Meditation is used by many people for a variety of reasons. Some use the practice as a way to relax their mind and clear it of unnecessary thoughts; others as a way to address and relieve certain health issues, and some to relieve anxiety or stress. Shamatha meditation builds on some of these ideas and takes the process of clearing the mind to a new level. This type of meditation focuses on strengthening and stabilizing the mind.
One of the guiding principles of meditation is that changing the way the mind works will change the things that we do. For instance, if you focus on positive thoughts, we then will do positive things. By meditating, you go on a quest to find out the truth of who you are; a quest to overcome bewilderment, which can be accomplished by learning how your individual mind works.
Shamatha meditation is a form of meditation that anyone can take on. Shamatha means “peacefully abiding” in Sanskrit, and through this type of meditation a person seeks to make their mind useful and take on the journey of understanding their own mind.
As humans, we are constantly overwhelmed by circumstances in our daily lives, and these circumstances distract us and lead us to do things that we might not otherwise choose. By gaining an understanding of the mind and taking control of it, you can move through life with intent and stability.
Find Your Answers and Truths
Through Shamatha meditation, and really any form of meditation, you peacefully exist. You are in tune with yourself and your breathing to overcome the obstacle of bewilderment, ultimately learning to exist in a calm state. When you are able to achieve a peaceful state, then you are also able to see how easily your mind has been corrupted by other emotions that block it from its natural state of peace.
In this peaceful state, many questions can be analyzed and solved with a clear mind. Meditation is extremely personal and the process varies per individual. Many people associate meditation with spirituality, and it can indeed be tied to your spiritual beliefs—but it does not have to be.
Anyone can take on the task of learning to clear their mind and reap the benefits while they make progress in doing so. Once you have learned to stabilize your mind through Shamatha meditation, you can focus on virtually anything you want!
How to Practice Shamatha
During this specific type of meditation, it is customary to sit cross-legged and maintain good posture. While meditating, you will want to focus on your breathing, or an outside object, and pay attention to the the workings of your mind. Breathe and let your mind be at peace.
It is especially important to practice putting your mind in a peaceful state due to the amount of technological distractions you now confront on a daily basis. It seems as though attention spans have shrunk in recent years. We are all constantly competing with a wide range of issues for control of our own minds and technology tends to remind us of these issues that would have otherwise naturally dissipated.
Practicing Shamatha meditation allows you to gain back that control and gain a sense of clarity. Try it yourself with Alan Wallace’s excellent Shamatha meditation workshop that takes the viewer through a five-day Shamatha meditation journey.