In this article we will explore the second stage of meditation – technique. Using a meditation technique gives your mind “something to do.” Although many people believe that meditation is about having “no thoughts,” it is the nature of the mind to be active and seek stimulation.
A meditation technique helps you stay in the moment, while strengthening your abilities to:
Focus: Utilizing one-pointed attention contributes to the calming of your mental field. A good focus point technique for beginners is paying attention to your breath. Become aware of the movement of your breath – notice the air entering your nostrils, sense it completely as it hits the back of your throat, feel your chest and abdomen expand, feel the air exit through your nostrils, and so on. Once you become aware of your breath, you can direct your inner gaze toward your third eye – the center point between your eyebrows – or your crown chakra at the top of the head. Choose only one point of focus for your inner gaze and practice using it for a period of time; this allows depth in your meditation practice to progress.
Witness: Meditation helps you develop a “witness consciousness” – the ability to be a conscious witness to all that is occurring. Thoughts will arise and you may experience emotional and physical feelings in your body. The task of meditation is to witness what is happening without attaching to it; simply noticing and letting it go.
Return: During the process of meditation, it is certain you will lose the ability to maintain your witness consciousness and soon become involved in your thoughts and feelings. When this happens, simply return your attention to your breath and/or inner gaze. Much of meditation is gently returning your awareness to the point of focus.
Since each meditation is different, you may find that some days it’s easier to maintain your focus than other days. As you develop a regular meditation practice, your ability to focus increases along with your witness consciousness; as these wane, however, you can always remember to return.