Meditation Techniques
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The essence of meditation is to quiet your thoughts by focusing completely on just one thing. A number of different focuses of concentration may be used. Which one you choose is a matter of personal taste. Some of these include the following.

Breathing: A useful method may be to focus your attention on your breathing. Concentrate on breaths in and out. You can accompany this by counting your breaths using the numbers 0-9. You can visualize images of the numbers changing with each breath. Alternatively you could visualize health and relaxation flowing into your body when you inhale, and stress or pain flowing out when you exhale.

Focusing on an object: Here you completely focus attention on the examination of an object. Look at it in immense detail for the entire meditation. Examine the shape, color differences, texture, temperature and movement of the object. Objects often used are flowers, candle flames, or flowing designs. However, you can use other objects equally effectively ( e.g. alarm clocks, desk lamps, or even coffee mugs!)

Focus on a sound: Some people like to focus on sounds. The classic example is the Sanskrit word "Om", meaning "perfection". Whether or not this is practical depends on your lifestyle.

Imagery: This can be a very refreshing and pleasant way of meditating. Here you create a mental image of a pleasant and relaxing place in your mind. Involve all your senses in the imagery: see the place, hear the sounds, smell the aromas, feel the temperature and the movement of the wind. Enjoy the location in your mind.

In all cases, it is important to keep your attention focused. If external thoughts or distractions wander in, let them drift out. If necessary, visualize attaching the thoughts to objects and then move the objects out of your attention. You will find that as you practice meditation, your attention will improve.

There are many different forms of meditation. The following meditation has been found in every religious tradition but can also be non- religious. It is a simple technique, but is not easy to practice or to incorporate into your life. You will find your mind wandering, and you will probably find it difficult to set aside the time to practice. It may feel like setting aside 20 minutes a day to sit and do nothing.


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