To put it simply, the act of meditation involves quieting the mind so you can open the heart. That's it in a nutshell. We often believe our hearts are open and we can feel much of what is going on in our lives. Yet to truly open the heart means we have to stop the thinking, the judging, the opinions, the analyzing, the questioning, the doubting, and just love. It's all that unconditional stuff. The act of doing this, takes practice and patience. Learning to meditate means learning to love. To love our self. To love all others. To love the oneness of all. To love more. The connection you feel when you ‘plug in' to this oneness is the most irresistible state of love you will ever feel. Makes it sound like it's worth the effort doesn't it? Maybe you've had glimpses of this - moments when you felt it, and your heart expanded. The beauty of nature in a spectacular sunset or a magnificent rushing waterfall, a child's innocent embrace, a long awaited accomplishment, an exhilarating sport or excursion, being with the one you love. These can make you 'feel' in the biggest sense of the word. And the feeling can be described as wonderfully peaceful, coupled with a glorious uplifting, a lightening up of the heart. What these experiences all have in common is an external factor. Something had to be there, something had to be seen, in order to involve our senses. These 'things' serve to trigger this feeling. Meditation serves the same purpose. It teaches you to connect with this feeling all on your own, without any outside stimuli. The source of that loving feeling is always within you. But what happens most often is that you don't know how to access it on our own. You wait for the triggers, look for the triggers, and in fact even seek out the triggers, because you believe they are the source. When you quiet your mind, you are closing down the outside stimuli. You are holding the mirror up to yourself, deep within yourself, and waiting to see/feel the love. It's there, but the practice is necessary to learn to wait quietly, build patience, and stroke and nurture your loving heart. Most of us have shy hearts and loud minds, and meditation serves to reverse this so we can truly feel the bliss and the joy and the 'highs 'we so crave in our lives. Now, meditation can be made to be much more complicated than what I have described. There are countless books, tapes, courses and workshops that deal with the core principles of meditation, and then expand upon them. They go into many, many aspects, avenues, theories, understandings, types, etc. It can be quite overwhelming for the beginner. But it's perfect for the intermediate student of meditation. When you are beginning, the less said the better. Keeping it simple is very important, because the process of meditation is so simple. If it's not working, or if you want to know more about it, or you are ready to know more about it, then by all means read, study, learn. It's like taking the same route to the supermarket every day and then finding out there are other ways of getting there, other roads that lead there, other journeys you can take. Study and practice of meditation has the potential to open up many layers of your heart. Everything in your life therefore opens up with it. Relationships bloom, work purpose is found, vibrant health is allowed, because love affects your belief system, your attitudes, your choices. Anger dissolves before it ever manifests, frustration mellows out, the pit of sadness and depression are filled up like never before. These are the promises of meditation. These are the long-term rewards. But in the beginning, meditation is simply quieting your mind so you can open your heart.