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How to Meditate Properly

Meditation is a known technique in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that increases calmness and physical relaxation, enhancing overall health and well-being. You learn to focus your attention, become mindful of your own thoughts and sensations, and observe them non-judgmentally. Meditation can refer to Zen Buddhist meditation, relaxation response meditation, mindfulness meditation and mantra meditation. Most types of meditation:

  • Require a quiet place with few distractions
  • Require a comfortable posture
  • Require you to focus your attention either on your breathing, a mantra or an object
  • Require you to have a non-judgmental attitude -- you must stay focused, observe your thoughts and not judge them [source: NCCAM]

Meditation is said to alleviate stress, help your breathing and create balance in your thoughts. It can help you overcome negativity and find inner peace. When practicing Buddhist meditation, you make your mind peaceful and hope to experience greater happiness. Start with breathing meditation, where you dismiss distractions and clear your mind. Try to exclude everything else from your mind, except the sensation of breathing. This is how to begin:

  1. Find a quiet place to meditate.
  2. Sit in a comfortable position, with a cross-legged posture. It's important to have a straight back.
  3. Partially close your eyes and think about your breathing. Breathe through your nostrils naturally, and feel the breath as you breathe in and out. Your distracting thoughts will gradually fall away, although this might take practice.
  4. Do this each day for about ten to fifteen minutes.

After mastering breathing meditation, you may be able to move to analytic meditation, where you contemplate the meaning of a Dharma instruction (i.e. teaching of the Buddha). You hope to reach a conclusion that then becomes the object of the next stage. In placement meditation, you concentrate on the object you determined through analytic meditation, attempting to understand it well.

You're encouraged to rely upon a qualified Spiritual Guide to open the door to meditation.

You'll learn to concentrate on your potential in life and on not wasting your time with meaningless activities. Remember, the goal of meditation is to perceive your object clearly and gain deep levels of realization, enlightenment and compassion. If you meditate properly, you'll achieve a state known as "liberation" or "nirvana," i.e. a great sense of peace and happiness [source: HowtoMeditate].