It's a two thousand year old practice of introspection – how to listen to yourself. A few minutes in a day you owe to yourself to sit in peace, relax and control your breathing. Way to completely “reset” your thoughts, discard fears, ambitions, plans, obligations and find yourself.
First, sit on the ground in a cross-legged fashion. Do not sit in a chair, but you can use a pillow if you find it easier. The important thing is your back to be straight. This position is semi-awkward for a reason – to help you not fall sleep.
The average meditation lasts 10 to 15 minutes. Do not put on yourself precise time frames, just meditate how much you think is good for you. It may be 5 or 35 minutes.
Breathing & Relaxing
The important thing is to relax. Start by deep breathing because it helps you to relax. Breathing as a body function can be conscious and unconscious. We can not willing influence on our heartbeat or to dilute our blood vessels. On the other hand we can move our muscles. Breathing is located halfway, we can manage it willingly, but if we do not think about it, then this function is done automatically by the brain (unconscious). Due to the specific position (midway between the conscious and unconscious), controlled breathing can help us to calm down, relax and slow our heartbeat. Start the exercise by deep breathing, and after a few minutes breathe normally. Try to breathe with your “belly”, not the chest.
Place to meditate
Find a nice, secluded and quiet place for meditation, and keep your eyes half-open. Start the meditation by deep breathing and relaxation. During the first two minutes, you can close your eyes to relax more easily, but try to keep them half-open during the remaining minutes of the session.
Where to look
When your eyes are half-open, try to focus your look to a single point. This can be a point in a wall, grass, rock on the beach, flame from a candle, patterns on the carpet or a shadow in a room where you meditate.
What is Mantra
Mantra is the main point of meditation. A thought on which you should focus your attention, and is then rhythmically repeated.
Different school of meditations use different mantras. They are usually a sound or a picture, and can be internal and external. An example of external mantra can be sound of the steam or a drop of rain. Internal mantra can be sound you repeat in yourself (“oommm”).
When you start to meditate and repeat the mantra, your mind will start to wander all over the place. Then you should become aware of your thoughts and return to the repetition of the mantra. The whole point of meditation is to return your thoughts to the mantra. Do not get upset if your mind wanders as it's completely normal. The important thing is to realize that this is only your mind – not you. These are your fears, hopes, thoughts, worries and the like. In time your focus will be “sharpened” and you will be able to spend more time “centered” (in focus with mantra).
In Zen meditation, breathing is used as Mantra. It does not have any meaning, it is neither positive nor negative, just a simple template that you use to “see”. An anchor used to stop your thoughts from sailing. Mantra “centers” you in the sense that you recognize your thoughts and you disconnect with them during the session. The goal of meditation is to just be here and now.
Meditation and sleep are ying and yang. In sleep you do not control your thoughts, but during meditation you completely control your thoughts. This control will come in time, and then you will transfer it in your everyday life.
What benefits can you expect from meditation
In the long run, meditation changed many lives to the better, in the sense that many individuals that practice this technique have deal with their fears and focused on their goals. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger in one interview said that practicing meditation for one year changed his life.
Along the long term effect, meditation is excellent exercise for stress and anxiety reduction. The practice of meditation is a great way to “gather your thoughts” and that during the session, you are the one who controls your thought.