The internet is awash with secrets on how to accomplish results in meditation.
Upon clicking through to find what they are one is often confronted with a familiar web template where your promised immediate results if you purchase a CD/DVD with the secrets of the universe in 90 minutes.
Often these sites are littered with advertisements - which gives some meditators who perhaps learnt meditation for free in the East a heavy heart.
Of course the modernized world is fueled by the desire for more stuff so naturally when modern folk get their hands on Meditation it becomes a commodity.
To supposedly make Meditation simpler, easier and quicker we are offered special deals, discounts, bangles, holidays, brainwave music, herb teas etc to help us reach altered states of consciousness.
The paraphernalia and stuff that surrounds the world of meditation can be a big distraction...
Funny really because actual Meditation is an activity of mind and the mind is a formless phenomena i.e you can’t see, smell, hear, taste or touch it.
The intention of this article is highlight how its so easy to miss the point and to direct you to two essential points that will empower your meditation practice.
We have everything we need to commence a meditation practice - a mind, our breath, essential instructions without having to purchase or sign up to anything.
There are two main factors we need to reflect and act upon if we wish to progress in meditation, they are simple and straightforward and do not require you to get your credit card out.
1) To sit down and practice meditation
Yes this one sounds very obvious - but is often overlooked.
The most important aspect of training in meditation is to ‘do it’.
Yes we can read about practices, attend seminars with famous teachers, buy the latest book, purchase a streamlined meditation cushion, build a meditation room... but what if we never sit...?
As the quakers state:
‘Don’t just do something, sit there!’ .
Sit down and practice.
If we can set up a regular daily meditation practice and maintain this over the weeks, months, years, decades, lives then we open the door to gaining experience in meditation.
The second factor is:
2) Bring the mind back to the object of meditation
The second factor - once we have established a regular meditation practice then we need to focus on the task at hand. In our world there is no governing body that checks the quality and instructions that are being handed out by meditation teachers and instructors - as a result there are many misunderstandings about meditation and how to practice.
One of the main misunderstandings is that we can meditate with our senses - by listening to a piece of music or looking at a scenic view this takes us into meditation - no... this is a form of relaxation - great to do - but not meditation.
We can experience deep relaxation by manipulating our senses, but this is not meditation.
Meditation is an activity of mind - its a method for exercising the mind not the body.
The body may well be affected by our meditation practice but that is simply a byproduct of our practice.
Meditation is not spacing or tripping out.
Last weekend I visited a festival briefly for the afternoon in the countryside in the North of England there was a pleasant harmonious atmosphere there. The festival included meditation and techniques for transcending the mundane.
I asked one of the organizers, how is everybody doing” he replied
“oh well its been going ten days now so everyone is really spaced out” .
Correct meditation doesn’t space you out because you are focused on the object of meditation.
When you enter into meditation its essential to have an object of meditation to be focusing on.
Otherwise what are you meditating on?
That object of meditation is what you are going after in meditation.
The simplest instruction for meditation is the breath.
When you engage in a breathing meditation then the object of meditation is the sensation of the breath.
As you sit and practice this meditation its essential to keep a mindful focus on this object.
If your mind becomes distracted and begins to focus on something else then at that time you need to bring your attention back, and keep bringing your attention back to the breath, again and again perhaps 100 times in meditation.
This is training your mind and will strengthen, empower and focus the mind.
If you follow and practice these two points mentioned many good results will arise from your meditation practice.
Bring it all back home to your object of meditation - gather the mind inwards and empowering yourself with concentration.