While I could clearly improve my awareness and intuition through meditation, I want to improve my problem solving skills, not giving up attitude, analytical skills and interpersonal skills. Can meditation help me in this and how should I go about meditating for this?
Wanting to improve and having expectations is in Buddhism seen as the cause of suffering. Meditation can't help you to gain your goals, but you learn how to be content with the way things already are. As a side effect you become a better person and have a better attitude, but this is not the goal of meditation. The goal of (Buddhist) meditation is insight.
There is something that you and I can learn from Buddha when it comes to inter-personal dynamics. Whenever Buddha, welcomed questions, he was also open to any queries of argumental nature and debates. He viewed the questioner as one who was intent on learning, even if the exchange of words was heated, and therefore led to a positive result. Even those listening to such debates learnt from it.
So meditation alone will not help you achieve all of those lofty goals that you have set for yourself, but if you study the Dhamma found in the scriptures and apply them to your life you will achieve all of your aims and more.
In Supreme Buddha’s dispensation, until we become Stream Entrants (Sotha-Aapanna), we have to be in the company of others. Even after they attained spiritual heights, Buddha advised the monks to return to society to be in service for the benefit of others. This is another reason for Buddha to refuse Devadatta’s five proposals as he did not want to make monks lead totally secluded lives.
In the Parabhava Sutta and Vasala Suttas for instance show how to perform one’s duties and responsibilities to others and maintain positive social relationships. Practicing these principles helps one to realize one’s self-worth that is necessary for all positive social relationships.
There’s a series of meditations called guardian meditations, which are very helpful in using skillful perceptions to get the mind in the right mood, in the right attitude, with the right understanding, as you come into the present moment.
In order to love others one ought to love oneself first. That is why the Loving Kindness meditation starts with oneself. One wants to be happy, safe and live long as much as others. So in Loving Kindness meditation one meditates thinking “May I be free from suffering... free from ill will... free from anger… may I be happy… free from hostility and trouble and live happily.” Thereafter, one can meditate thinking “May those who are known to me, those who need my assistance, those who are indifferent to me, those who hate me, also be happy, free from sorrow and suffering.” A person who is unhappy, jealous and stressed will never make positive relationships with others, but one who cultivates the four brahma‐viharas, develop healthy inter-personal dynamics.
When the Buddha talked about goodwill in the brahma‐viharas, it wasn’t ordinary, everyday goodwill. It was goodwill all around, without limit. A person who cultivates social emotions like love (metta), compassion (karuna), joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha) will find the defiling emotions like ill-will and hatred cease to exist. In their turn compassion or Karuna, will make one active and happy since it means attending to the needs of others.
In Singalovada Sutta, the Buddha was told by Sigala that one should worships six directions. Six directions according to the Buddha were, as he advised Singala… East Parents (when one is a son or daughter); South Teachers (when one is a pupil); West wife (When one is a husband); North friends (When one is also a friend); Up Clergy (When one is lay person); and Down Employer (When one is an employee).
Then in order to not get upset from the eight vicissitudes of life, you can practice Equanimity meditation (Upēkshā Bhāvanā). One who practices equanimity will not mourn when sufferings and troubles come. Upekkhā meditation can be cultivated in Mahaggata Chētō Vimukkti and Appamānha Chētō Vimukkti methods similar to the Mettā and Mudita meditations.
One can cultivate Muditā meditation [Altruistic-joy meditation (Muditā Bhāvanā)] to get rid of discontent about wholesome actions. The happiness we feel about others’ progress/wellbeing is Muditā. One can thrive with money, lands, vehicles, and so on by earnest and righteous livelihoods. If we can be happy by seeing such development of others without getting angry about it, it is Muditā.
Benefits of practicing the loving-kindness meditation are clearly shown in the Mettānisansa Sutta in Anguttara Nikāya. Those benefits are: Sleeps well; Wakes up well; Does not dream nightmares; Becomes likable to humans; Becomes likable to ghost beings; Gets protected by divine beings; Does not come any harm from poisons or weapons; Can attain concentration quickly; Gets his/her body colorful/bright; Dies consciously; Will be born higher plains.
Then lastly you can apply the same method that Buddha wanted us to use when learning Dhamma, when doing other studies. Learning is a gradual process. The Supreme Buddha said that his method is gradual training, gradual action and gradual practice. Methodology of learning:
It starts with careful listening with full attention (Suthaa).
Then what he has heard has to be registered in the mind (dhathaa).
The next step is to familiarize himself with what has learned by reciting (vacasa paricita).
Then it has to be internalized with pondering over it, contemplating the meaning by applying it to yourself. (Manasaanupekkhitha)
The next step is practicing what one has learned to become a real know-er of the teaching - The realization. It is the result of the above 4 actions. (Ditthiya Suppatividdha)