We admittedly live in a fast-paced, ever-changing world filled with new tensions, anxieties, and stresses (postmodern stress disorders). As a result, many of us suffer from anxieties, depression, and loss-of focus, including attention deficit disorders (ADD), eating-disorders, and other modern-day psychological ‘dis-eases.’ Many of us try to mitigate our stresses and anxieties through various kinds of entertainment and/or drugs. However, this can only temporarily mask our problems, not fixing them. Those unpleasant feelings and negative emotions will surely come to the surface again and again. When unwholesome emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression become too powerful for us to manage effectively, we may react in ways that are harmful to ourselves or to others, resulting in behaviors we might regret.
“We should notice that some people become a little furious by a serious matter.
On the other hand, some people become very furious by a simple matter.
Such emotion is due to the level of “the mind power.”
—Luangphor Viriyang Sirintharo
How Meditation Can Help
Buddhist meditation, which encompasses a variety of techniques, can be used to “still the mind:” in essence, to develop mindfulness, concentration, balance, tranquility, and insight; and to remove negative emotions and unwholesome mental qualities. Thankfully, these Core Meditation Techniques have been preserved in ancient Buddhist texts and have been faithfully conveyed through teacher-student transmissions. Nowadays, many scholars, including psychologists and psychiatrists, view the practice of meditation as one of the most effective techniques to alleviate a wide variety of psychological conditions, including both anxiety and depression. Simply stated, the “guided” cultivation of mindful awareness and expanded consciousness is a powerful approach to help manage our hectic modern lives.
The Power of Mind is Enhanced
Just as bodily exercise and physical activities are important to our optimal physical health, the practice of meditation is considered an important exercise needed for a healthy mind. Moreover, according to Luangphor Viriyang Sirintharo, the process of meditation can actually strengthen the mind of the meditator; that is, to increase or accumulate the power of mind: “We should notice that some people become a little furious by a serious matter. On the other hand, some people become very furious by a simple matter. Such emotion is due to the level of “the mind power.” According to this esteemed teacher: “Meditation produces mind power so that the mind can control the emotions, rather, than the emotions controlling the mind.”
“The Power of mind” or “Mind power” is mental power: mental strength, agility, and toughness. In order to work or study efficiently and successfully, we all require the power to focus and concentrate on our daily tasks. Luangphor Viriyang Sirintharo explains that we normally have natural mind power; however, it usually is not sufficient to ensure optimal physical and mental well-being. Manifested mind power, which can be accumulated through the practice of meditation, enhances our ability to control our emotions and contributes significantly to our overall health.
“Meditation is similar to a water filter that removes impurities from the water,
leaving the water suitable for drinking, which is essential for good health.
Meditation acts as a filter removing the negative thoughts and emotions,
reducing stress and anxiety, which is essential for good health.”
—Luangphor Viriyang Sirintharo
What Happens When We Meditate?
The Buddhist meditation techniques aim to develop greater mindfulness, concentration, discerning-powers, tranquility, and insight. The techniques have also been used to overcome the unwholesome mental qualities and emotions that are impediments to spiritual liberation. As we meditate, destructive emotions and negative thoughts are reduced to One Thought or “One-pointedness.” This type of mental concentration has Non-wandering or Non-distraction as its characteristic. The mind of the meditator becomes calmer and clearer. The power of the mind will increase and accumulate when one practices meditation consistently. Not only will the meditator become calmer, and able to concentrate more effectively; but with dedication and practice, he or she will also become more mindful, insightful, and even wiser in the process. Ultimately, he or she will develop the discerning ability to see things as they “Truly Are,” rather than simply seeing them according to shifting emotions or deceptive appearances. This clarity of comprehension will provide the meditator with a saner outlook on life. It will free him or her from unrealistic expectations, bestow a courageous acceptance of suffering and failures, and will protect the meditator against the lure of deluded assumptions and impossible beliefs. The mind will be comparable to the clear sky without any clouds or fog.
Luangphor Viriyang Sirintharo stressed that meditation is suitable for everyone, including children. It is notable that children, who practice meditation regularly can also become more attentive, mindful, cheerful, polite, and compassionate toward others and all living things.. He believes that world peace can be achieved through applied meditation. Meditation increases mind power. With increased mind power, people can control their emotions, reduce violence, and increase harmony in relationships. As more people consistently practice meditation, they will react to others in more compassionate and benevolent ways, which will result in a more peaceful society and world.
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