Meditation is more than a method of mental relaxation. It is a way of enhancing our lives and enriching our existence. It opens the way to contemplation, reflection, and inner peace – and it teaches us who we are underneath all the layers of thought and perception. Here are ten reflections from teachers past and present, on the power of the meditative mind.

1. Meditation frees us from our own selves.

Deepak Chopra: Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there—buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.

2. Meditation puts us in touch with a greater self-awareness.

Swāmī Rāma: If you learn to go beyond the jabbering of your mind, and can go to the deeper aspects of your consciousness, then body, breath, and mind will not come in your way.

3. Meditation prepares us for the changing nature of the mind.

Eknath Easwaran: At the beginning of every winter people are careful to install storm windows. These extra panes of glass protect their houses against the bitter winds. We do something very similar to protect our minds through the practice of meditation.

4. Meditation stays with us long after our practice is complete.

Sri Chinmoy: The peace of mind that we get from meditation does not fade away. It lasts for good in some corner of the inmost recesses of our aspiring heart.

5. Meditation calls our minds to the exact present moment.

Peter Matthiessen: The purpose of meditation practice is not enlightenment; it is to pay attention even at extraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-in-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.

6. Meditation helps us clarify our ways of thinking.

Author Unknown: Meditation does not answer the questions of the mind, but it dissolves the very mind which creates many questions and confusion in our life.

7. Meditation changes us from the inside out.

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana: The you that goes in one side of the meditation experience is not the same you that comes out the other side.

8. Meditation gives purpose to our efforts.

Jiddhu Krishnamurti: Meditation is not a means to an end. It is both the means and the end.

9. Meditation opens the door to inner calm and introspective peace.

Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati: Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.

10. Meditation encourages compassion, kindness, and patience.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: Meditation is a flower and compassion is its fragrance.