moment it is released back in the environment we got it from. For the few moments that it is within us, if we choose to believe the air is ours, then that is wrong.
By meditating this way, on something as simple as breath we can gain insight into these 3 truths of nature.