If i realise anatta will it help me calm and focus my mind in meditation? If so how?
Eliminating self-view (first realisation of Anatta) is the pre-requisite becoming a Sotapanna. There is two type of meditation. (Samatha and Vipassana) Realisation of Anatta is not required for Samatha meditation. However, in Vipassana we contemplate on the Anatta.
My personal opinion is that realisation of Anatta will help both meditations.
Having some insight into anatta, even if it is intellectual, can help calm the mind because the anatta realisation subdues 'self-thinking', which is the cause of suffering & coarse discursive thoughts & emotions.
As a practise preliminary to formal meditation, it was taught:
Develop the meditation that is the perception of impermanence. For from developing the meditation that is the perception of impermanence, whatever 'I am’ conceit there is will be given up.
MN 62; MN 118
MN 62 is an example of where anatta was taught prior to formal (anapanasati) meditation. Here, the Buddha's son, Rahula, was instructed to reflect & discern how the physical body is composed of many natural elements (dhatu) rather than is a 'self'.
Therefore, developing a penetrative initial understanding of anatta, such as taught in MN 62, is a common Buddhist practise. However, it requires dedicated mental application & reflection.
Tanhā Jālinī Sutta, (Vicarita) Tanha Sutta shows most speculation about self and other lead to craving. The objective of meditation is to reduce craving, hence lack of craving helps you. Craving is linked to Sensual Pleasures which is also a Hindrance. Reducing hindrances also help calm your mind and meditate.
Not only anatta, all three characteristics: anicca , dukkha and anatta if one realize will definitely help. Depend on the personality and past deeds, one will come to know through insight meditation, the true nature of these three characteristics and get enlightened. If one have much more dukkha, he/she will suffer great difficulty to get through the severe pain during meditation. Enlightenment through truly realizing Anicca is smooth and just to know what is what. In case of anatta, it is more and more subtle.
“Anatta” can be interpreted in a different way, that is different to the long-held meaning of ‘No-self’. Here I will give my take on it. Many will not agree with it, but what matters is that this view will greatly help you calm and focus your mind in meditation. Is it not what you want here? Or do you want to get hooked up in the ‘Anatta’ that almost every book refers to? Let me give you some food for thought. If what you realize is “no-self”, then tell me, who attains Nibbana?, if you are “no-self”, then who does moral or immoral acts?
So instead take this to mean ‘Anatta’, and if you do, it will make an immediate transformation in the way you see things. Take “Anatta” to mean “one is really helpless in this rebirth process” or “one is not in control over the long run”. What got translated to Sanskrit as “anathma” is the Pali word “Anatta”. For the Sanskrit word “anathma” the English gave the meaning “no-self”. Another question for you – what did the Buddha say about the two words “aathma” and “anaathma” in the Brahmajala sutta?
Whatever you say and do, unless you are an Arahant, you will always have the inner perception (sanna) of a “me”. There is no way that you can force yourself to believe in a no ‘me’.
So, when meditating, try contemplating that “there is nothing fruitful to be had in this world in the long run”, or “one is really helpless in this rebirth process”. In our native language, we say “anaatha” to mean that one is “utterly helpless”. When meditating, take real examples from your life. If you do this for some time, in time your cravings for things in this world will gradually wane.