Meditation can do so much more than just help you relax. See how developing an object of meditation can transform your practice, improve your life and bring you more happiness.
Background on Developing an Object of Meditation
1. Go beyond relaxation. Using meditation to unwind is a pleasant experience. However, there are many more benefits in store when you use your practice to train your mind. Using a specific object of meditation will open up new possibilities.
2. Select any positive thought. Your object of meditation can be any attribute or experience that you want more of in your life. For example, you could focus on patience or listening to criticism with an open mind.
3. Improve your powers of concentration. Reflecting in this way will increase your attention span. You’ll find it easier to concentrate and remember stuff even during your ordinary daily activities.
4. Worry less. Designating a time to think about important issues will help you spend less time brooding. You can tell yourself those topics are on your schedule for later.
5. Resolve conflicts. This structured approach will facilitate deeper thinking about conflicts that may have stumped you for a long time. Be prepared to get along better with your in-laws or feel less aggravation when you’re stuck in traffic.
6. Enjoy more happiness. Best of all, having more control over your mind feels good. Situations that used to seem difficult will appear less daunting. You’ll be rewarded with more joy and peace.
Methods for Developing an Object of Meditation
1. Get into position. Start out in whatever position is comfortable for you. Sit in a chair or on the floor. Take a few minutes to slow down and observe your breath.
2. Know your purpose. Plan out your agenda in advance. Be prepared with the object that you want to ponder.
3. Analyze the topic. Talk to yourself silently. Reflect on what your object of meditation means to you, how it affects the quality of your life, and whatever feelings it evokes.
4. Place your mind on your feelings. Once your feelings are vivid, stop and focus your mind on that sensation. Hold it for as long as possible.
5. Bring yourself back. Other thoughts will arise. When you catch yourself wondering about what’s for dinner, go back to your original object.
6. Progress incrementally. Five minutes of high quality meditation beats a half hour of lolling around. Start out with sessions of a few minutes and add a few more minutes each day. Work your way up to twenty minutes a day or any interval that you feel comfortable with.
7. Stay in balance. Try to find the point where you feel relaxed and focused. Avoid the extremes of struggling to suppress distracting thoughts or letting your mind roam free.
8. Save distracting thoughts for later. Some of those extraneous thoughts may be interesting. Take note of them and put them aside for another time. You may even want to keep a pencil and writing pad nearby so you’ll feel confident that you’ll get back to them after your session is over.
9. Give yourself a homework assignment. Apply your lessons to your daily life. End your session by coming up with one concrete action relevant to your object. If you meditated on patience, for example, you could let someone ahead of you in line at the grocery store the next time you go shopping.
Meditation is a powerful tool for leading a happier and more meaningful life. The effort you put into developing an object of meditation will pay off in extraordinary ways.