In addition to the breathing meditation, there are different meditation techniques on how to meditate such as contemplation and placement meditation, and visualization.
Contemplation and placement meditation
We begin by contemplating the meaning of a Dharma instruction that we have heard or read. We do this by considering various lines of reasoning, contemplating analogies, and reflecting on the teachings. By deeply contemplating the instruction, eventually we reach a conclusion or cause a specific virtuous state of mind to arise. This is the object of placement meditation. We then concentrate on the object single-pointedly for as long as possible to become deeply acquainted with it.
For example, if we are meditating on compassion we begin by contemplating the various sufferings experienced by living beings until a strong feeling of compassion arises in our heart. When this compassion arises we meditate on it single-pointedly. If the feeling of compassion fades, or if our mind wanders to another object, we should return to the contemplation to bring it back to mind. When the feeling has been restored we once again leave our contemplation and hold our compassion in placement meditation.
This kind of meditation is immensely valuable in our daily life because it enables us to deal with difficult situations by developing peaceful and constructive states of mind.
Sometimes the teacher will introduce simple visualization techniques. For example, the following simple visualization is practiced in conjunction with a breathing meditation. When we have settled down comfortably we begin by becoming aware of the thoughts and distractions that are arising in our mind. Then we gently turn our attention to our breath, letting its rhythm remain normal.
As we breathe out we imagine that we are breathing away all disturbing thoughts and distractions in the form of black smoke that vanishes in space. As we breathe in we imagine that we are breathing in blessings and inspiration in the form of white light that enters our body and absorbs into our heart. We maintain this visualization single-pointedly with each inhalation and exhalation for twenty-one rounds, or until our mind has become peaceful and alert.
If we concentrate on our breathing in this way, negative thoughts and distractions will temporarily disappear. At this stage our mind is like a clean white cloth which we can now color with a virtuous motivation such as compassion.
Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. But many meditation techniques exist
It’s extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or have an “empty mind.” But in general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath — an example of one of the most common approaches to meditation: concentration.
A concentrative meditation technique involves focusing on a single point. This could entail watching the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong or counting beads on a rosary. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer durations.
In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than pursuing random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.
Mindfulness meditation technique encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.
Through mindfulness meditation, you can see how your thoughts and feelings tend to move in particular patterns. Over time, you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge experience as “good” or “bad” (“pleasant” or “unpleasant”). With practice, an inner balance develops.
In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness. Many disciplines call for stillness — to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the teacher.
Other meditation techniques
There are various other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the cultivation of compassion. This involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion. There are also moving meditations techniques, such as tai chi, chi Kung and walking meditation.
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