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Meditation in Buddhism is a way of "familiarizing the mind".

Familiarizing it with what, and why?
The Buddha explains that we all aspire to experience happiness and avoid suffering and that it is possible to fulfil these legitimate aspirations shared by all living beings by taking control of our mind. Meditation plays a crucial role in this process.

When we observe our mind, it becomes apparent that some of our thoughts are sources of calm and happiness while others make us unease, anxious, agitated, in short - unhappy.

Meditation allows us to first come to understand precisely how our mind functions by self-observation, and then work on reducing and eventually removing its faults and imperfections by reflection on their disadvantages and cultivation of their contraries. Parallel to this we work on familiarizing our mind with realistic and constructive thoughts that are sources of well-being, and thereby develop its infinite potential.

Moreover, meditation is the sole means to travel along the stages of the path that lead to liberation from suffering in all its forms and culminate in complete enlightenment.

For this the Buddha taught two kinds of meditation; and in both cases the object is always an “inner” one (a mental image or process), never an external one:

Their functions:

 concentration meditation ensures mental stability and clarity; 

 analytical meditation ensures depth of understanding and feeling.