“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”

— Hermann Hesse

The practice of meditation has become increasingly popular these days. Of course, people meditate for various reasons, for a peace of mind, to relieve stress, to improve relationships, and even for the purpose and intention of material benefits. There is no doubt that meditation helps in attaining all of these pursuits, but they are mere trifles in comparison to the true purpose of meditation. So what is the real purpose that anyone meditates? If we were to strip away all the embellishments and truly question ourselves, then the real purpose of meditation, is to attain self-knowledge.

When we hear the word meditation, it brings before us the image of a person sitting in a posture- usually in padmasana (lotus pose) – with eyes closed and being seemingly in deep thought. Although this appears to be ‘meditation’ to the naked eye, meditation is in reality, beyond appearances.

Success in meditation takes place when there is transformation. When all old habits (mental and physical) are replaced by newer and better habits. The process and results of meditation are described in the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. Yoga is a state in which the disciplined mind becomes perfectly still, like a lamp in a windless place. Yoga means being absorbed in the inherent divine core of our personality. This state of perfect absorption is the highest state and no other gain is considered equal to it. A person in this state is called a Yogi and becomes free from all suffering and swims in unequal bliss.

Some immediate benefits of practising meditation are:

  1. Greater concentration and comprehension
  2. Deepening of our faith
  3. Increased self-awareness
  4. Self-acceptance and acceptance of the realities of life in general- this makes one more responsible for all that life brings
  5. Thoughtfulness in our dealings
  6. Development of our latent abilities
  7. Enhanced patience, forbearance and calmness of mind

Therefore, it is important to have awareness when we meditate and to remember why we meditate, to begin with.

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