The Big Breakthrough With Meditation
by Marcus Antebi
Article at a Glance:
The biggest breakthrough I had regarding understanding meditation came when I had the revelation that meditation was not a spiritual practice - rather, it was a mental practice.
The biggest breakthrough I had regarding understanding meditation came when I had the revelation that meditation was not a spiritual practice - rather it was a mental practice. As a spiritual practice it always seemed abstract and very exclusive. No matter how much I would pretend to the world that I was spiritual, I had no idea what that concept meant. Slowly I began to have a breakthrough when I realized that the word ‘spiritual’ had no meaning to me other than in reference to ghosts and apparitions.
I came to the understanding that life and all creation is an event directly linked to a divine Creator – so, therefore, everything is great. I find no reason to use the word “spiritual” – either everything is spiritual or nothing is.
I then started to realize that meditation was like exercising a specific body muscle. With the physical body we learn obvious outward controls as we grow older and take on more complicated tasks and movements. In meditation we are making moves internally, in the thought processes and the development of different constructs to create better mental health. We are participating in the healing of the mind and consciousness.
It seems impossible for me to believe that any truly meaningful healing can take place without the person attempting meditation, even in its most basic format. The basic format of meditation is to concentrate and practice removing all thoughts but one. There must remain one thought in the basic practice because the mind is actually a machine. It’s similar to an engine; it has to have some movement in order to keep functioning.
The idea of a mind with no thought at all doesn’t seem feasible to me. I have never achieved it, nor have I wanted to. Every conscious creature has at least one chemically created thought. Thoughts are perceived differently depending on the complexity of the various organs.
But that’s too confusing; let’s just focus on human beings. Practice concentration, and focus on the constant practice of it. That focus will lead to a place where a person can become an observer of the thought process. Over time, a person can be so focused that they’re only thinking about one thing; e.g., the breath, the present moment, a candle burning in front of them, or each footstep taken during a walk. In the advanced stages of meditation one could achieve single-minded focus while seated in a still position. Remember - meditation is not sleep, so the person must be conscious. Meditation is a deliberate practice of quiet in the thought processes and it takes years of work. For some people it’s easy, but for others it’s impossible
The mind’s ability to create fears is mysterious. One fear rises after the next, and we find ourselves in a radical turbulent interior world
The question of this mystery lies within each individual. Where exactly do we go wrong - at what stage and what age of life do we lose control and spiral away from having any control over the mind?. For some people it’s not too difficult. For other people, their thoughts become obsessions and their obsessions become anguish. And with the right mixture of faulty character structures a person can seek to ease their suffering through addictive behavior. Addictions can take many forms – consumerism, alcoholism, depression, overeating, smoking too much, exercise, etc.
An addicted person believes that in that moment in their life, the only solution to calm their stressors, the only way that they can be grounded and not slip away, the only way that they can keep their sanity, is by finding a distraction. Something to ease the pain, something to create a full sense of euphoria. Usually, these are distractions that are harmful to the mind and body.
In meditation we can learn the source of these anxieties and sufferings. We don’t have to look far to understand that if we’re in that position then it’s likely that something happened to us in our past to cause the anxieties. For most human beings those problems undeniably occurred in childhood. But there’s plenty of denying it. That's actually the problem - we’ve all been in denial of the truth since we were created.
Meditation is self-healing at its highest position. And meditation also can be revealing when we quiet our minds and all the chatter goes away. In our head we create an opportunity to listen to nature. Perhaps in a quiet state we can plug into a much deeper conscious being. We can listen, and perhaps we are even linking into the collective consciousness of humanity (if you believe in such an entity). Or perhaps it’s none of that; for some, just an enjoyable practice of breathing and being present without all the judgments of what it is, what it may be, or what it’s not. It just depends.