How Does Meditation Work?
Meditation works on a number of different levels and in a number of different ways' although primarily it simply restores one to a natural state of relaxation. Rather than considering how meditation ‘works’ it might be better to consider what it is that doesn’t work prior to undertaking meditation. Metaphorically speaking the human mind and body under the stress of everyday living is like a piece of elastic that has been pulled to near breaking point. Meditation merely restores the ‘elastic’ to its natural state, free of pressure. Elastic, pulled to its tightest is relatively inflexible - if you were to hit it, it may well break. At its most relaxed point, it is entirely malleable and much less prone to damage through impact, or through exposure to extremes of hot or cold. The human ‘being’ is much like this also, with the build up of daily occurrences serving to stretch one to the limit and to ’breaking point’. Meditation merely serves to relieve tension, making one more malleable and open to challenges.
Meditation at Higher LevelsAt higher levels meditation aims to imbue the individual with a greater awareness of their surroundings right up to the point of their gaining an appreciation of the nature of themselves, the world, the Universe and even God and existence itself. This is a process that can be said to work in much the same way as described above, using the ‘elastic’ analogy. Much of our experience serves to further remove us from our natural union with existence outside our immediate ‘self‘. Feeling ourselves to be solid and defined individuals, we lose sight of the fluid nature of the universe. This is quite simply at odds with the attainment of lasting happiness. Any attempt taken by the individual to assert their power, competence or authority as a mere individual in face of the sheer number of other beings in the universe is bound to meet from resistance from other beings and objects. Through meditation it is possible to foster an understanding of our own transience and vulnerability in order to achieve true strength and permanency, through flexibility, as part of all things.
The path to this sort of realisation is both difficult and lengthy. In a sense the question as to how such a process works defies logic from a Western purview. Whilst the elastic analogy holds true to an extent, we are now dealing with two extremes, whereby the elastic at its most taut represents a human as we normally understand one. At its most slack, the elastic represents the complete extinguishment of the human individual, not through death of such, but through a passing of the ‘ego’ mind. Effectively, in doing this, the ‘self’, as commonly understood, ceases to exist. Clearly, given the extent to which we tend to do the utmost to protect ourselves and promote ourselves as strong, healthy and wealthy individuals, such an achievement defies logic. This is because, from a spiritual perspective, there is no achievement to speak of! The experience of Enlightenment occurs as a result of not striving to achieve anything at all. This is something that is arguably attested to across all spiritual disciplines.
Meditation in Your LifeHow far one wishes to go in attaining spiritual enlightenment is a personal choice and it is important to remember that, due to the spiritual nature of such a pursuit, there are no hard and fast rules or guidelines. A simple regular course of meditation for relaxation will undoubtedly help to engender an awareness of ones interconnectedness with the world in such a way that benefit you and others around you.
From a Western perspective, it is worth considering that if all things are interconnected, your ability to achieve your goals in a vast world can only be improved by developing a direct feeling of being at one with other beings and things. If you are already a part of all things what can be possibly be denied to you? On the other hand, if you are part of all things what could you possibly want for? For this reason, any amount of meditation can have a significant and positive effect upon your life.The answer to how meditation works is, in consideration of these points, a difficult question to answer for the very fact that the answer can only be presented in a form completely alien to spirit that the question is asked in! The truth experienced through meditation is not an answer, but just is! In light of this, the only way to gain a better understanding of meditation is to engage in it in whatever way is suitable for you in your day to day routine.