Research shows that meditation has a lot of great benefits for the body and the mind, such as lowering blood pressure, lowering stress levels, improving the quality of sleep, anti-aging effects and so on. However, there are many different ways and techniques for meditation so finding a simple and practical answer to the question “How to meditate?” can be challenging for many people.
I have practiced many different techniques of meditation. Some meditation methods are smiler to relaxation exercises. In some methods you are encouraged to repeat a mantra to silence the mind. In some other you should breathe in certain ways or visualize certain things. Some teachers encourage you to follow your visions and some teachers say visions are not important. Some techniques encourage to clear your mind from all thoughts and some other encourage you to observe the thoughts like passing clouds in the sky. Although all different techniques seem very different, they all can have great benefits.
Although there are various methods, it is important to know the reason behind a certain technique so you can choose what is best for you. If you want to feel calmer and more focused many of these techniques could be beneficial. However, if you want to practice mastery of the mind you need a technique that does not involve any visualizations or mantras.
But why is it important to gain mastery over your mind and what does it mean? You must have noticed that in many situations you know what is best for you but you end up doing the opposite thing. For example, you know certain foods, drinking or smoking are harmful, you know saying certain things will trigger your loved ones and will hurt them, but you can’t help following the demands of the ego. The condition of human being these days is that for most of us our minds run our life. The mind is a very powerful tool and when its control is in your hand you can achieve great things, but when it is out of control it can be destructive to self and others. Therefore, in my opinion one of the main goals of meditation should be mastery of the mind.
If you want to learn how to meditate in order to improve the mastery of the mind you can practice a simple mindfulness technique with normal breath. You just need to sit in a quiet place. You can set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes. Sit in a comfortable position with your neck and back straight. Then start noticing your breath. Bring your attention to natural breathing and only to your nosetrils. Notice how the air enters your nose and how it leaves your nose. Pay attention to the details of breathing with your eyes closed. As soon as you decide to keep your attention on the breath your mind wonders. All you need to do is to bring your attention back to breathing gently without getting disappointed.
You will find that you have to redirect yourself again and again. You have started training the mind and it is not an easy process. You might start feeling agitated or sleepy. These are all normal reactions because your mind is not used to staying in one place and listening to your orders. Normally the mind runs the show , jumps from one thing to the next without you being able to stop it. while you are meditating you are claiming your power back. If you practice repeatedly your mind will calm down and it will become easier to stay with the breath for longer stretches of time. Over time, you ll experience greater awareness and greater control over the mind. You can increase the time of this practice to 30 or 60 minutes a day. The more you practice, the greater results you will see. And if you want to experience a transformation in your life I suggest that you take a Vipassana course. You will find more information in dhmma.org.