What is the real purpose of meditation?
Emptying your mind of thought is not the purpose of meditation. We have to think, just not in a random and uncontrolled manner. We have to think when reflecting on ourselves because self-reflection leads to self-discovery and self-discovery leads to self-realisation.
This process of self-realisation not only releases emotional blockages in the body, which are the precursors to disease, but also connects us with the deeper reality of the universe. If we know what we are, we know what has created us. If we don’t know who we are, we don’t exist; we only have bodies.
We have almost lost our capacity for self-reflection. Caught in the busyness of the world, we have no time to think about why we do what we do; why we say what we say; why we react to the world the way we do. We have become so accustomed to blaming the outer world for what happens to us, that our ability to connect our inner lives to the outside circumstances, or our diseases to our mental states, has been effectively lost. We do not see such connection because we don’t know our minds.
The meditation understands and corrects the mind that created imbalance and disease. Its purpose is to observe our minds, to understand what we do, why we do it, and how to correct it. The mind, being energy, is independent from time and space. Everything we think, happens, albeit in a camouflaged way, that we cannot see clearly. When we think about the past, the mind, which does not know time, responds as if it is now. This has been scientifically observed, with the body producing stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol whenever we think of past stressful or painful situations.
As we look back to our past mistakes, not in condemnation or blame, but as a way of understanding what we did or others did to us (it is immaterial whether it comes from us or others, the mind responds the same way), we try to correct those mistakes and bring the mind to a state of balance. We don’t necessarily need to take action in the world, we only need to correct the mental states that created the imbalance. Energy blockages are usually caused by our emotions. When we truly repent of our mistakes and correct our minds, the blockages disappear by themselves. The mind creates them, the mind undoes them. As we reflect on ourselves and correct our minds, less repetition takes place. Many people talk of a repetitive pattern in their lives; this is because the mind is never corrected.
Mind and body are inseparable. For every emotional state there is a physical response in the body. This is the reason Taoism saw emotions as the main perpetrators of imbalance of energy in the body. Whether they are positive or negative emotions (according to human values), make little difference. Extreme joy depletes the body of energy, and anger obstructs the flow of energy. The difference is that one gives us pleasure, and not the other. As our bodies follow more and more what gives us pleasure, they begin to control our minds. As our spirit is so far from the original state, it begins to follow the mind, and does not know the mind has made a mistake. Then the spirit also begins to follow the body’s desires, and in the process, gets darker and darker. Our minds intimately know we have done something wrong, but as it gives us pleasure, body, mind and spirit are happy. This opens the way to individual and social moral breakdown.
This state of imbalance has been happening for generations. It is only by reflecting on ourselves and correcting our minds that we can reverse this situation. By asking ourselves why we have done or said what we did, or why we reacted angrily at someone, we can arrive at the answers that will correct our minds. The answers are inside us; we just need to let them out. The only thing we need to do is ask. The answer comes from a source higher than ourselves.
It is a simple process, but one which is hampered by our blame and expectations. When we find our faults, we usually feel shame and guilt; that is why we so assiduously avoid doing it. On the reverse side of blame is expectation. Once we find what we need to correct, we think it should happen immediately. When that doesn’t happen there is more blame. It takes a long time and effort to change the mind. When we keep thinking deeply about ourselves, we find the way to correct ourselves. When we find the way, we need to start practising it. Little by little, the mind is changed.
For many thousands of years, we have been instructed to deny or suppress the ‘evil’ aspects of ourselves. This has probably been the greatest harm perpetrated on our nature. It has driven it deeper into ourselves, to a place we cannot readily access, and whence eventually escapes to create ‘evil’ in the world. The balancing law of nature is to reduce what is plentiful, and increase what is lacking. Whenever we find something distasteful in ourselves, we do not suppress it; we make its opposite stronger. If you suffer from selfishness, start giving. If you suffer from arrogance, practise humility. Eventually we arrive at a state of equilibrium where both polarities disappear. This is our original mind; the ultimate purpose of Jung Shim energy training. As the mind is corrected, the body is healed.