We want to be happy all the time, even during sleep. How can we do this?
We can do this through training in meditation because meditation makes our mind peaceful, and when our mind is peaceful we are happy all the time, even if our external conditions are poor.
On the other hand, when our mind is not peaceful we are not happy, even if our external conditions are excellent. We can understand this through our own experience. Since the actual method to make our mind peaceful is training in meditation, we should apply effort to training in meditation.
Meditation is a mind that is single-pointedly focused on a virtuous object and whose function is to make the mind peaceful.
A virtuous object is anything that when we concentrate on it makes our mind peaceful and induces a positive frame of mind. We might for example meditate on the preciousness of our human life, love, compassion, patience or deeper objects such as ultimate truth emptiness.
In Buddhism meditation is regarded as the principal tool for personal development. It enables us first to understand our mind and then to begin to control it.
Although we usually begin with a short breathing meditation the main meditation consists of contemplation followed by single pointed meditation.
These are practical meditations that do more than just relax the mind, they put us in charge of our life.