In the deepest sense, meditation is perhaps the most powerful tool at our disposal. Since meditation is often equated with mystical or magical processes, it is too easily discounted and demeaned. Yet, meditation practices have remained essential to every truly creative and spiritual person throughout history. In short, the benefits of meditation are enormous! Some of the benefits of meditation can already be inferred from reviewing the basic definitions previously given. The most obvious ones include reducing stress through relaxation, and facilitating concentration by bringing the mind into sharper focus. These benefits are obvious because of their immediate impacts. The primary purpose of meditation goes far beyond this. Meditation is a primarily a technical process by which we alchemize and change our fundamental identity. Like the caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, meditation is the tool by which we transform into an entirely new way of Being. Through it we gain concrete revelations regarding the nature of Spirit, and our essential immortality. This is the highest goal meditation can offer. It is also the last result we are likely to achieve. Before this takes place, many other advantages are progressively built in along the way. Let us briefly review these:
1. Producing a reasonable amount of physical well-being so there is health and vitality in the physical instrument.
2. Creating a state of calm, joy, and optimism in the emotional instrument so problems and opportunities can be faced with courage and right action.
3. Bringing peace of mind, discrimination, and “mindfulness” to the mental faculties so life can be seen clearly, allowing for reasonable and correct evaluation of reality.
4. Coordinating an individual’s thinking, feeling, and acting components so he or she can more effectively carry out specific goals and intentions.
5. Changing the identification of the individual from an egotistical focus, towards awakening and becoming receptive to the identity of being a soul.
6. Producing continual transferences of identity so the individual continues to expand in conscious awareness.
7. Facilitating the state of equilibrium at any one level by stabilizing the new vibration so an individual can embody and become the new level of identification.
8. Allowing for the insights which help produce the means to be creative at whatever new level of identification one has reached.
Meditation involves an evolutionary process. As you can see, each benefit above builds on the one preceding it. Though not every level needs to be mastered, proficiency is essential if we are to gain (and in return give) the most from meditative exercises. As we progress throughout this course, we will deepen our understanding of primarily the first four benefits listed. This is because they are the ones most readily grasped and applied by practitioners of meditation. The majority of readings, questions, and multi-media meditations you encounter will help you achieve greater mastery along these lines. Once you are able to ground your basic understanding and practice of these first four steps, you can move onto mastering the remaining steps in other advanced courses along these lines.
Study Guide Questions for Consideration.
(Please answer the following questions to evaluate how you relate to the above).
Consider what benefits you hope to gain from pursuing meditation practice. Evaluate your motivations and reasons behind this.
Why in your opinion are the first four steps listed above considered so important as foundation to advanced meditative work?
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