What is Meditation?

Learn how to meditate

What is meditation?

A brief answer to this deceptively simple question is: meditation is what we say we are doing when we set time aside to become aware of our experience, so we can deepen our understanding of it. This is also a way of describing mindfulness.

Learning to meditate is really about learning how to ‘be’ rather than ‘doing’ anything.

When we say meditation, we tend to think of sitting still. However, walking meditation and daily life awareness practice are equally important. The reason sitting meditation is stressed, is that sitting is where we learn the discipline of using gentle precision to come back to the present experience. Unless we are sitting still doing nothing else it is difficult to notice what our minds are up to.

It is important to stress that meditation isn’t about getting rid of thoughts, it’s not about attempting to create a ‘blank’ mind, that’s impossible. But it is about calming the mind and recognising when we are lost in thoughts, stresses and worries, and bringing our attention back to the present moment.

Where does meditation lead?

While learning how to meditate can mean we can learn to become calmer, more relaxed, at peace, or at ease, meditation also leads to discovering, understanding and trusting the true nature of our being.

Meditation is at the heart of Buddhism although you do not need to be a Buddhist or even religious to benefit from Buddhist meditation. The Buddha taught a universal truth about the true nature of our being and what it means to live a meaningful and satisfying human life.