Although some of us may not have thought about meditation consciously, there ought to be a reason that must have driven us towards meditation. Some of us may have well defined definite objectives or criteria of measurement related to the success in meditation.
If a fuse gets burnt occasionally in your home microwave, we wouldn’t think there is a fault with the oven. We would replace the fuse and use it as intended. But if the fuse is to be replaced more often, we would conclude there’s something wrong with the oven or the electrical system in the house and start a process to monitor the microwave and the electrical system in detail with the assistance of an electrician.
When we are faced with day-to-day problems, our approach towards them is more or less similar. If we are aware that the problems we face in day to day life require some sort of attention and care, we believe that meditation will provide a certain amount of relief to our problems.
We already accept two different concepts, namely ‘my self’ and ‘things or beings outside myself’. In general, when we are faced with problems there is a tendency to think that the world outside myself is the origin of the problem. Of course there can be occasions when we blame ourselves. However, even this blame is directed on the being called ‘I’ who existed in the past, by being ‘I’ that exists at the moment. What is required really is not to blame anyone, but to take steps to correct the current situation.
This activity has to be carried out when we face the problem. Therefore the real benefit of meditation should not be confined to the room where we meditate. It should be extended to where we face problems; be at our home, our work place or in the road when we travel. This requires awareness of our surroundings and our internal mental processes.
If meditation should be practiced every moment, then what are we doing here? When we learn arithmetic at school, we learn it in the classroom and practice it as homework. But its real application extends to day-to-day life. We will use these techniques at the corner shop, railway station or in our offices. What we are doing here is going through the initial process of learning and practicing. However meditation should not stop here. It should be practiced at home regularly and should be applied in day-to-day activities.
In addition to developing awareness we are planning to carry out some mental exercises to fill our mind with positive thoughts. When we have a stable mind with positive thoughts that will prevent the development of stresses and mental breakdowns under problematic situations.
Of course the benefits of meditation go beyond being not getting perturbed in the day-to-day life. In fact, as a result of it we will be able to overcome several mental problems and reduce the risk of developing some physical illnesses. Heart attacks, blood pressure and many other physical diseases have higher chance of occurrence under stressful conditions. One does not have to mention the problems related to aggression, stress, depression, obsession and so on. In fact meditation is not only limited to reducing the negative factors in life. When the mind is settled it will help us to gain better concentration and helps to improve our memory, analytical skills and the problem solving capabilities. As a result meditation will improve our efficiency.
In addition meditation will help us to make many friends and thereby achieve a better social life. This in turn will provide more opportunities for us, not only to a peaceful life with fewer problems from the environment but also to gain physical well being as energies dissipated to overcome external reactions are no more required.
However the success in meditation should not be evaluated by an external measurement. Of course, the medical scientists have measured certain chemicals in human blood and the electronic signals generated by the human brain to find out some measures to indicate success in meditation. Although these measurements will be useful to get an idea of the benefits a person derive from meditation, the meditator him/herself should make the real judgement. It is a perceived criterion and therefore will vary from person to person depending on his background and aspirations.