I’ve been an on/off meditator for the last 6 years. I’ve been practicing it more regularly in the last 3 years and I’ve been working on making it a regular daily practice because I am utterly convinced of its benefits! About its concrete benefits neuroscientists have undergone some recent studies that demonstrate that it actually helps reshape our brain.
My interest lies more in how this reshape of the brain shifts our behavior – which is defined as the action and/or reaction each of us takes in response to external or internal stimuli.
My biggest meditation lesson and challenge in the same time was attending a 10 days Vipassana meditation in silence. The word vipassana means seeing things as they really are. This meditation technique was re-discovered by Gautama Siddhartha Buddha more than 2500 years ago and it was taught to me in its original form, by attending one of the courses here. Buddha was teaching it as an universal remedy for illnesses and as a way to reach enlightment. It is a non-sectarian technique which aims to totally eradicate mental impurities, allowing you to reach happiness by full liberation.
Meditation is a way of transforming oneself through self-observation. While focusing on your physical sensations you discover the deep interconnections between the body and the mind. It is through this observation-based, self-exploration journey to the common root of mind and body that mental impurities get dissolved, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
There is just one condition for success: gaining and keeping your equanimity. Equanimity, a state of psychological stability, is not easy to gain, but it is well worth it! Equanimity actually means to keep your inner peace despite of the emotions you might undergo. During meditation the sensations in your body arise life events that come up to your mind, which generate either emotions of repulsion for what you recall as bad memories, either emotions of passion and attachment for what you think are good memories. The key is to observe them, let them be, keep your focus on your body sensations and don’t get involved in the emotions, but keep your state of calm and even-temper to all that is.
It is wrong to think that this state of equanimity means being in a state of indifference, coolness, reservation or cold detachment. No! Equanimity is the steady conscious realization of the impermanence of reality. Because in the end life is just this: a series of short-length or long-length events that pass. Nothing lasts forever. Having this in mind, how could we allow ourselves to get angry or attached to things or persons that are as well, impermanent? In this way, equanimity is the ground for wisdom and inner freedom. And in this way you learn to be grateful for every single second spent on this Earth.