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Meditation in a very few words
Shakyamuni Buddha identified meditation as key to progress on his path. Search on keyword Mediation on Amazon.com brought over 35000 results. Some of those books have several hundred pages devoted to Meditation. Here is a ultra brief definition of Meditation.
The Western Civilization has accomplished tremendous material growth that has improved the quality of life through hard work and constant action. The act of just "sitting" may seem esoteric. Those who practice meditation on regular basis, achieve emotional and physical well being.
In Indian spiritual tradition, the usual state of mind is compared to a pond with our thoughts akin to muddy water swirling around non-stop. The tradition believes that the wisdom to counter the usual state of dissatisfaction is always there within us like the bottom of the pond, it is the swirl of muddy water that makes it hard to see. Meditation calms the swirl of muddy water to that we can unite with our enlightened state of mind and alleviate our suffering.
Buddhism primarily deals with the human condition of suffering and cessation of suffering;
Shakyamuni Buddha taught the Noble Eight Fold Path as the guide to reach the goal of complete cessation of suffering;
Balanced understanding or wisdom about the causes of suffering is key to progress on the Noble Eight Fold Path;
Penetrating insight is key to gaining a balanced understanding or wisdom;
Intense contemplation leads to the penetrating insight;
One needs mental calmness and concentration to be able to engage in intense contemplation. Our usual mental state is like a pond with muddy water swirling around. Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness of Breathing or Shamatha Meditation affords us the calmness that stills the swirl of muddy water that is pre-requisite for Analytical Meditation;
It may be easy to explain meditation, it takes diligent practice and hard-work to benefit from it.