There are no doubt countless techniques for meditation. For as many people as there are in the world, there as a many ways to meditate. Many different cultures have come up with their own sets of guidelines and rules, but one method will not work as a blanket for everyone. In our busy lives, we are often too "busy" to take a moment to meditate and reflect on our world. Below are some general techniques that are typically found across various traditions of meditation.
-Find a quiet place: Quiet does not necessarily mean that you must find a place with absolute stillness and silence. It does not necessarily mean you need to be "alone". Find a place that is good for you. Some people will sit and meditate out in a park, under a tree, on a rock by a river bank, a park bench, the top floor of a parking garage, or on public transit. Meditation is not limited to a quiet spot in a dark room; quite the contrary! It can be done anywhere that you can spare a moment of piece. You can find time to be alone even when surrounded by people. Do not necessarily seek a place that is "still" either. The energy of the world is always moving, so sometimes being near a river, or under a nice breeze can be ideal for meditation and connecting with the world around you.
-Have a focus: There are many ways to focus your attention inward into a meditative state. Some traditions simply ask you to focus on your breath and how it flows through your body. Some cultures provide specific hand seals or positions in which to sit. If you find it difficult to concentrate, sometimes holding a totem or chanting a mantra can help greatly in focusing your energies. A totem can be something as simple as a piece of cloth wrapped around your hands, and a mantra can be something as simple as a single word. Play around with totems or mantras, and anywhere can be your spot for meditation. Some practitioners will utilize an elemental focus, such as a candle, or an hourglass.
-Choose a technique: As aforementioned, there are many different styles of meditation. To do a simple sit down and focus on emptying your mind is just one of the many possibilities. However, if you find that you're lacking the focus to engage in the meditation, perhaps try a more specific technique. For instance, there are meditative techniques that solely focus on breathing or chanting a mantra, designed to empty your mind. There are other meditations that focus on activating your mind, letting your thoughts burst upwards from within you. Depending on the situation, a different type of meditation may be required. If you're busy, stressed, frazzled to the breaking point, then perhaps focusing on emptying the mind would be more helpful. However, if you're uninspired, listless, and lacking ideas, perhaps an activating meditation would be more beneficial. Meditation can be a cure all for many of your mental woes, but only if you know which technique to apply when. It works best when you have an active purpose in mind.
-Be grateful: This may seem odd or superfluous, but taking a moment to be grateful after each session is very important. In the same way one should stretch after a work-out, one should take a moment to decompress after a meditation. Usually, two or three minutes of simply allowing yourself to feel appreciation for the meditation can be very helpful. Thank yourself for partaking in the experience, and thank yourself for working on honing your mind. It is essential for many types of meditation, to focus on being in the present, and what better way to do that than thanking yourself for the experience you have just undertaken?
Meditation can serve as a powerful technique in our everyday lives, especially given the sheer amount of stress many of us face day in and day out. Start simply: Carve out five minutes every day to sit down and reflect, either when you wake up, or before you go to bed. Like any technique, meditation comes easier with practice. Like anyone you've ever met, you need to have conversations with yourself before you get to know yourself. Meditation is a way of communicating with yourself, understanding yourself, then looking at the world with newfound eyes, so start practicing now!
J. Roslyn Antle
7Witches Coven High Priestess