The Purpose of Meditation

There are many kinds of meditation, but the highest goal or purpose of meditation is to awaken in us our true nature, introducing us to that which we really are, our unchanging pure awareness, which underlies the whole of life and death.

In the stillness and silence of meditation, we glimpse and return to that deep inner nature that we long ago lost sight of amid the busyness and distraction of our minds. Isn’t it remarkable that our minds cannot stay still for longer than a few moments without grasping after distraction?

We often feel we are fragmented into so many different aspects. We don’t know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory thoughts and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home.

Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home.

Learn to Meditate

The Practice of Meditation

The practice of meditation, of bringing the scattered mind home, and so of bringing the different aspects of our being into focus, is called “Peacefully Remaining” or “Calm Abiding.”

Calm Abiding accomplishes several things. First, all the fragmented aspects of ourselves, which have been at odds, settle and dissolve. In that settling we begin to understand ourselves more, and sometimes even have glimpses of our fundamental nature.

Next, the practice of mindfulness defuses our negativity, aggression, pain, suffering, and frustration. Rather than suppressing emotions or indulging in them, here it is important to view them, and your thoughts, and whatever else arises with an acceptance and a generosity that are as open and spacious as possible.

Gradually, as you remain open and mindful, and use one of the techniques of meditation to focus your mind more and more, your negativity will slowly be defused; you begin to feel well in your being. From this comes release and a profound ease.

Methods in Meditation

When Meditation is taught, it is often introduced by saying:
“Bring your mind home. And release. And relax.”

Meditation practice can be distilled into these three crucial points: bring your mind home, and release, and relax. Each phrase contains meaning on many levels.

To bring your mind home means to bring the mind into the state of Calm Abiding through the practice of mindfulness. In its deepest sense, to bring your mind home is to turn your mind inward and to rest in its true nature. This itself is the highest meditation.

To release means to release mind from its prison of grasping, since you recognize that all pain and fear and distress arise from the craving of the grasping mind. On a deeper level, the realization and confidence that arise from your growing understanding of the nature of mind inspire the natural generosity that enables you to release all grasping from your heart, letting it free itself, to melt away in the inspiration of meditation.

Finally, to relax means to be spacious and to relax the mind of its tensions. More deeply, you relax into the true nature of your mind, the state of Rigpa. Being in the state of Rigpa has been compared to pouring a handful of sand onto a flat surface; each grain settles of its own accord. This is how you relax into your true nature, letting all thoughts and emotions naturally subside and dissolve into the state of the nature of mind.