Do you think it is arrogant or presumptuous to say that meditation is the only way to calm the mind?
To some, it most definitely will and, if you can find a better and more effective way then this is good. As a Buddhist and as someone who practices meditation regularly, I have not found any other effective way to calm and control the mind.
These days more and more people are beginning to practice meditation or at least become interested in it. Lives have become more hectic, and health has started to deteriorate quicker over the years, especially in the West. This is because people are accumulating high levels of stress that they really don’t know how to manage. The strange thing is, that humans create this stress all by themselves and it isn’t something that waits around the corner to jump on the first unsuspecting victim. Looking at things from this perspective, and assuming it’s true, don’t you think its odd that people can’t manage what they have reaped?
When you decide to explore and practice meditation, it’s really important to understand why you are actually doing it. The most common reason in the West why people take up meditation, is because there is something wrong in their lives, something that is making them angry or feel bad and they want to learn how to get rid of it.
This is all well and good, and it’s a great start but you must also take steps to understand why the mind became so busy in the first place.
Here in the West, we are a society of ‘quick fix seekers’ we want quick solutions to everything and if we don’t get them, we assume that the method does not work. It’s often pretty much the same with meditation but in order to quieten the mind there needs to be patience and an understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses.
Buddha described the human mind as filled with ‘drunken monkeys’ jumping around, chattering, carrying on endlessly. This is the monkey mind, flitting from one thing to another. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.
Buddha showed his students how to meditate in order to tame the drunken monkeys in their minds. It’s useless to fight with the monkeys or to try to banish them from your mind because, as we all know, that which you resist persists. Instead, Buddha said, if you will spend some time each day in quiet meditation — simply calm your mind by focusing on your breathing or a simple mantra — you can, over time, tame the monkeys. They will grow more peaceful if you lovingly bring them into submission with a consistent practice of meditation.’
When we choose to practice meditation, it is definitely beneficial for the mind but it’s simply not enough without change or appropriate positive action. For example, if you are choosing to take up meditation because you find life too stressful, then of course meditation will help you to relax your mind enough to deal with difficult situations as they occur, but it is clear that change is needed in relation to your perception of and approach to life situations as a whole etc.
When we want to resolve problems in our lives, we must begin within the self because this is where the answer will eventually be found.
All too often we blame others for things that go wrong for example, if things are not good in our relationships we blame our partner. Maybe he or she isn’t so attentive anymore or maybe they are not as attractive as they once were. All these things can make us feel unhappy and restless in our situation but by turning this inwards we often find that some of the issues lie right here within ourself.
We are not responsible and cannot control how another person acts towards us, but we carry sole responsibility for how we react
An angry reaction is destined to create a more inflamed and unbearable situation.
You can work through any problem in life simply by changing your mindset and perspective of it and meditation helps us to maintain this sense of calm, rationality and inner peace.