Do you want to meditate? Well if you do, there are a lot of meditation methods that one can choose from. Meditation doesn’t always have to mean sitting down with crossed legged position and eyes closed, it can be as simple as walking and standing. Anytime that we concentrate on something other than our thoughts, we are already meditating. We can meditate while we walk, move, lie down, stand, sit, or even while silent or speaking. And there is always no perfect position for meditation, whatever is most comfortable for a person that would allow him to meditate is fine.
There are two kinds of meditation, moving meditation and still meditation. Moving meditation involves movements of the body such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga, dancing, walking and jogging. In this case rhythmic series of movements and the mind concentrates or is centered on breath. Thoughts are recognized without judgment and then our focus goes back to breath. Focus can also be on the movement itself, the flowing internal energy from the body, the external environment, or even in the case of dancing, the connection to music. In still meditation on the other hand, our bodies and minds are unmoving. Sitting, standing, or lying meditation focuses on anything; breath, counting, a mantra (sound), candles, incense, a rock, a spot on the ground or ceiling, the birds, the sky, anything your heart desires. Thoughts are recognized without judgment, then let go, and concentration is brought back to what you were originally focused on. Breathing is through the nose in a natural unforced manner.
Here are some common meditation methods:
This is one of the meditation methods that are a great exercise to practice proper breathing and a simple way to concentrate and regain proper breathing techniques like what we naturally had when we were infants.
Stand comfortably with your spine straight and feet about shoulder distance apart, opening the left hand and placing the thumb on your belly button so the palm of the hand is against the lower abdomen, then place you right hand on top of left in the same manner. Breathe slowly and feel the lower part of your abdomen expand and naturally pushing away your hands outward your belly. Hold the breath for four seconds and then exhale slowly, feeling your lower abdomen contracting inward as the air is released. Recognize the thoughts without judgment and bring back the concentration to your breath.
One of the meditation methods that is a very effective way of exercising and meditating. Simply walk at a natural and comfortable pace, concentrate on the sole of your feet touching making contact with the earth. Focus on the spot in the center of your foot just at the forward part of the arch. With each step feel this spot making contact with the earth and extending into the earth, next foot after the other. Allow normal, relaxed breathing through the lower abdomen. Recognize thoughts without judgment bringing back the concentration to the sole of the foot or your breath.
This is one of the meditation methods that is simple and can be done upon bedtime or prior to a nap, by simply lying down and focusing the attention on breath. Breathing should be into and out of the lower abdomen. Concentrate on inhaling and exhaling, or counting the breaths. Focus on a spot on the ceiling or the sky if you’re outdoors. Recognize thoughts without judgment bringing back concentration back to breathing.
Sitting Meditation (Zazen)
These meditation methods involve finding a comfortable sitting position for you. You can sit comfortably either in a chair with your feet flat on the ground or crossed legged on the floor (left leg over right) using a cushion under the buttocks for comfort and to prop up the hips higher than the knees. In either case, the back should always be straight but without straining. The palms of the hands are open and can be placed on the thighs, palms up or you can bring the hands together, left palm on top of the right palm, thumbs barely touching each other, resting comfortably against the lower abdomen.
Once you find a comfortable sitting position for you, you can use spoken or silent mantra, or listen to soothing music or sound, or focus on a candle, burning incense or other small objects, or just simply breath. Breathing should be natural and through the nose. Head is tilted slightly downward and the body is completely relaxed. Recognize thoughts without judgment and bring back concentration to the original object of focus.
Remember that these meditation methods have no goals, there is no bad or good meditation, there is simply meditating.