For me, this is an essential practice; part of being me – which is the process of becoming me,the most important pleasure in life.
Now I have said that, I am not sure how to follow it up, since I have summed things up so nicely. But perhaps I can add a few words anyhow.
Perhaps my mind is not typical, but it tends to go out of control easily, and I have to watch it carefully all the time. I am aware of an implicit division of mind as I say this – part of my mind is watching the rest of my mind. This is a skill one learns in meditation – you watch your mind play tricks on itself.
This is not a difficult technique, as non-meditators seem to think, nothing could be simpler – but as you quickly find out, not-thinking is very difficult. But very beneficial; because releasing the mind from useless chatter allows it to do deep non-verbal thinking that can surface later as insights. It can also be seen as detox – all the garbage floats to the top of the mind where it can be released.
The meditation technique I am referring to here is Vipassana Meditation. From Wikipedia:
Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (विपश्यना, Sanskrit, Tib. ལྷག་མཐོང་, lhaktong; Wyl. lhag mthong) in the Buddhist tradition means insight into the true nature of reality. A regular practitioner of Vipassana is known as a Vipassi (vipaśyin). Vipassana is one of the world’s most ancient techniques of meditation, which was introduced by Gautama Buddha. It is a practice of self-transformation through self-observation and introspection to the extent that sitting with a steadfast mind becomes an active experience of change and impermanence. In English, vipassanā meditation is often referred to simply as “insight meditation”.
I must add a disclaimer. Skill at doing this does not necessary make one a good person or even a wise one. It is just a valuable skill that has to used with other skills. It is not the “magic bullet” that most seem to crave.
For me, its benefits are simple – I get acquainted with myself, the most important person in my life.