Millions of people around the world meditate. From simple breathing exercises to elaborate visualizations, meditation is an attempt to still the chattering of your own mind in order to see, think, or feel more than your daily concerns. Some people use it to reduce the stress of their daily lives, others to gain more insight into themselves, the world or the universe.
There are many forms of meditation. In some we use awareness of our breath or body to calm our thoughts. In some we switch our attention to an external object, thought or image so that our other thoughts will cease.
Many people find that focusing on one thing (or no-thing!) is difficult. So other types of meditations have been developed, often guided, in which a complex sequence of visuals erase the normal chatter in our awareness. Imagine a million tiny goddesses floating around your head flowing with milk and honey! This will make your current problems disappear, at least for a while. The specific imagery is not important, it is the reduction of chattering that really counts. Reducing the chatter leaves us relaxed, peaceful, and alert. It leaves us less attached to ordinary things and more open to the universe.
What’s new in the 21st century
In the 21st century we understand much more clearly that everything in space-time is made of energy. That what we treat as solid objects are patterns of energy. That what we label as our thoughts, emotions and desires are patterns of energy. This understanding doesn’t make our thoughts, desires and emotions any less important, but it does offer a new perspective on how to work with them, on how to calm them down.