While there are many forms of meditation, a state of mind involving acceptance and awareness, there are a few main categories. One of them is concentrative meditation which has been practiced for hundreds of years. In concentrative meditation, the objective is to focus your attention on a particular object. It may be an image, a flame, your breath or perhaps a sound. It takes some training and dedication. You need to calm your mind and become grounded.
One of the favoured concentrative meditation in the West is the Transcendental Meditation. Often when we begin this type of meditation, we concentrate on our breath. We may deviate from concentrating but can always come back to it. It has been said that this meditation can invoke feelings of true bliss. Ways it can enhance our daily life include helping you focus better as it corrects your mental state.
Zazen or Breathing Concentration
Zazen has long been used in the Buddhist practice. It is good for beginners and involves focusing on your breathing. Breath is our vital life force and the main activity within our bodies. Mind and body work together so if your mind is not in peace, your breath isn’t. Therefore, deep cleansing breaths can assist in the clarity and peace within our minds. It is advised that you sit with a straight spine but if you feel more comfortable, you can also stand.
Find a Place for Stillness
1. Sit with the legs crossed
2. Sit with your palms on your lap or knees. If standing, let the arms fall at your sides.
1. Find your breath
2. Start breathing in through your nose slowly, pause at the top of the breath. Breathe out slowly and take a pause at the bottom of the breath.
3. Counting your breath can help you focus further. Count to three while breathing in, count to three in the pause, count to four in the outbreath and count to three in the pause before breathing in again.
Stay with the practice. If you lose focus, gently go back to your breath. It takes persistent, dedication and practice but the benefits are worth the work. Put yourself into the practice and soon enough, your thoughts, ego and opinion lose their power over you.