‘Awareness is Revolutionary’
What Is Meditation?
Meditation has been practised within different spiritual traditions for many millennia and is not exclusive to Buddhism. Nevertheless, today many people find Buddhist meditation a valuable tool for bringing about greater awareness. The most immediate results are a clearer, calmer and more tranquil mind and heart.
The thoughts and emotions we are constantly generating have the space to settle down in meditation because we give ourselves something simple to concentrate on to absorb our thoughts and emotions. This can be likened to the image of a pool of water, which becomes cloudy with mud when it is stirred up and then becomes clear when left alone to let the mud settle down.
Having something simple to concentrate on has the effect of leaving out all the different stimuli that keep on stirring our thoughts and emotions. The mindfulness of breathing is a good example of this type of practice where we use the breath, as a simple and constantly available experience, to concentrate on.
We also meditate to develop our sense of goodwill and well wishing towards others and ourselves. This practice of cultivating universal-loving-kindness - or metta bhavana in the traditional Buddhist language - is a recognition that the mind will naturally return more and more to those thoughts and emotions that we have spent time cultivating and enjoying. The feeling of genuinely having our own and others best interests at heart is immensely satisfying and freeing, giving a sense of confidence and open heartedness.
All of our drop-in classes and ‘Change your Mind, Change the World - an introduction to Buddhism and Meditation’ courses will teach you both the mindfulness of breathing and the metta bhavana practices.
Why Buddhists practice meditation
Whilst many people are attracted to meditation in order to de-stress from their busy lives, the actual role and purpose of meditation within Buddhism is much greater than that. It forms part of an integrated system of spiritual practice which, in its simplest form, is described as a Threefold Path comprising Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom. A sound ethical basis to our lives leads to a clear conscience from which the higher states of meditation can unfold - including rapture, bliss and profound states of contentment and peace. With this deeply integrated and calm mind, it is possible, as the Buddha did, to see into the true nature of things and awaken a sense of compassion for all that lives.
Within Triratna, we follow a system of meditation and spiritual practice based on the five aspects of integration, positive emotion, spiritual receptivity, spiritual death and spiritual rebirth.