What Is Meditation?

05/09/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Meditation is the art of listening to the universe. It is about cultivating and increasing our capacity to be receptive. When we are receptive, we are better able to hear the wisdom of the universe and the wisdom of the soul. During moments of meditation, the aim is to calm the mind in order to hear the whispers of the soul. This soft voice is what we are trying to connect with and access. Once we tune in, it has the power to transfigure our reality. It contains the wisdom to solve our problems, to empower us and lead us on the right path.

Meditation over time teaches us to sit still and listen, to become aware and control our rampant thoughts, to embrace silence and become comfortable with it, open up our minds to receive guidance, inspiration and fulfillment.

However, it should not to be regarded as the only way to grow spiritually but as one of the instruments of the path. Meditation is a powerful tool that we can use to develop ourselves, refine ourselves, and ultimately learn the truth about ourselves. It is simply a tool for spiritual growth and its value is this: If you look into your heart and mind deep enough and long enough to break down the walls of earthly conditioning, you are then able to discover truth and peace. If meditation is practiced only for the physical benefits that it offers or the illusions of enlightenment without awakening the spiritual nature then the transformation of mind, body and soul is not possible. Because meditation carries consciousness down to a deeper level, which allows you to touch your own center and hence transforms you completely. Reaching this level of consciousness grants you access to knowledge of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms.

It connects you to your body, and allows you to become very sensitive to its tensions, aches and pains. It purifies and invigorates your body over time. By calming down the body, you begin to receive information about what your body needs - more sleep, a better diet, exercise program, more leisure, etc. You learn to respect your body's signs, signals, aches and pains, which builds trust between you and your body. You will no longer force your body beyond its limits.

It also calms your emotions without rejecting or repressing them. It tunes you to your feelings in a way, which is very enlightening and transformative. It will help you embrace your feelings, understand your emotions and help you learn a great deal about yourself. For your feelings and emotions are the doorways to your intuitive knowledge - the source to your well being.

It calms the rational mind. If you happen to obsess over a situation or a problem without reaching a wise conclusion, a ten-minute session of deep meditation will put everything into perspective. Sometimes the answers or solutions will come without any effort at all.

The final layer can give you the deep knowledge of who you really are spiritually. It helps you to access the deepest part of your being. At this level of awareness, you can penetrate the deepest mysteries of your life, cultivate wisdom and grow in spirit. When you calm your body, quiet your thoughts, temper your emotions, you automatically elevate yourself to the spiritual plane of knowing. Because all barriers - mind, body and emotions are pacified and therefore the voice of your soul is able to penetrate your consciousness.