The average experience of conscious rest through meditation results in physical benefits for the body because physiological imbalances product neutralizes stress. Meditation also helps improve the psychological state that reduces mental agitation associated with worry, nervousness and insomnia. These advantages alone reaffirm the value of meditation as a tool for healing and transformation. However, the traditional role of meditation is to serve as a means for spiritual development, and this is where it contributes more deeply to free ourselves from our negative habits.
The spiritual path is the suffering that leads to peace. Life is short and is beset with difficulties. All human beings live moments of confusion during which we experience moments of anxiety and insecurity about what is to come. Spiritual practice gives us the peace we need to feel connected with a dimension of our being that is beyond the concern derived from confusion. Does not really matter if we give this dimension the name of God, spirit, nature, creative intelligence or consciousness, despite the religious battles that have been released by that name. The important thing is to have access to that level of consciousness through direct experience. As part of the process of building our individuality, we cling to ideas, people and things that presents the world. Our ego-our identity is developed through our relationships with external objects. In early childhood, we develop our sense of “I” through our connection to family members. This sense of self expands rapidly through our relationships with places and things, like toys, pets, schools. As we mature, we welcome certain ideas about the world and ourselves. Through the feedback we receive from those around us, we can conclude that we are intelligent or stupid, beautiful or ugly, quick or slow, kind or unpleasant. We can appropriate religious ideas and policies and identify as Christians or Muslims, liberals or conservatives. In adulthood we define our identity even more through our jobs and responsibilities: “I’m a lawyer,” “I am a teacher”, “I am a mother”.
We met a number of functions and we appropriate countless things and ideas that change over time. The essential spiritual question is: Who am I in the midst of my positions, possessions and beliefs? The question is essential because we can not have lasting peace while our identity remains entrenched in the field of change. If my office in an organization defines my identity, then who am when I stop to hold office? If the direction of what I am dependent on my relationship with another person, who am when the relationship ends?
The spiritual value of meditation lies in expanding the internal reference point, which leads us to stop identifying with the functions, things and beliefs, to identify with the aspect of our being that is precisely conscious. My conscience ever present observer provides the continuity of my experiences in the world, but transcends all objects of identification. When Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, his disciples asked him to define himself. Was it God? A prophet? A saint? The enlightened master humbly stated that the most accurate way to answer the question he was saying simply, “I am awake.”
The way of the internal reference point occurs spontaneously through constant practice of meditation, during which clarifies increasingly the experience of being conscious but without mental activity. Direct experience of “being awake” begins to imbue all our daily activities. We further present our underlying consciousness as we represent our various roles in the world. The average experience of conscious rest cultivate the psychology of a quiet mind and awakens and a body in which we feel comfortable. It enables a state of inner peace emanating regardless of external sources. Anchored in this platform conscious rest, we lose the compulsion to alter consciousness through drugs and alcohol because these substances negatively impact the state of inner peace.