Most people in modern society have forgotten how to live in the present moment. Most of us either live in the past or the future. Some alternate by sometimes regretting the past and then focus anxiously on the future.
Zen Buddhism uses meditation to teach it`s followers to live in the present moment. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That`s why we call it the present (and you thought it was from a movie...).
In Japan Buddhism is infused into our culture and daily routines. It teaches that meditation and learning to live in the present is not about how you sit or hold your hands when you meditate. In fact meditation can be done when working, playing, eating or even when taking a bath.
Learning to sit a certain way or breath a certain way are just techniques to make you more aware of yourself in the present moment. Some things like deep breathing also brings healing effects which can help remove the fog many have been living in for most of their lives.
Learning how to meditate helps us to wake up.... for many its the first time in their lives to be fully and completely aware of the present moment.
When first learning how to meditate many want instant and dramatic results and when this doesn`t happen they give up. This thinking and kind of desire goes against the very nature of what meditation can teach you. The stronger you desire your life to change the harder it will be to patiently except your current circumstance while exercising the self-discipline necessary to receive the rewards of daily meditation.
Some believe just before the rising of the sun is the best time. For many this will be around 5a.m. This is a great time, but if you decide it is not best for you the most important thing is to decide on a time you are willing and able to commit to consistently.
How to meditate #2: Create a space in your home or at your office and prepare it so that it is quiet, peaceful, with soft lighting and filled with positive energy. Most importantly it needs to be removed from outside distractions. We all have times when life doesn`t allow us to have the ideal and this should not stop you from practicing your daily meditation. But try to make a space that is helpful in reaching ever increasing levels of peacefulness and quietness of mind.
How to meditate #3: Don`t get too comfortable. Many believe you have to sit in a full lotus position and hold your hands just right along with correct breathing. While all of these things can be useful they are not necessary in and of themselves. You need to be comfortable enough to focus for 20 minutes or more. The key is to be comfortable, but not too comfortable. Remember that Buddhism teaches the middle way.
So sit in a chair, on a mat or even on your bed in a way that is comfortable, but not so much you fall asleep. You should make the temperature of the room one that is slightly cool enough to be less then ideal, but not so cold as to be distracting. If a room is too hot it often induces sleepiness.
How to meditate #4: Often creating a sanctuary and an altar with-in that special place can help your body and mind more easily enter a state of deep meditation. Placing things from nature such as flowers, pine cones and thistles, plants, etc. help you attune with Mother Nature. Placing spiritual symbols and pictures of spiritual or religious leaders you respect work great. Crystals and incense are also common features.
How to meditate #5: Learn to really honor the space you have created. The more you do this the more it will become an important part of your life. Take off your shoes when you enter. Give a bow when entering to humble yourself and say thank you for this special place of tranquility and rejuvenation.
May I discover my truest self today. When you leave...just before exiting, bow and say thank you that today I could take the time to discover myself a little deeper. For many in the west bowing is something only servants do, but in Eastern cultures it is a sign of respect. For all it is an opportunity to humble ourselves before the Universe and God.
How to meditate #6: In order to benefit from meditation you must learn to preserver. To cultivate an attitude that you will continue with out expectation of when or how you will benefit, is the ultimate paradox of meditation. To gain you must be willing to do without expectation of gain.
How to meditate #7: Learning to breath and doing deep breathing meditation is the best meditation technique for beginners. In Japanese ki means both air and spirit. Many forms of Buddhism teach that breath is the energy of the mind. The Christian Bible teaches that in the beginning God breathed life into Adam and it is from that breath that his eternal soul was created.
With your eyes closed begin to breath in and imagine a white healing light is entering your body along with the breath. Make sure to breath in on a count of 4 and do so deep into your belly until it fully expands. Hold your breath on the count of 4. When breathing out do so on the count of 8. Imagine a gray fog is exiting the body along with the breath and with it all the ills of the body.
While doing this focus fully on the breath. As other thoughts enter just let them pass without any attention giving to them. If you found that your mind has wondered... don't get frustrated... just gently bring your mind back to your breath and continue.
If you are traveling and you want a way to have something to connect you to your sanctuary try the following... take a walk and look for a unique or beautiful stone. Bless this stone with a prayer. You can say something like, "I bless this stone with all the peace and harmony of the universe and with it I am as connected to my special sanctuary as if I were actually there." You can take this anywhere and you will always have a connection to your sanctuary.
Another time tested meditation uses what some believe is the sound of the creation of the universe. Om. The simplest form of this meditation is to sit in your meditative position of choice, close your eyes, begin with a few deep breaths to bring yourself into a state of relaxation and begin to say.... ommmmmmm, ommmmm. Try focusing only on this sound.
Really try to experience the power of this sound. If a thought other then this sound comes to mind just let it pass without giving it any attention. If you find that your mind has wondered...don`t get frustrated... just bring your mind back to focusing on the sound... ommmmmm, ommmmm. In time you will find your ability to focus without distraction gets longer and longer.
After you have experienced the energy and healing that comes from learning to quiet the mind by focusing on only one thing then you can move forward with learning to completely quiet the mind.
If you never learned any more about how to meditate then the simple techniques on this page you would still experience tremendous benefits from the practice of meditation.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Make the home remedies and meditation techniques on this site your first step to greater health.