Meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a state of consciousness. It’s a generic term which refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness.
The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. It has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health issues, such as high blood pressure, depression and anxiety.
Meditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state — such as anger, hatred, etc.—or cultivating a particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassion.
There are many different techniques for meditation including:
A Buddhist’s point of view:
The purpose of meditation is to calm the mind. When our minds are peaceful, we are free from worries and mental distress, and can experience true happiness. But if our minds are not peaceful, it is very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions. But if we train ourselves to meditate, our minds will gradually become more peaceful, and we will experience a purer form of happiness. Eventually, we can remain happy all the time, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Usually we find it difficult to control our minds. It seems as if our mind is like a balloon in the wind – blown here and there by external circumstances. If things go well, our mind is happy, but if they go badly, it immediately becomes unhappy. For example, if we get what we want, such as a new possession or partner, we become excited and cling to them tightly. However, since we cannot have everything we want, and since we will inevitably be separated from friends and possessions we currently enjoy, this mental stickiness, or attachment, only ends up causing pain. On the other hand, if we do not get what we want, or if we lose something we love, we become despondent or irritated. For example, if we are forced to work with a colleague whom we dislike, we will probably become irritated and feel aggrieved, and be unable to work with him or her efficiently and our work place becomes stressful and unrewarding.
By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind
Fluctuations in mood often arise because we are too closely involved in external sitatuons. We are like a child making a sandcastle who is excited when it is first built, but who becomes upset when it is destroyed by the incoming tide. By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between extremes of excitement and despondency.
“How to Solve Our Human Problems” By Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
“The Mind and its functions” by Geshe Rabten