2-Step Meditation Technique

There are many techniques to practice meditation. One basic framework is concentration and investigation. I learned this technique at an ashram in India. First, we focus and calm the mind (concentration). Then, we use our concentrated mind to study something so we can understand it more clearly and deeply (investigation).

Step 1: Concentration

Find a comfortable seated position and begin by closing your eyes and breathing in and out through your nose.

Choose an object of concentration and try to stay with it. The most common object of concentration is the breath. This is something we take with us where ever we  go and focusing on it often has a calming effect. You can focus on the breath at the nostrils or at the belly. After the mind becomes calm and concentrated, one can more easily use the mind to study thoughts, emotions and other questions.

Step 2: Investigation

The more concentrated and calm the mind becomes, the more clearly we can see what is happening with our thoughts, our emotions and our lives.  For example, we can investigate a strong reaction we had to a situation. If our mind is calm, we can more clearly understand the root of the issue within us and not blame someone else for our reaction.

You can also ask yourself questions and see what answers come up. The answers that come from a calm mind are often very different that the ones that come from a busy mind. You can ask yourself simple questions, such as “Should I stay in this job?” or “Why am I so angry about this?” or bigger questions, such as, “Where does deep and lasting happiness come from?”

Training the mind takes time, just like a muscle. Be patient, and do not expect fast results. This kind of mental training is very new for many of us. Even when you don’t experience a calm mind, you can still learn a lot from meditation.

Above all, remember to be patient and gentle with yourself.