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Mastering the Mind through Meditation

 
By B.S.
 
Buddha observed that all human beings sought happiness. He also couldn’t help but notice that nearly every human failed to achieve any kind of lasting contentment. Out of compassion, he invited all to investigate his teachings. All of which were devised to help one develop the mind, through various methods, in the hope of finding true nirvana – the highest and most perfect peace. The most powerful of those methods was that of meditation, which is taking responsibility of one’s own mind and changing it for the better. According to both Buddha and Buddhism, meditation was the only real antidote to mitigate personal sorrow, anxiety, fear, hatred, regret or any of the other negative emotions which prevented ‘sentient’ or thinking beings from being at peace.
 
Meditation is thought to be the best means by which one can transform his or her mind from hateful to harmonious. This can be achieved by practicing meditation techniques that develop concentration, create clarity of thought, instill calmness, and breed a more positive way in which to view all things. It is said that through regular sessions of meditation it is possible to learn the patterns and ways of one’s own mind. Once the ways of your mind are mastered, it is then possible to alter or change the patterns in which it ponders, to cultivate a more positive outlook on all aspects of one’s being.
 
Bending the Brain
The human mind has been likened to that of a wild stallion, rebellious, full of energy, and impossible to control. So how does one alter an unmanageable mind to the point where it can remain focused and not wander off to the next random thought? Once again, the answer is through meditation and the stilling or slowing down of the mind’s thought process. Apparently the trick to successful meditation is not to prevent the mind from thinking but rather to focus its thoughts on something that is agreeable or pleasant. In other words, conjure up something in which the mind can be completely immersed and not easily distracted.With patience and perseverance, the result of regular meditation is said to lead to a more peaceful, creative and positive state of mind. In fact, science tells us that brain waves are actually changed during meditation. This change restructures the neurons through which all thought is transformed into action – the result being a better functioning brain. A more focused mind,more insightful ways in which to solve problems and reduced stress, and perhaps a path that leads to a better and more meaningful way of life.
 
A Mindful Retreat
In the Kingdom of Thailand, Buddhism has played a significant role in the Siamese way of life for over a thousand years. The wat, (the Buddhist temple)is the epicenter of all things Buddhist. It is where Thais gather to worship and hear sermons and where they go for sage advice on family matters. It is also a learning center for children, a repository for folk medicine and its lore, and a place of meditation. It is to the wat where Thais travel to modify their minds by way of meditation. Many of Thailand’s temples offer courses, classes, and extended retreats in which the art of mastering the mind is instructed. One need not be a Buddhist to participate and foreigners are welcomed with a smile. Buddha’s teachings are thought to be priceless so no monetary remuneration is expected for a few hours of insight on the methods of meditation, although donations are gratefully accepted.
 
Depending on the customs of the Thai wat or meditation center, the manner of instruction, available programs, and the learning environment will differ … some drastically. At many wats meditation is a group activity whilst others allow individuals to create and follow their own schedules.  If your goal is to ease the brain’s burden, improve concentration,mentally sharpen your athletic ability, or simply transform your mind from tortured to tranquil, then why not treat yourself to a reflective retreat at one of Thailand’s numerous wats or meditation centers.