Yes, it's true. You can learn the basics of meditation in the 10 minutes it takes you to read this article.
There are countless books and courses promising to teach you to meditate and the fact is that you can learn it on your own after you know a few techniques. Once your learn the technique however, it can take years to perfect it. That's why many people call it their "practice."
But even if you are new to meditation, you can start to reap the benefits of it such as letting go of stress, being more relaxed throughout the day, better heart health, more creativity, better concentration and better clarity right away
The main idea with meditation is that the mind needs an object to focus on and if you don't provide one it will find endless things to focus on all by itself. In the east they say the mind is like a drunken monkey. This is their way of saying that your mind will be constantly filled with thoughts if you let it run it's natural course.
It's not that thinking is a bad thing; it can be often be a good way to decide things, figure things out, etc. But there are often times when thoughts can contribute to stress and rob your sense of inner peace and relaxation. Thoughts can also get in the way of experiencing the moment. If you are thinking about what you are experiencing then you are not fully experiencing it.
There are many types of meditation but these three basic types are all your need to get started; Mantra Meditation, Zen Breath meditation and Music meditation.
With both of these kinds of meditation, first do this:
Find a quiet place where you will be undisturbed. You can either sit upright with your spine straight such as in a chair, sitting on the floor against the wall or your can sit cross legged in the meditation pose or half lotus, or if you are adapt at yoga in the full lotus pose. Your hands can be on your knees or together with your fingers interlocked (my favorite).
Close your eyes and imagine that the world and all it's complexity are moving away from you and you are in safe within your inner world, a place of infinite space and infinite peace.
Optional: Focus your awareness at the place on your forehead between and above your eyes. This is known as the third eye or ajna (brow) chakra.
Let your breathing naturally slow and breathe by relaxing your stomach and letting it extend out on the inhale. This is yogic breathing.
At this point you can do one of three things:
Choose a mantra, or short word or phrase to repeat silently in your mind as your meditate. Here are a few you can try:
Om - Breathing in
Shanti - Breathing out
Om is the Indian word for the sound of the universe, the seed sound of existence.
Shanti means peace.
So - Breathing in
Hum - Breathing out
So Hum means "I am that" (so = "I am" and hum = "that"). "That" is referring to the entire universe. So chanting So Hum helps you to feel a part of everything.
Om Mani Padme Hum
Om Mani - Breathing in
Padre Hum - Breathing Out
This Tibetan Buddhist mantra means "I am the jewel at the center of the lotus." although many believe that it's true meaning can only be known through meditation.
You can also make up your own mantras such as "I am at Peace" or "all is one" but I personally prefer ancient mantras because ancient languages such as Sanskrit were actually created with the effect that the vibrations of the words would have upon meditation.
Keep mentally repeating the mantra for the length of your meditation. If you find yourself drifting away from the mantra into thoughts then gently return again and again to the mantra. Think of your thoughts as white clouds that drift across the sky of your mind. Do not chase them or try to hard to push them away. Just let them be and return to the mantra.
Zen Breath Meditation
With Zen meditation, instead of repeating a mantra just repeat:
"I am breathing in" - Breathing in
"I am breathing out" - Breathing out
Eventually try to move from repeating these phrases mentally to just listening to the sound of your breath and use the sound of your breath instead of the words.
With practice you can actually use the sound of your breath to focus your mind on.
This works the same as Zen breath meditation but instead of focusing on the sound of your breath, you let the music be your thought. This requires music created specifically for meditation. My brother David and I have been creating this kind of music for over 25 years and you can find some of our favorites here Sequoia Records Meditation Music.
Whether you use a mantra, breath or music, after just a few sessions, complete your practice with a moment of gratitude for what you have received.
You will start to experience a wonderful feeling of peace and pleasure during and after your meditations.
Nowadays with all the technology and complexity of modern life, spending some time meditating on a regular basis can serve you as your own personal place that you can go to no matter where you are. A place to rest your body and mind and renew your spirit.
Even short periods of time such as 5 to 10 minutes can be beneficial. But if you can spare 20 minutes or more you'll really start to understand how good it can feel. You can do it when you first wake up, for a break during the day or before bed.
Read more about David and Steve Gordon and hear sound samples of their music.