Benefits of meditation

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The benefits of meditation can be reduced to one word: health. Yes, health! But we must be clear about what we mean by the word ‘health’! Usually, when people enter into meditation for health reasons, all they expect is a way to cope with some disease, maybe a little healing - and maybe some peace of mind. That’s all! But meditation has the power to completely transform you - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually! Only when you are healthy in mind, body and spirit can you be really called healthy. Physical health is essentially the ability to digest your food well and have that food become part of your body. Mental health is the clarity to digest and work with all the ideas and problems that you encounter, and arrive at the most effective solution. It means living a conflict-free life, with yourself and others. When you add meditation to your life, you will experience a flood of transformation, especially at the mental and emotional levels! Spiritual health is the maturity to receive all the great truths and the energy of enlightenment, digest them and live a liberated life. Having all three is total health. Each individual experiences meditation in a unique way, but these are some of the changes that meditation can bring about in you. A really healthy body If your digestive system is working perfectly, that is physical health. A perfectly working digestive system is the index of good physical health. It can heal diseases from obesity to insomnia. If your digestive system is in great order, you will need very little or no food. Your physiology will be so intelligent that it can take in energy directly from the ether. It is possible! Moreover, meditation is a wonderful complement to medication. Through meditation, you can regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar, you can increase your body’s resistance to disease. You can heal even chronic problems like skin allergies, asthma and arthritis. No disease can escape the power of meditation. Greater mental clarity Meditation can bring tremendous awareness in the outer and inner worlds. You start living your life in a much better way, with greater awareness and intensity. You will be more alive, more creative. Yet internally, you will experience a deep and undisturbed silence. Understand, when you are aware, your ego is absent. When awareness is present, your ego can’t exist. When your ego exists, awareness can’t be present. ‘Your absence’ will make you live enlightenment. You will no longer be doing - you will only be watching the doer! This is the whole secret of meditation – to become the watcher, to become the witness of your own actions and emotions. As you start witnessing your own actions, you will realize that there is someone inside you who does not change, who does not get angry or feel sad, who does not care about money or security or fame. That is the real you! The real you can never be touched. The rest is just a personality you have formed around yourself. Once you become aware that the real you is not the one who acts, that the real you is not the one who feels angry or hurt or depressed, then you experience a tremendous sense of peace. This will happen through meditation. True freedom We have heard that meditation gives freedom, so we turn to meditation in order to be free. But we misunderstand the word ‘freedom’. What we search for in our ordinary lives is either ‘freedom for’ or ‘freedom from’. ‘Freedom for’ is the freedom for doing, having and being all that we wish – freedom to live as we imagine right. ‘Freedom from’ is freedom from all the things that we dread and hate – disease, worry, anger, stress, low self esteem, pain. In all our actions, we are prompted by one of these things – freedom for or freedom from. The greed for something good, or the fear of something bad. Our whole life is controlled by these two ropes of greed and fear. But when you are being controlled by these two ropes, where is the freedom that you are craving for? A few weeks back a casual visitor, an artist, was speaking to me. He was telling me why he hated meditation. He said, ‘I hate all these rules and discipline. I like to be free to lead my life the way I want. I get up at ten o’clock, first thing I have my coffee, then I go for a swim whenever I feel like it…’ He described his whole day to me. Then I asked him, ‘What if someone woke you up at six o’clock? Or what if your coffee didn’t arrive at your bedside one morning?’ ‘Oh, that would make me really mad!’ he said, and laughed. ‘And what if it was raining and you missed your swim?’ I asked. ‘Yes, that would be a bad thing. If I can’t go for my swim, I feel really bad the whole day.’ Then I asked him, ‘If your freedom is dependent on so many conditions, are you really free?’ He was shocked! To be really free is to be free no matter what. That’s what I call real freedom, not ‘freedom for’ or ‘freedom from’. Real freedom comes out of living completely in the present moment. Freedom that doesn’t depend on any external circumstances is the only true freedom. This is the freedom that you will experience with meditation. Overflowing love With meditation, one strange thing you will start experiencing is Love! When they start meditating, people are prepared for all kinds of miracles. They are ready to receive visions, to have the darshan of their favourite deities and what not. But they are least prepared for the miracle of love! You will be amazed to find how much love arises and floods your being when you enter into meditation. Through meditation, you will experience some awakening, some level of your being that you haven’t touched before. You will want to share your joy with everyone you meet! This joy will overflow from you as love. And just like freedom, this love is different from any love you have ever experienced before. All our life, we have been giving and taking our selfish little loves. Please be very clear: you always love for a reason! Either consciously or unconsciously, you enter into a relationship with your own ideas of give-and-take. Even in the most intimate relationships, even between husband and wife, between parents and children, there are hidden reasons for loving. All our love is tainted, destroyed by jealousy, possessiveness and expectations. Love for a reason is not love, it is business! With meditation, for the first time you will understand what it means to love for no reason. For the first time, you will not be giving in order to receive. You give love simply because you have so much to give! You shower love upon the world in the same way that a raincloud showers upon the earth, or a flower spreads its fragrance all around. You love because you can’t help it! Joy unlimited With meditation, life becomes a joy that you cannot find a reason for. When joy happens for a reason, it is sure to bring pain sooner or later. If you are happy because you have just had a good meal, you are going to become miserable when you get hungry again – that’s all! If you are happy because you have fallen in love, you are going to be sad when the first fight happens. Don’t think it won’t happen to you! It happens to everybody. That is the rule of life. All happiness leads to pain when it ceases. That is why, in ancient India, they had only one word to denote both happiness and pain: the word pain! But the joy you experience with meditation is undisturbed, undisturbable. You may be healthy, you may be ill – the joy will remain the same. It may be cold, warm, raining, snowing – the joy remains. Neither your own condition nor external circumstances can make a difference. When you experience lasting joy that no external circumstance can alter, it means that you are moving deeply inwards. The flowering of Intelligence Life is changing all the time. Intelligence is nothing but the ability to respond to life moment to moment, to be awake to the challenges that life throws at us. Intelligence is to be aware of the situation, to alter your answers according to the demands of the moment. When you don’t have confidence in yourself, you have to depend on the rules and regulations put down by society, by law, by religion. Understand, the intelligent person lives without a script. He doesn’t need one! He depends on himself, on his inner guidance. Intelligence is taking your responsibility upon yourself. We are all born intelligent – but society is cleverer than we are! Right from our childhood, when we are unprepared, society sets up its rules. It manages to build walls around our intelligence. It prevents our energy from flowing naturally. The ultimate intelligence is nothing but the ability to break free of these chains of conditioning. Meditation is the surest way to awaken intelligence – because the chains which are binding it are all in your mind. With meditation, you go beyond the mind, into the being. In the being, no rules exist. You become free to explore your full potential. That’s why, with meditation, you will suddenly find yourself at ease with your surroundings. You will find yourself easily able to cope with new situations. You rediscover spontaneity. A new vision When I say vision, I don’t mean it in the sense we normally use the word. Although some of you will develop greater physical sensitivity, receive visions and so on, these are not important. These are just by-products of the growth process. The real growth is the clarity to understand and fulfill yourself. What I mean by vision is inner vision, a deep understanding of one’s true nature. We all go through life wearing a variety of masks. For every role, for every occasion, we have a mask. Mother, Father, Husband, Wife Doctor, Housewife, Boss, Socialite…the list is endless! We live and think according to the roles that society has imposed upon us. These roles ultimately become our personality. With meditation, you touch your own individuality. Your personality can change, but your individuality is unchangeable. Every individual is unique. With meditation, you naturally start moving in the direction which expresses you, which fulfils you in the ultimate sense. With meditation, you move inwards. You start living out of our own being. You become integrated. You move from personality towards individuality. Work as play When you take up meditation, you will make the beautiful shift from being serious to being sincere. Understand, sincere is not serious! All your stress and all your problems arise because you are taking life too seriously. People come and tell me, ‘Nowadays, life has become so competitive and stressful, we have no time to do anything that we really want to do.’ Actually if you see the truth of the situation, it is not a question of less time or more work. It is your attitude about these things that makes the difference. You see, it is not the work that exhausts you. It is your mind, your attitude! Take a simple example. If you have to take the train to work, you feel tired even before you get there. Even if you have only been sitting comfortably on the train, you feel exhausted.But if you are taking an evening walk along the beach, you don’t feel tired even after walking for two or three miles! Understand, in your mind you feel that the train ride to your office is work, but the walk on the beach is relaxation! You don’t have anything to achieve by taking that walk. This is the big difference. The whole thing depends upon your state of mind. Naturally, if you carry the same relaxed attitude towards your work, you can give yourself to it without getting stressed-out. The whole purpose of meditation is this: to get out of the result-oriented mind, and watch every moment of life unfold as a beautiful Divine play.