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December 20, 2016

Prime your mind to investigate the BIG questions in life with meditation

This article goes out to all of the deep thinkers, philosophers, spiritual seekers, existentialists and lovers of truth out there. Below we discuss one of the TOP reasons to have a meditation practice: to qualify your mind for insight and understanding. Meditation boosts your mental acuity so that you can ponder those BIG questions in life.

How does meditation help in this regard? Watch this video or scroll on to read the article:

“An unexamined life is not worth living.”

—Socrates

Know thyself.

(Famous Greek aphorism)

If the above expressions feel significant to you, and you’re finding yourself wondering what’s REALLY going on–why we’re here, how to lead a good life, what is the truth, what is fulfillment–then a meditation practice is probably for you.

The reason is, quite simply, that it’s really tough to tackle life’s BIG QUESTIONS when your mind and body are:

  • neurotic
  • frazzled
  • distracted
  • frenetic
  • divided
  • flooded with emotion
  • jerked around by unexamined beliefs and compulsions.

Meditation is a wonderful tool to help qualify your mind, to prime it, for investigating the big questions. It does so in two ways:

  1. Settling and clarifying your mind and
  2. sensitizing you to your own biases.

Meditation settles your mind, creating mental clarity

An overactive mind, racing thoughts, or stressed, negative thinking clouds your mind, making you unable to fully tap you reservoir of mental power.

To illustrate: if your mind is a glass of muddy water, meditation is the act of setting it on a tabletop, allowing the sludge to separate out and settle to the bottom.

Meditation settles your mind like resting a glass of muddy water on a tabletop.

When you sit down to meditate, you shine the light of your awareness on the “dust bunnies” of your psyche. Those are the thoughts and feelings that accumulate and go unnoticed because of our extroversion as we go about the day, focusing on the “external” world and not as much on our “inner” world.

Sitting in meditation allows these dust bunnies (unprocessed thoughts and feelings) to be seen, fully acknowledged and cleared out. This settles and relaxes your mind, which helps:

  • ease racing thoughts,
  • reduce disturbing emotions and
  • allow insights to surface in your conscious mind.

Recognize your own biases for what they are

Meditation also sensitizes you to the subtleties of your experience (see our video and article which explains further here). As a result you develop the capacity to:

  • Recognize your own conditioning, biases and beliefs
  • Discern between the facts of a situation and your conditioned beliefs/emotions about the situation

With meditation, you familiarize yourself with the subtleties of your inner life and mental activity, and you begin to see your world more clearly. The conditioned overlay that you project on the world–the one made of your fears, desires, beliefs, likes and dislikes– becomes more transparent has less of a warping effect on the situation at hand. As a result, you are able to field situations and process information with more equanimity and clarity.

In a nutshell…

To sum it up succinctly: with a mind that is

  • more sensitized,
  • more clearly able to see what is going on in your experience,
  • less disturbed with emotion and distracting thoughts,

you are better able to:

  • investigate your life and experience,
  • assimilate spiritual or philosophical writings or teachings.

Try this short meditation exercise for more mental clarity

Give this quieting meditation a try to get yourself centered and facilitate mental clarity.

Simply start by telling yourself that for the next two minutes (or 10, or 15–whatever amount of time you choose), you don’t have to worry about anything in your external life. You’re creating a worry-free zone for yourself.

  • Sit in a quiet place.
  • Set your timer.
  • Close your eyes.
  • For the duration of your sit, rest your attention on the feeling of your breath moving in and out of our nostrils.
  • If anything (a thought, worry, emotion, body sensation, etc.) comes up to distract you from focusing on your breath:
    • Acknowledge the distraction, recognizing it for what it is (you can mentally label it, for example “a thought” or “a feeling”).
    • Then gently move your attention back to the breath.
  • Keep on focusing on the breath until the timer chimes.

So many benefits to having a meditation practice

Mental clarity is just ONE of the myriad benefits of a regular meditation practice. Explore our videos-articles covering several other benefits below.

Questions or comments about meditation or your meditation practice?

We’d love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments below.

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