What is the Goal of Meditation? Is It What You Think It Is?
As humans, we’re very goal driven. It’s in our basic nature to want to have an end goal in sight, something that we’re working toward, instead of the journey it takes to get there. Many people approach meditation the same way… they want to know what the goal is so that they can “win.”
PYM is here to help you understand meditation a little bit better, so that you can use it to help enhance your life. But first, it’s important to look at what you’re hoping to get out of it.
Where Did Meditation Come From?
Meditation can be traced back to Northern India and Buddhism. In fact, while there are plenty of different schools of thought, the roots of meditation are over 2,500 years old.
It has become a huge part of many different Eastern and Western religions in different ways, although they may not specifically call it “meditation.” The word itself can be traced back to an ancient Latin word that translates into “to ponder.” The reason that people did it has been mostly the same since then, and it has continued to be as popular as it is because it really does work at the end of the day.
What Exactly is Meditation?
Meditation is often portrayed as some half-naked man sitting in a dark temple, legs crossed. However, there are really so many different ways to meditate, and each is equally as valid. It’s really more about finding the one that works for you, and practicing it regularly enough to get benefit from it.
But what really is meditation, at its core?
The basic concept of meditation is that it is a practice that connects the mind and the body. Its purpose is to help increase both physical and mental peace and calm, which also helps you to learn how to live more fully in the present.
There are four different elements that most forms of meditation have in common -- they require a quiet place with minimal to no distractions, a comfortable posture (sitting, laying down, etc.), a way to focus your attention, and an open attitude toward the process.
What is the Goal of Meditation?
The real goal of meditation is to enjoy the process. For people who are used to having a set end goal in mind, this can be difficult.
If there is any other “goal” of meditation, it would be to develop a deeper sense of mindfulness. There is even a specific type of meditation known as mindfulness meditation, which is focused on helping you learn to live with whatever you may be feeling at that specific moment of time.
And not only that, but when those feelings and thoughts pop up, mindfulness helps you to acknowledge and accept them without judgement or interpretation.
Remember it this way: meditation is the practice, and mindfulness is the result.
Meditation can help you to lower your stress level, understand your pain, improve your focus, learn to connect better (both with yourself and with others), and reduce your brain chatter. While those aren’t the “goals” of meditation, they are positive side effects of learning to connect to your body and quiet your mind effectively. Mindfulness, on the other hand, gives you the ability to learn how you really feel.
So, what is the goal of meditation? Developing this ability and applying it to your day to day life.
How To Start A Meditation Practice
If you’re ready to get started with developing your own meditation practice, the good news is that you can start right now! There are just a few things that you should know first, so that you can plan ahead:
- Make sure that you have a quiet place where you can sit undisturbed for a period of time. You want that space to feel calm and make you feel safe and at peace.
- At first, it can be helpful to set a time limit. Oddly, that tends to take the pressure off of the experience. People who are new at meditation and mindfulness find a few minutes at a time to be beneficial, no more than 10 at a time.
- Pay full attention to your body. Before really diving into the practice, you want to make sure that you feel as comfortable as possible. If you’re sitting in a way that makes your back hurt, you won’t be able to focus like you need to.
- Focus on your breath. For many people who are new to the practice, focusing on (and even counting) their in and out breaths can help them learn to direct their attention back to their body.
- Notice what your mind is doing. Your mind is going to wander, and thoughts and feelings are going to pop up. That’s a normal part of the process. Instead of getting mad or frustrated, label those thoughts as “thinking,” acknowledge them, and return your focus to your breathing.
- Ease back into reality. Once your timer goes off, don’t hop right up. Take a second to return to your body, take stock of how you feel both physically and mentally, and slowly open your eyes.
If you have trouble relaxing, or the idea of sitting for meditation makes you feel anxious or stressed out, consider starting your day or your meditation session with a PYM Mood Chew.
While you learn to practice mindfulness so that you can find other activities and ways to help you deal with those moments of anxiety, PYM Mood Chews work from the inside to ease you into a more relaxed, calm state of mind and balance.
So what is the goal of meditation? Meditation’s only goal is the journey that it leads you on to find a greater sense of mindfulness. When you can help learn to live in the moment, and accept anything that comes your way as the temporary situation that it is (good or bad), you’ll be able to relax and enjoy life more than you may have ever thought possible.