What is Meditation?

When we think about meditation, we often think of it as sitting meditation. Silent sitting for a long period of time. You observe your breathing and try your best to not think… Do you imagine the meditation to be like this? In reality, meditation is much more extensive: It is living in awareness, living in mindfulness. We can meditate while we are walking, standing, sitting, eating, drinking tea, washing the dishes, even while we are talking or working on the computer. Whenever we are aware of what we are doing, we are meditating. But why should we do that? What is it good for? The awareness plays an important role for our happiness, for our inner peace, for our ability to relax, for a healthy body, for the relationships to other people… And everyone of us has the ability to be aware of the things in oneself and the things around oneself. Otherwise, how would we know, that we are here? Or that another person is sitting in front of us? We all have this ability, but in most people it is not very much developed. This is the case because we don’t pay much attention to our awareness. Which again is the case because our awareness is already full with a lot of other things that seem to call or our attention: Our thoughts. If our mindfulness is already strong enough, then we can do a little experiment. We can try to observe our own thoughts. Certainly, for this experiment our mindfulness needs to be already quite strong, so that we are able to be really aware of our thoughts. And how do we make our mindfulness become strong? That’s very simple: By using it as often as possible. We can imagine our mindfulness as a kind of special lamp. The longer it is shining, the brighter is the light that it radiates. And when the light is brighter, it can also illuminate more things than before. This means with stronger mindfulness we can also see more clearly. And the mindfulness becomes stronger the longer we “turn it on”. This is also the reason why we practice meditation: So that we strengthen our mindfulness and our awareness in order to be able to see the things in us and around us more clearly.

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