Everything we do in life is either because we think it will bring us happiness or at the very least avoid unhappiness.
Given this is our prime motivation you would think that we would always be basking in happiness and rarely if ever encounter unhappiness.
And yet this is not what we find; we are as confused as ever about how to be happy.
Meditation is the process of learning to quiet the mind by not attaching to the repetitive, obtrusive and anxiety provoking thoughts that are constantly swirling in our heads.
Unfortunately this is what causes us to feel stressed out and discontented which is definitely not what we want, but apparently what we get a lot of!
When the mind is quiet we are able to see more clearly how the mind really works and understand what it is that does bring us happiness and how we are the ones usually causing our own unhappiness.
Bring to mind someone who is stressed out: a coworker, spouse or friend (we usually don’t have to look too far).
From this standpoint it should be very easy to see how someone who’s stressed out isn’t thinking all that clearly.
When you’re stressed your mind is so muddled and agitated it’s simply impossible to see things clearly.
Would you seek this person out for personal advice?
Now let’s take the opposite end of the spectrum: someone who’s relaxed, calm and content.
When the mind is relaxed you are able to observe more easily how you operate; how you react to different situations and how often you are reacting unconsciously and simply out of habit (usually bad habits).
By observing your own behavior patterns while your mind is resting in a peaceful state you are able to gain insight into what’s causing you unhappiness, anxiety and stress.
It is through directly experiencing this for yourself that you are able to make changes that bring you more happiness and less stress.
Unfortunately, no one can do this for you.
Training the mind is like raising a child (a really bad, spoiled child) – you can’t just tell it what to do – it won’t listen!
There’s an old saying, “getting angry at someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Not one rational person reading this would disagree – but will you still get angry?
This is the difference between intellectually understanding something and directly knowing it to be true.
This is the reason we meditate.
To make the leap from understanding something to be true and knowing something to be true because that is the point at which we make positive change in our lives thus creating a happier and more fulfilling life.