“Meditation is based on the premise that the natural state of the mind is calm and clear. It provides a way to train our mind to settle into this state. Our first reason for meditating might be that we want some freedom from our agitated mind. We want to discover the basic goodness of our natural mind.
To do this requires us first to slow down and experience our mind as it is. In the process, we get to know how our mind works. We see that wherever the mind is abiding–in anger, in desire, in jealousy, or in peace–that is where we also are abiding. We begin to see that we have a choice in the matter: we do not have to act at the whim of every thought. We can abide peacefully. Meditation is a way to slow down and see how our mind works.
The untrained mind is weak and inflexible. It lives in a zone of comfort. When the boundaries of that zone are challenged, it reacts by becoming more rigid. In contrast, the trained mind is strong, flexible, and workable. Because it can stretch beyond where it feels comfortable, it’s responsive–not reactive–to challenges. Through meditation we can train our mind to be flexible and tuned in to what’s happening now. We can apply this workable mind in all aspects of our lives, including our livelihood, our relationships, and our spiritual path. So another reason to meditate is to develop a strong, supple mind that we can put to work.
It’s easy to associate meditation with spirituality because when we experience a moment of peacefully abiding, it seems so far-out. Our mind is no longer drifting, thinking about a million things. The sun comes up or a beautiful breeze comes along–and all of a sudden we feel the breeze and we are completely in tune. We think, “That’s a very spiritual experience! It’s a religious experience! At least worth a poem, or a letter home.” Yet all that’s happening is that for a moment we are in tune with our mind. Our mind is present and harmonious. Before, we were so busy and bewildered that we didn’t even notice the breeze. Our mind couldn’t even stay put long enough to watch the sun come up, which takes two-and-a-half minutes. Now we can keep it in one place long enough to acknowledge and appreciate our surroundings. Now we are really here. This has nothing to do with religion or a spiritual path. It has everything to do with simply being human.”
– By Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, author of Turning The Mind Into An Ally and Ruling Your World.