What should one think or concentrate on while meditating?
In this article, I will talk about how to meditate properly , give an example of a specific meditation, which you can begin to do even today and tell about the correct posture in which your body should stay during the session. Meditation is an effective exercise in relaxation and concentration that frees your mind from thoughts and anxieties, soothes you and leads your thinking in order.
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Regular sessions of meditation increase your mood, teach you to relax and not react to stress, help in combating bad habits ( smoking and alcohol ), strengthen your will and character, improve your concentration, memory and intelligence. Most importantly, meditation develops in you a healthy critical ability, the ability to look at surrounding things and, also to yourself, soberly and unbiasedly, relieves your perception of the shroud of illusions!
The Purpose of Meditation
In meditation there is no magic and magic. This is just a certain exercise, training, nothing more. The purpose of meditation is not “the opening of the third eye” or “the comprehension of the absolute.” The purpose of meditation is a healthy body and a healthy mind, calmness, harmony, poise and happiness . All that is so lacking in our tense time.
Meditation is not as difficult as it seems. Moreover, I am sure that most of you have already been meditating, in a certain way, and you are even able to appreciate its effect! Are you surprised? Many of you, when you could not sleep for a long time , began to count the sheep: once a sheep, two sheep … n a sheep, until they sank into a dream? At the same time, one could imagine the curly lambs jumping over the fence, for example. Someone helped. Why do you think? Because, you kept your attention on one thing , thereby stop thinking about something else. All cares and thoughts left your mind!
And the very monotony of this process calmed you and you fell asleep! See, no tricks, it’s all very simple. Meditation is based on a similar principle, although this is a very rough and simplistic comparison. You concentrate on breathing, on the image or on the mantra, thereby calming your mind. But, of course, that the effect of meditation is much wider and deeper than the effect that is manifested when the sheep counts. This practice can give you incomparably more.
Many articles in the domestic segment of the Internet on this issue are overloaded with any esoteric terminology: “chakras”, “energies”, “vibrations”.
I believe that such articles do not quite play into the hands of disseminating this, no doubt, useful and effective practice in our country, since all these terms can cause bewilderment and skepticism in the average person. All this gives away some kind of sectarianism, beyond which it is impossible to discern the very essence of meditation. Well, in fact, why should you “open the lower chakra” when you really want to just learn to own your emotions, not to succumb to momentary impulses and mood changes or get rid of depression ?
I look at meditation quite differently. For me, this is not a religion, not a secret teaching, but rather a discipline that has helped me very much in life, life, ordinary, terrestrial, and not extraterrestrial-spiritual. She helped me cope with the shortcomings of my character, addictions, weaknesses. She allowed me to more fully reveal my potential, put on the path of self-development and if not for her, there would not be this site. I’m sure, she is also able to help you. Any person can learn meditation. In this there is nothing complicated. And even if you do not get it, it will still bring its effect. So, let’s get started. If you want to start meditating, then to start:
Make time for meditation
I would recommend meditating twice a day. In the morning for 15-20 minutes and in the evening the same time. In the morning, meditation will put your mind in order, give a charge of energy, prepare for the beginning of the day, and in the evening will relieve tension and fatigue, relieve boring thoughts and worries. Try not to miss a single session. Let meditation become an everyday habit.
I’m sure that 30-40 minutes a day can be allocated by everyone. Many complain about the lack of time and in this fact can find an excuse for why they are not engaged in themselves, for example, do not spend time for sports or do not meditate. Understand, you are not meditating for someone, but, first of all, for yourself. This is an action that is aimed at achieving personal happiness and harmony . And this harmony is not so expensive. Just 40 minutes of your precious time! Is this a big fee?
Similarly, sports are aimed at strengthening your health, which is more important than anything else, which is constantly forgotten and chasing the immediate, short-term goals, rather than global tasks, sacrifice strategy in favor of tactics. But this is at best. Most often, these 40 minutes, which could be spent with great benefit, will go to classes with some nonsense. That’s why you can not sacrifice this in favor of something else, less significant.
But you can start from 15 minutes a day, if you are a beginner. It is not difficult. I recommend subscribing to my free 5-day meditation course , with which you will be able to master an uncomplicated meditation technique and avoid common mistakes.
The topic of this article is not sport. But, since I talked about this, I will allow myself such a comparison: if physical exercises are the health of your body, then meditation is the health of your mind. Many underestimate the effect of meditation until they themselves begin to engage in it (as it was with me, I’m generally 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 very pleased now).
If you only have urgent business, then it’s better to sleep less and at the same time meditate: as 20 minutes of meditation, according to my personal feelings, replace the same amount of sleep time, and even more, as you relax and relax. If only you have very little time and you, moreover, do not sleep very much, or it is very hard for you to sit around 20 minutes from the beginning, then you can try 5 minute meditations . This is a special technique, which is taught by one of the famous masters of this practice. But I would still recommend meditation for at least 15 minutes for an adult and 5-10 minutes for a child.
Of course, it is better to meditate in a home and quiet environment. You should not be distracted by anything. Some do not recommend practicing in the room where you sleep. Since in that case there is a greater probability that you will fall asleep during the session because your brain is used to the fact that in this room you fall asleep.
But if you do not have the opportunity to choose another room for practice, then it’s okay not to be in that you will meditate in the bedroom. It’s not critical, believe me. If for some reason you can not find a suitable environment for meditation, then this is no reason to give up practice. When I first began to meditate, I lived in the suburbs and I had to go to work every day in the train. I practiced on the road and, despite a lot of distractions, I managed to somehow relax.
Even meditation in the middle of the crowding crowd is capable of giving some effect, so do not neglect it, even if you do not have a quiet place where you can remain alone with yourself. Such a place, of course, is desirable, but not so necessarily.
Accept the correct posture
It is not necessary to sit in the lotus position. The main thing is that your back is straight, and you feel comfortable. The back should not be tilted forward or backward. The spine should form a right angle with the surface on which you are sitting. In other words, he must perpendicularly enter your pelvis. You can sit on some chair, it is desirable not to lean on his back. A steady position of the back is necessary in order for you to breathe easier, and the air passes through your lungs better. It is also required to preserve awareness. After all, meditation is a balance on the verge of relaxation and inner tone. Meditation is not only a relaxation technique, as many people think. It is also a method of observing one’s own mind, a way of developing awareness. And these things require the preservation of attention, concentration. This is helped by a straight back. If you are sitting upright, the chances, that you fall asleep during meditation are reduced. (So I do not advise you to meditate lying down)
What to do if the back is tight?
During a posture with a straight back, such muscles can be used, which are usually not used in life. Therefore, the back can tense. It’s a matter of training. I recommend first to sit on a chair with a straight back and do not lean it on the back of a chair. It is better to tolerate slight discomfort without focusing on it. As soon as it is difficult to endure, gently move back and lean back against the back of the chair, without violating the direct position of the spine.
With each new practice session, you will be sitting longer and longer with your back straight, not leaning it to anything, as your muscles will be strengthened with time.
Relax your body
Close your eyes. Try to completely relax your body. Direct your attention to the tense parts of the body. If you do not get it, do not worry, leave it at that.
Direct your attention to breathing or mantra
Close your eyes. Direct your attention to breathing or mantra. When you notice that you are beginning to think about something, just calmly return your attention to the starting point(mantra, breathing). Avoid attempts to interpret thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires that arise within. Perceive these things without getting involved in them.
The paragraph above practically contains an exhaustive instruction on meditation for those who have just started to practice it. I tried to formulate in it as clearly as possible the essence of what I understand by meditation without any unnecessary things, so as not to complicate anything and maximize the meaning of meditation for those who do not know anything about it.
But, this instruction needs explanations.
While you are watching the breath, you can not at the same time think about something at the same time (try it). Therefore, when you return your attention to the breath, thoughts will go away by themselves. But sometimes, having reached a good concentration on the breath (mantra), you can watch the thoughts from the side, the way they come and go, as they swim past you, like clouds. And it will seem to you that you are not a party to this process, you remain aloof.
But this does not happen immediately. This is the next stage of concentration, which you can achieve when you achieve a good concentration. In the beginning, most likely you will be constantly distracted by thoughts, and this is normal. As soon as you notice this, just return your attention to the breath. This is all that is required of you, develop concentration.
Getting rid of thoughts can be difficult, because the brain is used to thinking constantly. Getting rid of thoughts is not the goal of meditation, as many think. Your task is simply to quietly watch your breathing or concentrate on the mantra.
A modern person receives a lot of information every day: meetings, business, cares, the Internet, new impressions. And his brain does not always manage to process this information in a fast pace of life. But during the meditation the brain is not busy at all, so it starts to “digest” this information and because of this you come to those thoughts and emotions that you did not spend enough time during the day. There is nothing wrong with these thoughts coming.
You do not have to scold yourself for thinking that you can not relax or get rid of thoughts. It is not necessary to try to strongly influence how meditation is conducted. You just calmly watch what is happening, without interfering with it. Let everything go its own way: thoughts do not come well, thoughts also come well.
Take the position of a detached observer: do not make any judgments about your thoughts. Do not compare your feelings with how you felt during another meditation or with what you think you should feel. Stay in the present moment! If your attention is distracted, then calmly, without any thoughts, translate it again to the starting point.
In general, do not think: “you need to stop thinking,” “you need to relax,” “I can not do it.”
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”, simply because it happens and the other can not happen. Meditation is the acceptance of the existing order of things, the acceptance of one’s inner world, such as it is.
(Everyone can remember their fruitless attempts to fall asleep, if you try to force yourself to fall asleep and think about it constantly (“I need to fall asleep”, “I can not fall asleep – how terrible”), then you will not get it, but if you just relax and let go of the desire to asleep as soon as possible to sleep, then after a while you will fall asleep calmly.The same thing happens during meditation.Lessen your desires to plunge into meditation deeper, get rid of thoughts, reach some special state. occurs in the same way as the m.)
Of course, you can not fully compare meditation with sleep. During it there is still a small part of the effort. This is the return of attention to the starting point. But this effort without effort. That is, it is very easy. But at the same time it must have a soft persistence, constantly reminding you that your attention has gone to the side. You do not have to relax to the point where you absolutely throw everything to itself. A small part of you should try to maintain awareness and control over 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’m talking about.
Now, in connection with a large number of comments and questions, I would like to once again dwell on one thing. Even if you can not stop the so-called “inner dialogue” and you always think about something during meditation, it does not mean that it is wasted! All the same, you are reflected in the positive effect of meditation, leave it as it is, do not try to fit any ideas about meditation. It is not possible to clear the mind of thoughts? Nothing wrong!
You can say that meditation did not work out, only if you did not meditate at all!
Your goal is to notice when attention starts to get distracted, and not get rid of thoughts.
Therefore, people who always think about something during practice, they benefit it: they become more collected and better control their thoughts and desires, as they learn to keep their attention to themselves. “I again think, I’m nervous, angry, worried – it’s time to stop.” If earlier these feelings seemed to pass you by, then practice will help you to always realize them, and this is a very important skill. With time, practice will learn to be aware at any time in your life, and not just during meditation. Your attention will stop constantly jumping from thought to thought, and the mind will become more calm. But not all at once! Do not worry if concentration does not work for you!
What should I concentrate on during meditation?
- Concentrate on breathing: you simply watch your breathing, direct your inner gaze to this natural aspect of your life, feel how air passes through your lungs and how it comes out. Do not try to control your breathing. Just watch him. It must be natural. During meditation, breathing can be greatly slowed down, and you will feel that you almost do not breathe. Let it not frighten you. This is normal.
- Read mentally the mantra: you say the recurring words of prayer in Sanskrit. I am personally meditating this way (Update March 17, 2014 – now I’m meditating, concentrating on breathing, I think this method is better than concentrating on the mantra.) Why, I’ll write below). Personally for me, the mantra is not a sacred text, it’s just a repeating phrase that helps me keep my attention and relax. About Indian mantras for meditation you can read on the link. It is not necessary to read the Indian mantra, you can use prayer in any language .
- Visualization techniques: you represent different images: as abstract, like multi-colored fire ( Meditation of fire ), and quite concrete, for example, you can put yourself in an imaginary setting ( healing qigong ), inside of which you will feel peace and pacification.
If you do not know which of these practices to use, then read my article, which meditation technique to choose for yourself or meditate, concentrating on breathing, as I do. I think that it is not so important what kind of meditation you choose, because at the heart of each of them lies the same principle.
Although I believe that during meditation in the head there should be as little information as possible to give you the opportunity to observe. The mantra and the picture you visualize are also information. Despite the fact that words on Sanskrit help to concentrate, they distract you from observation a little and occupy your mind with information.
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 sensations in the body related to breathing: opening and closing of the lungs, movement of the diaphragm, increase and decrease of the abdomen, movement of air around the nostrils. Concentrating on breathing does NOT mean representing how the air saturates your cells with oxygen, visualizing how it is distributed through channels, etc. Your task is to observe what is, your sensations in the body, without adding anything to it!
The next question is, what exactly is to concentrate on? On the sensations in the abdomen or in the nostrils? Or should one observe the sensation over the entire duration of the movement of air from the nostrils to the abdomen? All these methods are correct. Experiment with the technique and see if the concentration on which part of the breath helps you better concentrate, relax and achieve awareness and clarity (as opposed to drowsiness). The general advice is: if your main problem is the mind, which is constantly distracted during practice, then concentrate on the abdominal area. Observe how it rises and falls, what sensations are present between the inhalation and exhalation. Some teachers believe that the observation of these sensations “ground” your mind. But if your problem is more drowsiness, lethargy during practice, then you better concentrate on the sensations 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 air differs on inspiration and air on exhalation. Also, if drowsiness does not go away, you can open your eyes slightly. But these kinds of concentration can work differently for different people, so check yourself what is best for you.
And, of course, I remind you that you should not control your breathing. I know this is very difficult, because breathing is the thing that is very easy to control. But with practice it will start to work out. Just watch the breath, leave it as it is.
7 Tips for Meditators
In conclusion, I would like to give some important advice, to those who want to start meditating.
- Do not wait for an instant result!The effect of meditation does not come immediately. It took me six months to feel a tangible action from the practice, but for you it may take less time. No one can become a guru for several sessions. Effective meditation requires patience and habit. Do not start classes if you do not succeed or you do not achieve the expected effect. Of course, to achieve something tangible, it takes time. But, nevertheless, some aspects of the action of meditation can become apparent immediately. But this is from person to person: they all have different ways. Do not be discouraged if you do not feel anything and continue to meditate! Practice will not bring much result if you do not work on yourself. Meditation is, in a certain sense, a tool that helps you to work on yourself. Do not look at the practice only as a panacea. Do not think that the effect will come to you right away, if you meditate. Analyze yourself, apply the skills received during practice to life, keep awareness, try to understand what meditation taught you and then the result will not be long in coming.
- During the session, do not strain and climb out of your skin to stop thinking. Do not always think about not thinking . Do not dwell on the fact that you have something turned out. Calm down. Let everything go by itself.
- It is better not to meditate before going to sleep. Try to meditate at least a few hours before going to bed. Meditation gives a charge of vivacity and strength, after which it can be difficult to fall asleep.
- Pay attention to how much you feel better in those days when you are meditating. Over time, you will 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 do not meditate. This will come with practice and will motivate you to continue.
- It is better not to fall asleep during the session. For this, you need to keep your back straight. But, even if you fall asleep, then this will not be anything terrible. According to Swami Veda Bharati , a Himalayan meditation teacher, even a dream during the session will be useful for 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 of food do not distract you.
- At first it can get worse. If you suffer from depression or other mental ailments, like panic attacks ( how to get rid of panic attacks ) and decided to use meditation as an exercise that will help you overcome these conditions, then know that this is really a very effective technique for getting out of depression, fighting with nervousness ( how to stop being nervous ), etc.
Thanks to meditation, I got rid of panic attacks, anxiety, sensitivity and bad mood. But it is known that these ailments can be strengthened for a while. I was so. But it’s not scary. Deterioration of the condition was short-lived. And, after a while, it all passed. Someone says a bad state at first may be due to the fact that the negative comes out. So it or not, I do not know, but the fact remains on the face and let it not frighten you. Forewarned is forearmed.
- Know about the side effects of the practice! Read the article harm and the danger of meditation .