Meditation is to relax our mind, but at the same time to keep it alert, present, awake and clear. There are many methods for meditation, some rely on visualizations, others on recitations of mantras, etc. But there are many misunderstandings about what meditation is. In the West it is commonly thought that meditation is to stop thinking, or relax until we fall asleep. This is a mistake.
Through meditation we can familiarize the mind with positive mental states, we can also develop attention and concentration and we can develop wisdom. We can become more aware of our negative thoughts, actions and habits and train our minds to become more kind, patient and generous people.
The meditations that I will share with you have different goals but we can group them into three big groups: ethics, attention and wisdom.
In the group of ethics meditations help us to cultivate a good heart, to become less selfish, and to think more about others. So how to work with negative emotions like anger, attachment, jealousy, arrogance, etc. And transform them into patience, generosity, kindness, compassion and equanimity.
In the attention group we have meditations that help us live in the present, freeing ourselves from recurring thoughts about the past and future concerns. They also help us find a balance between concentration and relaxation so that we can live fully without stress.
In the wisdom group we have meditations that help us understand how the world and ourselves exist and to relate wisely to experiences, people and objects around us. Without generating attachment or rejection towards these and without demanding of these a happiness that they can’t give us.
These meditations have their origins in the Buddhist tradition but are universal in the sense that they can benefit us all regardless of our beliefs, race or gender. All these practices have a benefit that we can experience for ourselves and do not require faith.
I recommend you start with the following meditations:
5 Practices to transform your mind
Contemplative practices can be summarized in the “Three Trainnings”:
1. Ethics: benefit those around you and avoid damaging people, animals and the environment. Developing generosity, patience, discipline and enthusiasm.
2. Concentration: Developing an attentive mind, present, able to focus without distraction, but relaxed and without inner dialogue. To be able to focus on positive thoughts and emotions and turn our attention away from negative thoughts and ideas.
3. Wisdom: Analyzing the reality of how we exist ourselves and everything around us. Accepting that everything is impermanent, interdependent and that everything lacks a concrete identity.
Do not let your days go by while you are only doing what is urgent or what others expect of you.
Start by defining what you would like to achieve and receive from the world.
Then reflect on how you would use these things or qualities to become the best version of yourself. What kind of person would you like to be? What qualities and talents would you like to develop?
Now reflect on how this new version of yourself could help others and how it could impact the world for good.
Define the direction you want to give your life and start walking in that direction today.
Do not let anything distract you, stop doing what is not important, stop checking your email every 5 minutes and reading all the gossip on Facebook.
Use every minute to transform your mind into a happy, peaceful mind and to help other beings.
Take the time to walk in the nature while you reflect on whether you are going in the right direction or you have deviated and it is time to return to the path.
Do this meditation on loving-kindness for yourself
Remember what you did last Monday. Do you remember what you ate? The clothes you wore, the people you met, the things you said?
Does it take a little work to remember? Perhaps it is because we constantly receive so much information and when we want to concentrate on what happens in the present there are so many distractions!
Our attention jumps from side to side, trying to multi-function on various tasks. When we decide to focus on a thing we can stay focused 3 to 10 seconds, before our mind begins to distract ourselves with thoughts, after 10 minutes of performing an activity, there is something that interrupts the flow of our attention and distracts us.
There are two practices in which we want to train our mind, the first is mental presence, through which we have an open attention to all the senses, aware of everything that is happening at the moment, without focusing on one thing in particular, but without leaving unnoticed something that is happening in the present.
The second practice is focused attention, we choose to focus and concentrate on something that is happening or we are doing in the present. We leave everything else in the periphery of our attention and as we concentrate more, we enter the state of flux where we no longer notice anything other than our object of attention. We lose track of time and what surrounds us. When we are so concentrated, joy arises and we enjoy what we are doing. But many times when we concentrate we become tense, so it is important to be aware of our body and mind and learn to relax them.
Both practices require mindfulness which is the ability to pay attention but also to remember to bring our attention back to the object.
The first thing to do is to recognize what it is important for us, and to give our attention to it, we need stop wasting our time by attending to thoughts and fantasies that have no relevance to our goals, and to focus here and now on what is truly important.
As we train more and more our attention, we become more efficient and we are able to make progress in what is important, so it is important to strengthen our attention through constant practice.
I recommend the following articles to continue learning about the training of this wonderful faculty of care:
Transform your mind
How to focus on your goals
Share your experience with these practices in the comments section below!
Our mind constantly pursues all kinds of desires, from the moment we wake up until we go to bed we compulsively pursue what we believe will bring us pleasure, well-being or happiness, and we try to avoid pain, discomfort and suffering.
The problem is that we want to achieve many things but we do not have the time to do all of them. At the end of the day we end up with a feeling that we have not progressed enough.
The first thing to ask ourselves is what is our motivation, why do you want to get what you are after? It all comes down to wanting more pleasure, recognition, success, stability, security, control or being loved and respected.
Now try to think if the achievement of your goals will benefit other beings. How would you feel if you succeeded in one of these goals, where you not only benefit yourself, but also those around you? A selfish motivation will bring you a brief pleasure while an altruistic motivation will bring you great lasting satisfaction.
To achieve any goal, you need effort and dedication, but above all a FOCUSED MIND and a CLEAR MOTIVATION.
- Start by focusing on only 1 to 3 goals, which are really meaningful and complement each other.
- Determine yourself to let go of all those little goals that only distract you and focus only on your main goal.
- Practice mental training in attention to develop a focused and clear mind.
Do you find it easy to focus your mind?
I am interested in knowing if you have practiced some technique to improve your attention and concentration. How long have you practiced? Do you have any advice for someone just beginning? Do you have any advice to share? Or any questions about the methods I share here?
Please leave a comment. Your experience could really benefit someone else.