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Why to Meditate

The two basic goals of meditation are :

1) Spiritual renewal, or the feeling of oneness with a higher source of life, no matter whether one calls it the infinite and eternal spirit, transcendent and yet immanent in everything, or a divine being called God, or supreme truth, from which flow peace, wisdom and strength.

2) The purpose of deep introversion, in a state of peace, is to search the basic truths of life, to separate reality from illusion itself, to acquire a clear understanding of reality rather than confusing it with a foggy, thoughtless state. The first is relatively easier through devotion and a sincere dedication. The second needs a long practice, to acquire philosophical maturity.

Peace of mind is a product of the first goal, which helps in the understanding of the problems one faces. An expanded state of consciousness enables one to loosen the psychological thightness of attachments and rise above petty reactions by the realization that there is more to life than snobbery caused by the insecure ego and resentment by wounded vanity. A sense of elevation and oneness with a spiritual source helps to sublimate gross passions and acquire emotional maturity. The identity of oneself with the essence of one's being, strengthens the will to act according to what should and should not be done, after having made appropriate decisions.

Clarity of mind, which is a part of the second goal, helps to cultivate a sense of right and wrong, a basic purpose of education and a litmus test of any culture. The Greek root, charassein of the word character means "to engrave," and its Sanskrit word, charita, means "to cultivate". To engrave or to cultivate cherished ideals is what meditation is for, practiced in a state of peace and clarity of mind, instilling a love of truth, of what one wishes to be, by sowing the seeds of suggestion through an intense feeling, devotion and dedication.

Purity of heart or freedom from resentment, hate, prejudice and negative thinking is another objective of meditation. Although it is said that repetition of a Mantra helps to cleanse and enlighten the mind, there is no evidence that the mental sound-form does so, but the faith in it and the sincerity to direct one's life by the ideals behind it. Thus, it is wrong to say that Mantras are meaningless sound-forms. It is also advisable to discard the myth that no progress in meditation or spiritual life is possible without an initiation by a Guru, although a worthy teacher is a help. As the Buddha says :

"By oneself alone is one purified, 
Purity and impurity depending on oneself, 
As no one can purify another, 
By oneself one must walk the path, 
The teacher merely shows the way."

 

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