There are many meditation techniques and meditation practises. But before we talk about it let's try it. Can you spare 3 minutes? Can I ask you to take 3 gentle deep breaths and just focus on the sensation of your breath flowing in and out through your nostrils.
Click the play button on the sound player that's underneath the picture below, and take 3 more breaths continuing to focus on the sensation of your breathing as you look at the picture below.
Try to focus your eyes on the island with the swan on it in the middle of the picture.
Then slowly read the words below the picture.
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to original oneness? Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?
Tao Te Ching
OK what are you feeling - right now? Don't think about it. What word immediately arises? Just note it.
Do you feel slightly different after that? Maybe a subtle change in your energy level or slightly more relaxed?
Alternatively, maybe you feel irritated and a certain degree of resistance arising accompanied by thoughts of: "I don't do meditation" or "what the heck's this got to do with how to change your life?"
Or maybe you feel nothing?
The point is that it doesn't matter what you feel. The point is that you are aware - directly, of what you are feeling - and without comment, evaluation or assessment.
This little exercise illustrates 2 of the 3 meditation techniques that I recommend to you as powerful and effective tools for how to change your life.
These particular meditation techniques are:
(1) Guided meditation
with a focal point which could for example be relaxation, or engendering specific qualities such as compassion, or developing insights into the nature of time, mortality.
(2) Mindfulness meditation where you just sit and observe (without narrative or analysis) your own thoughts and internal states,you also watch the recurring or autonomic nature of your thoughts and feelings and how you get immersed in them.
(3) Binaural meditation where you take advantage of binaural beat technology by listening through headphones to a prerecorded sound track with embedded binaural beats.
If you want more detail on the wider background to this subject, Wikipedia have a very detailed and thorough page HERE.
The science behind how and why meditation affects the structure and functioning of your brain
Quite simply the goal of most meditation techniques is to give you a degree of control over your mind and and to give you a large degree of freedom from the incessant flow of thoughts and internal chatter - your "monkey mind" as it is called.
Another major by-product of practising meditation techniques is that meditation will help you relax and relieve stress.
Ultimately, if you do enough of it, it will help you realise increased or higher states of insight and perception.
So the most basic reason for wanting to understand and be able to practise meditation techniques is quite simply that the state and quality of your mind has a very large bearing on the quality of your experience of life, and very specifically on the whole business of "how to change your life".
Where does this all lead?
If you keep going with any or all of these meditation techniques, you start to realise - by that I mean that you know from your own direct experience, it's not an idea - the illusion that you are a separate entity: "a separate ego in a bag of skin" to quote the late Alan Watts.
Whenever anyone, regardless of culture or belief system or point in time, persists with their meditation practise they all report the same thing (although it may be expressed in differing ways) and that is that they contact reality directly, without the filter of the mind.
When this happens, the meditator instantly knows who he or she really is - "the going on of it all, and the nothingness out of which it all arises, moment by moment, endlessly".
When life is seen from these perspectives, the whole business of leading managing and surviving organisational change and the personal challenge of "how to change your life", looks quite different.
I do not mean that the problems and issues just melt away, they don't, at certain stages they seem to increase in volume and intensity, but that how we interact and relate to and deal with these things changes.
In simple practical terms we are better able to cope - we develop the capacity for a truly adaptive response to change.
I have been aware of, and have used material from, "The Guided Meditation Site" for some time now.
The site is run Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke, B.Sc, Msc.D and I am a big fan of hs material.
Christopher is the author of numerous articles on the science of sound, Christopher regularly works with meditation teachers, holistic healers, hypnotherapists and personal development consultants to help them produce and distribute their guided audio productions.
Christopher's site is in itself a relaxing place to visit, he offers many free downloads and resources and a very wide of guided meditation material, relaxation and meditation music.
I commend it you:
Some years ago I saw an advert for a meditation product that promised me that I could meditate like a Zen master and without 25 years of practise several hours a day.
I was sceptical, but interested, and did some research.