Meditation Techniques That Work
Most beginner classes in meditation begin with the instructor telling you to sit in the “proper” position and begin concentrating on your breathing. The intention is to block out your usual flow of thoughts so you can get into the meditation “zone”.
This method of meditation may work for some, but most people find it far too difficult to “block” out their thoughts and as a result they become discouraged and give up trying to meditate.
The fact is, it’s impossible to “stop thinking”. You’d have to die to succeed, and that is most assuredly not the goal of meditation!
Instructors fail to tell students that the goal of meditation is not to eliminate thought, but to calm the constant chatter in our head which distracts us from simply “being there” and existing in the present moment.
Meditation is Easier Than You Think!
There are many meditation techniques, one being Creative Visualization. CV instructs you to think of imaginary places and events. That method can be extremely powerful in helping you to manifest your goals and desires. Other techniques such as TM (or Transcendental Meditation) helps one to become calm and to focus the mind for the benefit of the individual (and even others).
There are many schools and many methods of Meditation, but the irony is that the very act of having to study a method can thwart your progress. In other words, learning how to meditate can easily become a task that defeats the entire purpose. Meditation should not be work.
We Meditate Without Even Knowing We Are Meditating
I would venture to guess that most people have succeeded in experiencing a meditative state even when they are not trying to meditate. That is, in fact, the key….”not trying”. For example, if you become engrossed in a task, or a book, or a hobby that you enjoy and you fail to hear someone calling you from the next room, you are experiencing meditation.
When we look up from our desk and stare at a pleasant scene out the window, we often go into a mild “dreamy” state where our eyes become slightly unfocused. Sometimes a burst of sunshine or a melody will trigger that simple meditative state.
Is Your Method of Meditation Working For You?
If you become absorbed in playing a musical instrument or you are captivated by a movie, you are meditating. The mind flows with ease and without effort throughout the experience. Meditation is an act of letting go – of giving up all effort and just letting the present moment be as it is. Everything is good, simply because it is what it is now. How can it be otherwise?
No amount of worrying or planning or pondering is going to change the moment. Change is in the future and right now you are enjoying the present (which just is) by allowing your actions to come naturally.
My advice to those who want to “learn” to meditate is to begin by doing what you love to do and noticing when you are living in the present moment without distraction. If you daydream with unfocused eyes, you are meditating. If you play engaging video games and enter the realm of the game, you are meditating. If you write or paint and discover you’ve missed lunch by four hours, you have been living in the moment and have experienced the power of meditation.
So if your method of meditation is not working for you, perhaps it’s time to change your method. Stop working to get there and enjoy the journey.
“However you try to define meditation, it's not that.”
— Swami Brahmananda