Articles about the benefits of meditation appear frequently in a variety of news services and magazines. The benefits include a decrease in anxiety, a greater ability to focus, and happiness. One article I read recently talked about how meditation was used in a school to create a quiet time. Students were scored on various behaviors, they were graded, and different classes competed with each other for trophies.
While these results might be important on one level, there is another, more important side to meditation that the articles often fail to express. The purpose of meditation is self-realization. The practice of meditation has the potential to reveal who we are and connect us to the essence of our identity. Ultimately we realize God within us and that God is within other human beings. This changes our relationship to others and to the world in which we live. Meditation, when practiced over a long period of time, changes our values. I often wonder if this is the kind of change that schools, businesses, and many individuals are looking for. Can self-realization be achieved if the intention is modifying classroom behavior or making more money? Much depends on our purpose, our motivation and where we are setting our intention.
The practice of meditation is usually combined with other spiritual practices to assist us in developing a moral perspective on life. Meditation and a moral lifestyle work synergistically to help us grow in wisdom and understanding. Hopefully, at some point, these practices make their way into our schools and businesses too!