Why meditate? Is it to reach an altered state? Transcend the ego? Find enlightenment? I hate to tell you but the purpose of meditation is to simply develop awareness of the present moment. In focused concentration meditation we are developing awareness of the breath. As we develop concentration amazing things happen in our brain. MRI scans have shown that there is an increased activity of the prefrontal cortex, the executive function of the brain and decreased activity of the amygdala, the fear centre of the brain. As we practice we develop more emotional and cognitive regulation, calmness, better coping skills and less self referencing. What I have personally discovered is that the practice does you. I started off to meditate to relieve stress and over the years I have been given the gift of greater calmness, loving kindness, compassion and equanimity. I never intentionally started out to obtain these qualities. Meditate and be open to the unknown possibilities that may develop.
– Phil Blustein