The Simplicity of Meditation

The term “meditation” is loaded. There are a wide range of meditation techniques, and philosophies on meditation. In Western culture, meditation is usually associated with sitting in a funny position, and humming to yourself, or doing Yoga, or something weird.

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Meditation is not weird. It’s so simple it can be confusing. Meditation is: conscious thinking. That’s it.

What is conscious thinking? It’s an exercise in will power, just like lifting weights, or going running. The only difference is that your will power is focused on the flow of thought in your mind.

Humans are addicted to thought. Our thoughts usually move out of compulsion – not out of decision. Just like a child who eats candy until sick, we indulge in thought until our suffering forces us to change our behavior.

However, I bet you’ve caught yourself thinking something mean, and decided not to think that way. I bet you could control the flow of your thoughts if you really decided to try. For example, suppose you decide to think of an orange. I bet you could sit there, and think of an orange for a solid minute.

Sure, it’s a little silly to just sit there and think of an orange. But isn’t it a little silly to lift a weight, and set it back down, and lift it back up, and set it back down? Isn’t it a little silly to run in circles?

The point isn’t to think of an orange. The point is to exercise control over the flow of your thoughts.

But really, there are lots of ways to exercise control. For example, you could just decide to think about a particular topic, without distraction. Why did you get mad at your coworker? What’s the best way to spend your next paycheck? What goals do you have for the next year? Pick a topic, ask yourself a question, and focus your mind on contemplation. Spend an hour focused solely on thinking about a particular subject.

Or, you could go for a walk and focus on the air entering your lungs the entire time. You can decide to focus only on how your breathing feels.

These are all examples of meditation. It’s about stopping the compulsive, uncontrollable thoughts, and consciously choosing what flows through your mind. It’s very simple.

Think about it.

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Comments and Discussion

Be sure to add your own comment, feedback, opinion and/or suggestion :).

  1. Article as simple as subject itself – I never thought about meditation in this way, therefore this point of view is something new for me. But I have to admit, I think I’m going to implement it to my spiritual life :).

    by Nathan / December 19th 2009

  2. I’ve been trying to identify what mediation is for a long time now and, in light of everything I’ve read, this article makes perfect sense. You bring together all the ideas, and boil down all the jargon to exactly what meditation is. Thank you. I was so close to this idea but hadn’t quite gotten there yet. This was very encouraging :)

    by Jason / April 20th 2010

  3. My next goal is to just concentrate on making psi balls while meditating, yes they are easy to do but that’s the point… I feel the need to put my energy towards something when I meditate. Random thoughts, conflicts, or concerns don’t really do much for me concentration ‘wise’ because I pay attention to that stuff all the time anyways. My hope is that focusing on energy will eventually give me more energy to work with when I need it, as my understanding of energy will become more focused. Do you think this makes sense?

    by Ren Bean / May 8th 2010