I was one of the few lucky children who grew up in a school that modeled itself after the ancient Indian Gurukula system. A popular feature of the Gurukula system is its practice and ways of ancient veda, yoga and meditation. Thus, even as a kid, I was exposed to the practice and benefits of meditation. Meditation has remained a pillar of my mental stability and strength since then.
Meditation, in a way, can be compared to religion – not in its packaging and representation, but in its followership and their perception about it. Different people comprehend and practice meditation differently, preach various forms, and call them by different names. Yet, everybody tries to achieve the same thing – a calm and peaceful mind.
While meditating (for beginners) one has to try focusing on thinking about just one thing to realize how impossible a task it is, at least in the beginning. Our minds, wired to so many thoughts and memories at the same time, become uncontrollable over time. With enough practice we can learn to empty our minds, one thought at a time. It is important that we be the masters of our minds and not the other way around. Meditation is a means to that end. It can involve focusing on a word or a chant, a sound, a dot on the wall or our breathing in an effort to turn our concentration to a single point of reference.
Especially in the world of today, where we feel we don’t have the time to stop for a second and catch a breath, meditation becomes a powerful tool to stay ahead. Investing five minutes in meditation will make our minds so much sharper and focused on the task at hand. Few art forms are more difficult to master, yet nothing is as simple to practice. A cartoon in The New Yorker comes to mind – two yogis, a master and his disciple, are sitting side by side, meditating. The disciple is giving the master a quizzical look, wondering what to do next. The master replies, “This is it! Nothing happens next!”
Ruthu Shree Ragavan

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