How Meditation Changed My Life | Mamata Venkat | TEDxWayPublicLibrary



Mamata Venkat wants to empower people to unplug from their gadgets and inspire them to start working on themselves as much as they do their jobs. She will discuss the interaction between our internal and external development using her practice of meditation to exemplify how success in either does not have to come at the cost of the other.

A Perrysburg native, Mamata Venkat is a 2014 graduate of Wright State University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a Minor in Spanish. After an internship with the United Nations’ NGO Committee on the Status of Women, she decided to return to Dayton to achieve her lifelong passion of working in the healthcare field. She is currently pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certification at Wright State, with the aspiration of working in public health. Mamata is also employed with the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and is a certified meditation instructor.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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28 thoughts on “How Meditation Changed My Life | Mamata Venkat | TEDxWayPublicLibrary

  1. Mamata,  I am so happy that you have benefits from the meditation practice you are using.  I hope will consider practicing Transcendental Meditation.  TM requires no mental or intellectual struggles at all–it is completely effortless and only takes 20 minutes, twice a day.  Transcendental Meditation will never ever be described at hard–not ever.  Again it is absolutely effortless, but yet gives very profound benefits on all levels–health, mind and emotions.

  2. Meditation is NOT about stopping your thoughts. In fact doing so is nothing but repressing them, and is harmful. Meditation is about accepting the present moment for whatever it happens to be( happy, sad, painful, blissful, anything) while remaining in a relaxed state of attention. It's about self-knowledge, it's about learning how desire/craving and aversion make us suffer.

    It's true that during meditation sometimes thoughts will slow down, and sometimes they will stop, however that is not the goal or the point. It does feel good sometimes though, when the mind is without thought, it can be peaceful. Desiring that state every time you meditate is counter-productive though, and not the correct way to proceed. You should meditate without expectation or any goal in mind. (At least during your session!)

    Meditation is an unfolding process, one which bestows many benefits, and effects, and may cause various possible states, but the real goal is to reduce and eliminate suffering. This is obtained through a combination of mental training, which is achieved by concentration (Shamatha) and through self-knowledge (Vipassana). Note that varieties of meditation are endless, some are focused on concentration, others on self-knowledge and insight, while others focus on compassion. (Metta) There are tons of varied techniques, and styles of meditation, but they all employ one, or more of these types of meditation.

    Meditation is a tool that teaches us to concentrate. The effects of this ability are numerous. Patience, self-acceptance, all-embracing compassion, joy, greater ability to examine logically, the ability to relax, and when you combine these with the many other advantages, you become a much healthier person.

    Different religions have different instructions, but in the end, there are conditions everyone may experience when pursuing meditation seriously. Some of which I mentioned above. Other's being different mental states which range from Twilight states, Trances, to intense euphoria, also potentially outbursts of sadness, anger, anxiety, fear, and even life-altering beautiful spiritual experiences.

    Keep in mind, Meditation is not always ALL fun and games. It can and will get very difficult. As I said it is a process that unfolds as you continue your training. It's a very good idea to have a support system, a teacher, a sangha, temple, church, group, or some other form of spiritual friend/s.

    This is because meditation can bring out much of our repressed emotions, memories, and thoughts. It can cause confusing mental states, and make us question our self-identity, it can even cause delusion if you delve deep enough into self-inquiry. Many of our most negative mental aspects, and rejected personality traits may even manifest as sorts of demons that haunt and torture us. These demons can be our best teachers, or our worst enemies, depending on how we engage them, they can show us exactly what we most need to work on. (Some refer to this as our shadow self), it is a real, and genuine phenomena. (If you need help with this I advise reading this book: Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict — by Tsultrim Allione)

    Sorry for being long-winded, all I mean to say is if you intend to meditate seriously; for the rest of your life, or for the greater foreseeable future.. you should get a highly experienced teacher, one who is certified by their respective tradition, and one who isn't connected with any known cults, and whose personality agrees with your own. You should also seriously consider joining a group of like-minded people, both online, and in the 'real' world. This helps keep us on the right track and gives us a point of reference for our own progress, and obviously moral/spiritual support.

    Ok, I watched this video, and I noticed this girl mentioned a few thing's about meditation which are misunderstandings or are poorly stated, and I feel they would be harmful to the uninitiated, so I wanted to clarify some things.

    To meditate properly you literally 'just sit there, and relax', you do nothing at all! You simply remain in a relaxed state (mentally, and physically), while simultaneously continuing to refocus your mind back to a focal point. (breath, mantra, prayer, visualization, body sensations, etc) — And here's what is difficult for many people to understand, you apply your willpower as a means to leave your mind alone! It sounds totally impossible, it sounds like telling someone to stand, and sit at the same time.

    This is a skill that must be practiced. You can actually "Force" your mind to cease thinking, but it's counter-productive, it's suppressing thoughts, and is truly painful, and produces stress. It does not result in meditation improvement… Well, it teaches you one more thing not to do!

    The goal of meditation isn't to obstruct thinking, it just happens to simply be one possible result of many! the goal of meditation is to stop chasing your thoughts in circles. We do it all day long. Just like a dog chasing its tail. To genuinely practice you want to let your mind continue to do it's thing; while simultaneously being detached from those things. Mental phenomena come, and they go, the same is true of thoughts, perceptions, ideas, sensations, itches, pain, impatience, emotions, hunger, thirst, anything that arises in the mind. I do not recommend ignoring hunger, and thirst obviously!

    Some traditions refer to this unruly mental state as "Monkey Mind". When the 'monkey mind' has been tamed, the mind will continue thinking, feeling, etc.. It's simply that you are no longer enamored with these events, you become detached from them. You gain control over your mind, this control originates from no longer being dominated by it, or dragged around by it.

    I keep calling it being in control, but it's actually the contrary; it's letting go of thing's like control, you naturally: "let things be". You learn to leave the mind alone, you stop automatically interacting with thoughts, and only interact with the mind on your terms. It all sounds very contradictory, but once you practice a good bit you will begin to understand.

    The best way I can describe it is that you become disenchanted with thoughts, ideas, concepts, and views. You gain the ability to place your attention; focus, and concentration anywhere you fancy.

    further explained…

    Let us assume that your mind is the ocean, and your uncontrolled attention which follows every thought, emotion, memory, and impulse are the waves on that ocean, a feeling of movement, and turbulence.
    Abruptly, or sometimes progressively, when meditation is done correctly it would feel as if you are sailing a boat in the middle of that ocean, surrounded by all those waves, (even in a hurricane!) all the while remaining completely untouched by the waves, totally at peace; and only interacting with the waves you choose to interact with. The nature of meditation is acceptance, relaxation, gently sustained concentration, compassion, Metta(love), peacefulness, and equanimity.

    In Buddhism, this is described by "The Four Sublime States", Google the phrase.

    To Conclude.

    — Monkey mind manifests as aforementioned unruly movement in the mind, where you are constantly being pulled around by your mind, and absorbed by it's content, always distracted, lost in thoughts of the past, the future, and with your emotions all over the place, changing each time you're pulled along by the next thought, and the next, and the next.

    — Tamed mind manifests as Unblemished Tranquillity, Serene Motionless Silence, and Relaxation, (Even whilst encompassed by chaos!) and with full restraint over where your attention goes.

    The further on your spiritual/meditative journey you travel, the more you realize that the flow of the mind is what creates being(or not being). It creates us, them, here, now, … Duality. You begin to realize that all is a fiction. The fiction of the mind begins to unravel before your eyes, and all the burden of the world drops off your shoulders, and off your heart. Your heart becomes light, unencumbered, joyous, peaceful, understanding, loving, and even humorous!

    The hard part is overcoming our karma, and working tirelessly to extinguish the flames of karma that cloud us from our true essence. We can experience our essence occasionally on the path, but we must work to sustain it. We have much karma to overcome before we reach 'the end'. — it's arduous work, but it's also worth every second spent.

    On the Buddha's deathbed, he told his closest friends: "Become Islands unto yourselves, become a lamp unto oneselfs."

    An island shelters not only you, but also all those around you, and a light dispels the darkness of ignorance not only for oneself; but also for all those around you.

    🙂

  3. Fantastic. You speak with great clarity and conviction.

    Summary:
    The most important thing is knowing ourselves. We get distracted so much in this tech era, it has become very difficult to give our mind rest. Meditation exactly does that. It enables us to understand ourselves better which in turn creates clarity and hence gratitude, appreciation & joy.

    Someone can start with watching this video twice daily .

  4. Does meditation let us to control our emotions? Or will it just KILL all emotions? Just like we don't have any kind of emotions or feelings anymore? Someone please answer.

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