Meditation Techniques for Effective Meditation
In this article, I will talk about how to meditate effectively, give an example of a specific meditation that you can start practising even today and talk about the correct posture in which your body should stay during the session. Meditation is an effective exercise in relaxation and concentration, which frees your mind from thoughts and anxieties, calms you and puts your account in order. Regular meditation exercises increase your mood, teach you to relax and not respond to stress, help in the fight against bad habits (smoking and alcohol), strengthen your will and character, improve your concentration, memory and intelligence. Most importantly, meditation develops a strong critical ability in you, the ability to look at things around you and also at yourself, soberly and impartially, relieve your perception of the veil of illusions!
Purpose of meditation
There is no magic or magic in meditation. This is just a specific exercise, training, nothing more. The use of meditation is not “opening the third eye” or “comprehending the absolute.” The use of meditation is a healthy body and a healthy mind, peace, harmony, poise and happiness. All that is so lacking in our busy times.
Meditation is not as difficult as it seems. Moreover, I am sure that most of you have already engaged in meditation, in a certain way, and you are even able to evaluate its effect! Surprised? Many of you, when you couldn’t fall asleep for a long time, started counting sheep: one sheep, two sheep … n sheep, until they fell into a dream? At the same time, it was possible to imagine the curly-haired lambs themselves, jumping over the fence, for example. It helped someone. Why do you think so? Because you kept your attention on one thing, thereby stopping thinking about something else. All worries and thoughts left your mind!
And the very monotony of this process calmed you, and you fell asleep! See, no tricks, everything is straightforward. Meditation is based on a similar principle, although this is a very crude and simplified comparison. You concentrate on breathing, on the image or the mantra, thereby calming your mind. But, undoubtedly, the effect of meditation is much broader and deeper than the impact that manifests itself when the sheep count. This practice can give you incomparably more.
Many articles in the domestic Internet segment on this issue overloaded with all esoteric terminology: “chakras”, “energy”, “vibration”.
I believe that such articles do not quite play into the hands of disseminating this, no doubt, effective and practical practice in our country since all these terms can cause bewilderment and scepticism in the average person. All this gives away some sectarianism, for which it is impossible to discern the very essence of meditation. Well, in fact, why do you need to “open the lower chakra” when in reality you just want to learn how to control your emotions, not give in to momentary impulses and mood changes, or get rid of depression?
I look at meditation in a completely different way. For me, this is not a religion, not secret teaching, but entirely applied, if I may say so, discipline, which helped me a lot in my life. She helped me cope with the flaws of my character, addictions, weaknesses. She allowed me to reveal my potential more fully, set me on the path to self-development, and if it weren’t for her, this site would not have existed. I’m sure she can also help you. Anyone can learn meditation. This is nothing complicated. And even if you do not succeed, it will still bring its effect. So let’s get started. If you want to start meditating, follow the instructions.
Take time to meditate
I would recommend meditating twice a day. In the morning for 15-20 minutes and the evening, the same amount of time. In the morning, meditation will put your mind in order, give a boost of energy, prepare it for the beginning of the day, and in the evening it will help relieve tension and fatigue, ease annoying thoughts and worries. Try not to miss a single session. Let meditation become an everyday habit.
I am sure that everyone can allocate 30-40 minutes a day. Many complain about the lack of time and in this fact they can justify why they do not engage in themselves, for example, do not spend time playing sports or do not meditate. Understand that you are not contemplating for someone, but, first of all, for yourself. This is an action aimed at achieving personal happiness and harmony. And this harmony is not so expensive. Only 40 minutes of your precious time! Is this a significant fee?
Similarly, sports aimed at strengthening your health, which is more important than anything else, which everyone always forgets about and pursues the achievement of short-term, short-term goals, rather than global objectives, sacrificing a strategy in favour of tactics. But this is at best. Most often, these 40 minutes, which could spend with great benefit, will go to classes with some nonsense. That is why it is impossible to sacrifice this in favour of something else, less substantial.
The topic of this article is not a sport. But since I’ve started talking about this, I’ll allow myself such a comparison: if exercise is the health of your body, then meditation is the health of your mind. Many underestimate the effect of meditation until they begin to practice it (it was the same with me, I, in general, am a materialist and it was quite difficult for me to start doing something that I associated with religion and some kind of shamanism, but personal problems forced me to try, which I am thrilled now).
If you have only urgent matters, it is better to sleep less and at the same time meditate: since 20 minutes of meditation, according to my personal feelings, replace the same amount of sleep time, or even much more, since you are resting and relaxing. If only you have very, very little time and, besides, you have little sleep, or it’s challenging for you to sit idle for 20 minutes, you can try 5-minute meditations. This is a unique technique taught by one of the famous masters of this practice. But I would still recommend meditating for at least 15 minutes for an adult and 5-10 minutes for a child.
Choose a place
Of course, it is better to meditate in a homely and quiet environment. Nothing should distract you. Some do not recommend practising in the room where you sleep. Since, in this case, there is a high probability that you will fall asleep during the session because your brain used to the fact that you are falling asleep in this room.
But if you do not have the opportunity to choose another room for practice, then there will be nothing wrong with the fact that you will meditate in the bedroom. This is not critical. If for some reason, you cannot find a suitable environment for meditation, then this is not a reason to give up the practice. When I just started to meditate, I lived in the suburbs, and I had to ride an electric train to work every day. I practised on the road and, despite many distractions, I was able to relax somehow.
Even meditation amid a crowding crowd can have some effect, so do not neglect it, also if you do not have a quiet place where you can be alone with yourself. Such a situation, of course, is desirable, but not so necessary.
Take the right pose
It is not necessary to sit in the lotus position. The main thing is that the back is straight, and you are comfortable. The end should not be tilted forward or backwards. The spine should form a right angle with the surface on which you are sitting. In other words, it should perpendicularly enter your pelvis. You can sit on some chair; it is advisable not to lean on its back. An even back position is needed to make it easier for you to breathe and better air to pass through your lungs. It is also required to maintain awareness. After all, meditation is a balance on the verge of relaxation and emotional tone. Meditation is not only a relaxation technique, as many people think. It is also a method of observing your mind, a way of developing awareness. And these things require maintaining attention, concentration. This helps the straight back. If you sit upright, the chances that you will fall asleep during meditation reduced. (Therefore, I do not recommend lying down to meditate)
What to do if the back is taut?
During a straight back pose, muscles that not commonly used in life can use. Therefore, the back can strain. This is a training issue. I recommend that you first sit on a chair with a straight back and do not lean it at the end of the chair. Mild discomfort best tolerated without focusing on it. As soon as it is challenging to endure, gently move back and lean your back against the back of the chair, without violating the right position of the spine.
With each new practice session, you will sit longer and longer with your back straight, without leaning against anything, as your muscles will strengthen with time.
Relax your body
Close your eyes. Try to relax your body completely. Direct your attention to tense areas of the body. If this does not work out for you, it’s okay, leave everything as it is.
Direct your attention to the breath or mantra
Close your eyes. Direct your attention to the breath or mantra. When you notice that you have begun to think about something, just calmly return your attention to the starting point (mantra, breath). Avoid attempts to interpret thoughts, emotions, sensations, desires that arise inside. Perceive these things without getting involved in them.
The paragraph above practically contains comprehensive instructions for meditation for those who have just started to practice it. I tried to articulate in it as clearly as possible the essence of what I mean by meditation without any unnecessary things, so as not to complicate anything and maximally convey the meaning of reflection for those who know nothing about it.
But, this instruction needs clarification.
While you are observing breathing, you cannot think of something at the same time (try). Therefore, when you return your attention to breathing, thoughts will go away by themselves. But sometimes, having achieved a right concentration on the breath (mantra), you will be able to observe thoughts from the side, how they come and go, how they float past you, like clouds. And it will seem to you that you are not a participant in this process, you will remain aloof.
But this does not happen right away. This is the next stage of concentration, which you can achieve when you achieve the right level. In the beginning, most likely, you will be constantly distracted by thoughts, and this is normal. As soon as you notice, just return attention to breathing. This is all that required of you, develop concentration.
Getting rid of thoughts can be difficult because the brain used to think always. Getting rid of ideas is not the goal of meditation, as many people think. Your task is simply to observe your breath or concentrate on the mantra calmly.
A modern person receives a lot of information every day: meetings, affairs, worries, the Internet, new experiences. And his brain does not always have time to process this information in the conditions of a fast pace of life. But during meditation, the mind is not busy with anything, so it begins to “digest” this information, and because of this, you get those thoughts and emotions that you did not spend enough time during the day. There is nothing wrong with these thoughts coming.
No need to scold yourself mentally for the fact that you can’t relax or get rid of your thoughts. No need to try to influence the way meditation goes considerably. You just calmly observe what is happening without interfering in it. Let everything go as it should: thoughts do not come well; ideas come too well.
Take the position of a detached observer: do not make any judgments about your thoughts. You should not compare your feelings with how you felt during another meditation or with how you think you should feel. Stay in the present! If your attention is distracted, then calmly, without any thoughts, transfer it again to the starting point.
In general, one should not think: “you need to stop thoughts”, “you need to relax”, “I can’t.”
If you follow these recommendations during practice, then for you, there will be no “right” or “wrong” experiences in a state of meditation. Everything that happens to you will be “right,” only because it happens, and the other cannot happen. Meditation is the acceptance of the existing order of things, the acceptance of one’s inner world as it is.
Of course, one cannot wholly compare meditation with sleep. During her, there is still a small piece of effort. This is a return of attention to the starting point. But this effort is effortless. That is, it is very light. But at the same time, it should have soft perseverance, continually reminding you that your attention has gone to the side. You should not relax to the point where you are throwing everything to chance. A small part of you should try to maintain awareness and control of attention.
This is a very delicate balance between action and inaction, effort and lack of will, little control and lack of control. It is difficult to explain in words. But, if you try to meditate, you will understand what I am talking about.
Even if you cannot stop the so-called “internal dialogue” and you always think about something during meditation, this does not mean that it wasted! All the same, the positive effect of meditation is reflected on you, leave everything as it is, do not try to correspond to any ideas about meditation. Can’t clear your mind of thoughts? Nothing wrong!
We can say that meditation did not work out only if you did not meditate at all!
Your goal is to notice when attention begins to be distracted and not get rid of thoughts.
Therefore, people who think about something all the time during the practice get it effective: they become more focused and better control their thoughts and desires, as they learn to keep their attention on themselves. “I think again, nervous, angry, worried – it’s time to stop.” If earlier, these feelings seemed to pass by you, then practice will help you always to be aware of them, and this is a critical skill. Over time, you will learn to be mindful at any point in your life, and not just during meditation. Your attention will cease to jump from thought to thought always, and your mind will become calmer. But not all at once! Do not worry if the concentration will not work out for you!
What should one concentrate on during meditation?
- Concentrate on breathing: you either just follow your breath, direct your inner gaze to this natural aspect of your life, feel how air passes through your lungs, and how it goes back — no need to try to control your breathing. Just watch him. It must be natural. During meditation, breathing can significantly slow down, and you will feel like you are barely breathing. Let it not frighten you. This is normal.
- Read a mantra mentally to yourself: you say silently repeated prayers in Sanskrit.
- Visualisation techniques: you represent different images: both abstract, like multi-coloured fire (Fire meditation), and quite specific, for example, you can put yourself in an imaginary setting (Healing qigong), inside of which you will feel peace and tranquillity.
If you do not know which of these types of practices to use, then read my article, which meditation technique to choose for yourself or meditate, concentrating on breathing, as I do. I think it’s not so important which meditation you want since each of them based on the same principle.
Although I believe that during meditation, there should be as little information as possible in your head to enable you to observe, the mantra and the picture you visualise are also information. Although the words in Sanskrit help to concentrate, they slightly distract you from observation and occupy your mind with knowledge.
Therefore, I prefer to concentrate on breathing.
What does it mean to concentrate on breathing?
In connection with a large number of questions, I want to clarify this point. Concentrating on breathing means focusing your attention on the sensations in the body associated with breathing: opening and closing of the lungs, movement of the diaphragm, increase and decrease in the abdomen, movement of air in the area of the nostrils. Concentrating on breathing does NOT mean imagining how the air saturates your cells with oxygen, visualising how it is distributed through the channels, etc. Your task is to observe what is, your sensations in the body, without adding anything to this!
The next question is what exactly to concentrate on. On the sensations in the stomach or nostrils? Or should one observe feelings over the entire duration of the movement of air from the nostrils to the abdomen? All these techniques are correct. Experiment with the method and see how concentrating on which particular area of breathing helps you focus, relax, and achieve awareness and clarity (as opposed to drowsiness). The general advice is: if your primary problem is the mind, which is continuously distracted during practice, then concentrate on the abdomen. Observe how it rises and falls, what sensations are present between inhaling and exhaling. Some teachers believe that observing just these sensations “ground” your mind. But if your problem is instead drowsiness, lethargy during practice, then you better concentrate on the feelings in the nostrils. Watch how the air passes through the nostrils, what sensations are present between the upper lip and the nostrils, how the temperature of the sky on inspiration and air on exhalation differ. Also, if drowsiness does not go away, you can slightly open your eyes. But these types of concentration may work differently for different people, so check for yourself what suits you best.
And, of course, I remind you that breathing should not control. I know that it is complicated to do this since breathing is a thing that is very easy to manage. But with practice, it will start to work out. Just watch your breath, leave it as it is.
7 Tips for Meditators
In conclusion, I would like to give some essential tips for those who want to start meditating.
- Do not expect instant results! The effect of meditation does not come immediately. It took me six months to feel the tangible action of the practice, but less time may spend for you. No one can become a guru in a few sessions. Active meditation requires patience and habit. Do not start classes if you do not succeed or you have not achieved the expected effect. Of course, it takes time to make something tangible.
- Nevertheless, some aspects of the action of meditation can become noticeable immediately. But this is from person to person: everyone has a different way. Do not be discouraged if you don’t feel anything and continue to meditate! Practice will not bring many results if you do not work on yourself. Meditation is, in a sense, a tool that helps you work on yourself. One should not look at practice only as a panacea. Do not think that the effect will come to you immediately if you meditate. Analyse yourself, apply the skills acquired during training to life, keep mindful, try to understand what meditation has taught you, and then the result will not belong in coming.
- During the session, do not strain and climb out of your skin to stop thinking. You should not always think about not thinking. Do not get hung up on the fact that you are doing something. Take it easy. Let everything go by itself.
Better not to meditate before going to bed. Try to do meditation at least a few hours before going to bed. Meditation gives a boost of energy and strength, after which it is difficult to fall asleep.
- Pay attention to how much you feel better in the days when you meditate. Over time, you will begin to notice that your mood becomes more elevated after meditation, it is easier for you to concentrate, and in general, you become more relaxed and confident. Compare this to the days when you are not meditating. This will come as you practice and will motivate you to do further.
- It is better not to fall asleep during the session. To do this, keep your back straight. But, even if you fall asleep, then this will not be a big deal. According to Swami Veda Bharati, a Himalayan teacher of meditation, even sleeping during a session will be effective to you in terms of meditative effect.
- Do not eat tightly before and immediately after the session. This is because during and after meditation, the metabolism slows down, which prevents the digestion of food. Also, during practice, the processes of assimilation of food will prevent you from concentrating. And if you are hungry, then before you meditate, you can eat something light so that thoughts about food do not distract you.
- It can get worse at first. If you suffer from depression or other mental illnesses, such as panic attacks and decide to use meditation as an exercise that will help you overcome these conditions, then know that this is a beneficial technique for overcoming depression, fighting nervousness, etc. Thanks to meditation, I got rid of panic attacks, anxiety, sensitivity and bad mood. But it is known that these ailments can temporarily intensify. It was like that with me. But this is not scary. The deterioration was short-lived. And, after some time, everything ultimately passed. Someone says a lousy state at first maybe since a negative comes out. Like it or not, I don’t know, but the fact remains on the face and let it not scare you. Forewarned is forearmed.
Now, perhaps that’s all. In the end, I wish you success. I hope this article has helped you figure out how to meditate effectively, and has helped you to engage in this effective practice in all respects. Do not delay and start today.