There are different forms of meditation in every religious tradition and practically in every denomination of each religious tradition. In order for any of them to be effective, what is most important is our sincerity and the willingness to really absorb ourselves in that particular process. Some meditate on a silent mantra, some on a particular form, some on a particular prayer, some on a virtue, some on the breath, some on the different sensations of the body and some on the name of God, which is considered very divine and holy.
All these meditations are meant to purify our heart and bring our mind to its natural condition. Our consciousness is inherently pure, eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. But somehow or other it has been covered by and adulterated by so many misconceptions, so many desires, so many longings, so many anxieties about what we want and what we don’t want “I am a man, I am a woman; I am American, I am South American, I am Indian, I am Pakistani, I am Russian, I am African”— all of these are bodily conceptions. We are so much consumed by these things and it is all mixed into our consciousness. If we filter our mind through meditation or any genuine spiritual practice, it brings our consciousness back to its original state, which is pure.
Another example is a mirror. When you look into a mirror, you see yourself. But what if that mirror has been neglected for hundreds of years? There are layers and layers of debris, dust, dirt and filth. And when you look into that mirror, all you see is the dust and the dirt that is accumulated, and all that you think is “This is me!” But when you clean the mirror, little by little you start seeing the image of yourself. And when the mirror is actually clean, you see who you are. Meditation is for that purpose; prayers are for that purpose; spirituality is for that purpose: to cleanse our heart, to cleanse our life-style so that we can actually directly experience our own essence, which is eternal, full of knowledge and full of love.
— Radhanath Swami