There are many, many different meditative techniques you can apply to your meditations. Each one brings activates different parts of your body, and enriches different parts of your mind and spirit. However, the trick to meditation is finding the right techniques for you for the right situation. Meditation can be viewed as a word like "sports" for instance: There are many different sports, with many different rules. Therefore, you may be more naturally inclined to one type or another of meditation, just as you would be with a sport. Likewise, you can actively choose to do any of them, though some are more difficult than others. Today we focus on a few specific techniques from a few specific styles of meditation.
This type of meditation focuses on a single point, where one focuses their energies during the meditation. This can be something as simple as your breath. Simply closing your eyes and focusing on your breath can be a tremendous meditative experience. Observe how your breath affects and moves different parts of your body. See what happens when you send your breath to areas that are aching or feel particularly clogged up. When breathing, one school suggests that you do not control your breath, but rather, allow it to flow naturally through your body and observe it. Another technique is called "Double Breath" technique, wherein you breath in twice, then exhale twice. This forces you to control and focus on your breath, freeing your mind up by focusing on the breath alone. Other meditations will ask that you use a mantra, a sacred word or phrase that you will reflect upon during your meditation. Other types of meditation will ask you to light a candle and focus your eyes on the flame, or sit at a river and observe the flow of water moving by. Your attention is focused on a single point, therefore allowing the rest of your unthinking and subconscious mind to activate.
This style of meditation does not focus on emptying your mind, but rather allowing your mind to simply do its thing. Sitting comfortably and allowing your breath to flow naturally, allow your mind to wander. Allot a part of your brain to taking note of your flowing thoughts, saving them for later reflection. Such a meditation is often good for creative purposes, or if one is feeling stuck or confused. Your thoughts will play themselves out before you in your mind, and as you track them carefully, you may stumble across epiphanies or deeper understandings of your surroundings. Mindfulness Meditations ask you to allow yourself to feel the sensations in your present. What are the smells around you? What are the feelings on your skin? What are the tastes in your mouth? Your physical sensations will ground you in the present, while your thoughts wander as they will. During Mindfulness Meditation, you may notice how quickly your mind will categorize things as "good" or "bad", but with practice, you will be able to change your pattern, and perhaps alter your way of thinking within the constraints of "good" or "bad". After all, the world isn't black and white, and this style of meditation often allows you to specifically color your world in a way that makes increasingly more sense to you.
These are just two specific styles of meditation that can be applied to your daily life. It is sometimes suggested that one do a combination of the two: Mindfulness to discover, then Concentration to understand. Neither of these practices take a lot of time. Anyone with five minutes and a quite space to practice can achieve this greater sense of peace and understanding, even with absurdly busy lives. As always, regardless of which technique you are using, remember to take a minute or two afterwards to be thankful and grateful for the opportunity and ability to meditate. Meditation is the practice of YOU, and you should always be thankful for you!