The Purpose of Meditation
Stillness Within Creates A Deeper Sense of "I"
The purpose of meditation, whether it be Buddhism, Qigong, or Christian in nature, is to help you get in touch with that deeper sense of “I” that is beyond one’s superficial personality. You can get in touch with it by noting what it is about you that permits you to hear, see and feel. What is this presence or consciousness? Don’t make any conceptual images of this presence, just note it when you are meditating.
To get in touch with this presence, or awakened perception, on a regular basis helps you to find the inner reserve of stillness that we all have within. Regular practice allows you to recognize, establish and maintain a more relaxed presence within. This presence connects with the true essence of all life and true intelligence. This is the reality is where we touch God, as Christian contemplatives would say. In the words of Martin Buber, the I moves more toward the "Thou," which is an expanded consciousness of our relationships which leads to the reality of God.
Buddhists practice to become connected with reality, the reality of the Dharma. A Buddha is "awake." Qigong practitioners would say that you align yourself with the Tao, the source of all that is.
If you regularly connect with that still consciousness within, a reserve of stillness can be built up that reduces our dependence on the superficial aspects or our personality and life experiences. Said another way, by maintaining a connection with your deeper sense of “I,” you can better weather external events in your life. Conflict will occur on the surface of our being. We all have challenges, but when we are in touch with the stillness within, we don’t make challenges into problems. In this presence of Mind, it is more difficult to conceive of conflict.
So, the primary purpose of meditation is to maintain our connection with our true intelligence that is connected to the essence of all life. It is freedom from the bondage to our egoic consciousness. You align your self with your true essence. The resulting effect is that we have more harmony within and in our external relationships. Commitment in the path of meditation can thus help us make the world a more conscious and better place to live.
Finding the Stillness Within
Other Benefits of Meditation
On the meditation journey, other benefits can become apparent. Some may consider this a purpose of meditation, but it is a side-benefit at least. It is the result of regularly taking the time and doing the practice.
Besides restoring one to spiritual equilibrium, it also benefits to one's health. Many studies have documented the benefits. Why? Basically, it helps with a variety of conditions that are related to how much stress one carries. Stress relief is related to letting go and putting oneself in a more spacious context, thoughts and egoistic tendencies become less of one's being. Silence and interior awareness become welcome friends. Physiologically, it switches your metabolism to a calmer, parasympathetic state.
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I and Thou is monumental ecumenical work by a German Jewish philosopher who united existentialist philosophy with Judeo-Christian thought.