In a conversation last week during our Wednesday night meditation/support circle someone expressed her frustration with her meditation practice because sometimes an issue from her day pops into her awareness and her mind begins processing it. She asked, “Isn’t there a value to meditating “on” an issue that surfaces in the mind?”

I shared that there is an important distinction to be drawn between meditating into the silence by intentionally quieting the mind, and meditating “on” a problem seeking a resolution, which more accurately could be called contemplation. The best approach is to allow space for both, as they both have value, but to maintain them as distinct activities. Quieting the mind in silent meditation is the more powerful use of your time, as the Unified Field of Pure Awareness that we connect with can provide us with the answers we seek spontaneously – in or out of meditation. Universal Intelligence knows exactly how to “speak” to us to provide us with the answers we seek.

In the receptivity of the quiet meditative state we are available for this communication. It may come in the form of an intuitive ‘hit’ or inner knowing, or a clairaudient message, or perhaps through a visual image in our mind’s eye.

Another student in the group shared her experience of this while on a ten day meditation retreat. She had been feeling troubled about an overall feeling of unhappiness in her life, without having any sense of where it was coming from. During a silent meditation she had the vision of a butterfly emerging out of a cocoon. Instantly, she realized the source of her unhappiness – that she felt stifled in her marriage and needed to break free. As a result, she has and moved on and grown and her life has changed completely. Such is the power of quieting the mind.

Meditating with the goal of quieting the mind, or stopping thought, has profound benefits for us on many levels. Meditation reduces stress and allows our nervous system to settle. In meditation our respiratory rate decreases, our heart rate slows and blood pressure decreases. We gently move into a profound state of relaxed alertness where a deep reorganization and healing of mind, body, and emotions can take place. We begin to experience life from a calmer more centered place, recognizing this place as our true nature as Pure Awareness.

When I first learned to meditate years ago, my teacher told me a story about how in ancient India, cloth was dyed and made to be colorfast. After dipping the cloth in the dye it was hung in the sun to dry. The first time the sun bleached out the color entirely. After a second bath in the dye and a drying in the sun, most of the color bleached out, but this time a faint hue remained. Each time the process was repeated a little more color remained in the fabric, until finally the cloth became so saturated with color that the sun’s bleaching action no longer affected it. It became colorfast. Similarly, when we meditate, we carry the benefits of entering the Silence out into the world. The stress of our daily lives wears away the effects of our meditation initially, but over time, we take a little bit more of that quiet Presence with us into our worldly activities. Just as the dye merges with the cloth after repeated exposure, we merge with the truth of our nature as Presence when we continue to spend time there in meditation. Our identity shifts from that of the personality to this Pure Awareness, where we remain untouched by the stressful effects of the day and all of the frequencies of existence may pass through us. We become open and inspired individuals and our creativity flourishes.

If you’d like to learn to meditate, it is not difficult. It does help to have one-on-one instruction to get started and to have some follow-up support for questions that inevitably arise. Please click the ‘Meditation’ page at the top of the blog for more information and ways to contact me.