How can I become more spiritually aware? Is there anything that I can do to facilitate my spiritual growth? The time-honored advice in answer to these questions is meditate. But what exactly does this mean, I used to wonder. What is meditation? I was bothered by this question for a long time before I finally decided to devote the time to realize a deeper answer than what I then understood. I had had some vague notion of meditation involving setting aside some time each day to be still and quiet my mind but I had always felt unsatisfied with this shallow understanding. I’m a person who likes depth. And for me, this idea of meditation was too broad and too thin to be meaningful to me. It seemed only to give way to more questions such as well what does it mean to quiet the mind? And does quieting the mind mean I’m supposed to try not to think? And how would not thinking even be possible? And even if not thinking was possible, where was I supposed to find the massive amount of inspiration that I was sure would be necessary to motivate me to repeatedly subject myself to (even temporarily) live in such a state? Life without thought sounded mind-numbingly dull and uninteresting to me. If this was what meditation involved, I saw no hope for my taking a serious interest in it no matter how time-honored the advice was. To my relief, however, I eventually came to realize that “being still and quieting the mind” actually has nothing to do with a cessation of thought.

In meditation the objective is to take your focus off of any thought which is colored by memory (past experience) or tainted by expectation (future speculation) and simply be present. Meditation is not about ridding the mind of all thought, but rather about ridding the mind of all destructive thoughts (thoughts polluted by the consideration of past and future as true features of reality). Meditation is about changing the terms of your thinking as opposed to trying to suspend all thinking. When you commit yourself to not bringing along, but instead setting aside, limitation, this is meditation. And it is by abandoning your preconceived notions, that you set aside limitation. It is by abandoning your expectations, that you set aside limitation. It is by abandoning your labels and suppositions and simply observing reality without bias and without attempting to usurp control over whatever is before you, that you set aside limitation. And it is only when you do set aside limitation that you then enter into the meditative state. This state effectively creates an unbound, uncluttered space where You (the Spirit) may consciously commune and communicate with you (the personality). It provides the space for a meeting of yourselves (so to speak). The only thing that is required of you in meditation is that you give yourself over to freethinking. In meditation you must assume nothing, lay aside all memory and drink in your present experience as if everything is completely brand new to you. In short, you must be present. You must, for a moment at least, stop dragging around your baggage of past hurts, past regrets and present moment measuring sticks based on past experiences; you must, for a moment at least, stop formulating your laundry list of worries about the future, hopes about the future and present moment measuring sticks based on future expectations; you must, for a moment at least, simply let be and allow whatever may be to be. This is meditation.

It doesn’t matter what the subject of your meditation is, the objective is always the same. Whether you choose to meditate on your breath, on an idea, on an object, on a sound, on whatever, all subjects of meditation invariably lead to the same unbound, uncluttered space where You (the Spirit) may consciously commune and communicate with you (the personality). The subject of your meditation is merely a starting focal point, one of countless currents that flow into the same infinite expanse. When meditation is the method used to reach this expanse, the objective is to be present with your chosen idea, or to be present with your chosen object, or to be present with your breath or to be present with whatever have you. Just be present. This is meditation. Just be present.

Author's Bio: 

Evette Gardner is an author of spirituality topic ebooks. She currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. You can read more of her articles on her web site and blog.