The meditative state is hard to describe, some would go so far as to call it impossible to put into words. I’ve described meditation as the:
cultivation of conscious awareness of the present moment, as it is.
That is indeed a good description of the process of meditation, but the meditative state needs perhaps a slightly developed definition. First of all, it is not feasible to know how each individual experiences his or her meditation. It is in that sense, quite individual and subjective. However there are sufficient accounts of people reaching meditative states to say certain things without much hesitation.
Having said that, here below are some points which can be suggestive that you’re in the meditative state.
- You start losing the sense of time and space. Everything that previously was distinct somehow becomes unified.
- Personal and psychological thoughts become redundant and you effortlessly start noticing them less and less. The power of the egoic self, that’s always planning, strategizing and commenting, starts diminishing in other words.
- You start feeling more like presence instead of a person localized in time and space. You even start identifying with this presence more than your thoughts and the monkey-mind that constantly jumping around in your psyche.
- You start becoming more aware of a bigger space, a space which is independant of thoughts and perhaps even the physical body. Here is where it becomes spiritual.
- A subtle yet undeniable sense of peace, contentment and even ecstasy starts becoming more actual in your consciousness.
There are many and varied benefits to meditation, ranging from the physical, mental and emotional to the spiritual and more subjective. While some of these benefits can be backed by science, as in the example of less stress, anxiety, depression, pain and more emotional stability, focus, improved sleep, other benefits are more individual and subjective. Although many of the science backed benefits can start becoming more apparent to you when you start meditate regularly, the spiritual and subjective benefits are often the most viable markers to show whether your meditation is actually working.
Daniel Seeker is a wandering dervish and lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized deep relaxations of the psyche when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realizaton. Daniel currently studies history and philosophy at Uppsala Universitet, as he is currently writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist, Yogic and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.