What is Meditation?
Meditation is simply a method to calm the mind in order to gain clarity and perspective of your life. There are many different kinds of meditations, all serving different purposes.
We don’t need an excessive amount of time or experience to start meditating. All we need is a few minutes every day to settle your mind. Once we learn the basic meditation techniques, we can use these methods for even just 5 minutes every day to help improve our life.
If we train our mind to become peaceful we will be happy all the time, even in the most adverse conditions. But if our mind is not peaceful, even if we have the most pleasant external conditions we will not be happy. Therefore it is important to train our mind through meditation.
Types of Meditation
There are two main types (or stages) of meditation: analytical meditation and placement meditation. When we contemplate the meaning of a Dharma instruction that we have heard or read we are doing analytical meditation. By deeply contemplating the instruction, eventually we reach a conclusion or cause a specific virtuous state of mind to arise. This is the object of placement meditation. Having found our object through analytical meditation, we then concentrate on it single-pointedly for as long as possible to become deeply acquainted with it. This single-pointed concentration is placement meditation. Often, analytical meditation is called simply `contemplation’, and placement meditation simply `meditation’. Placement meditation depends upon contemplation, and contemplation depends upon listening to or reading Dharma instructions.
Excellent books on Buddhism and meditation are available in the Center bookstore, and also can be purchased online at www.tharpa.com/us