Meditation can do more than help your mind and body relax. Discover how developing an object of meditation can transform your practice, improve your life and bring you more happiness.
Background on 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 thoughts. 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, and 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 that 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 burdensome will appear less daunting, and you’ll be rewarded with more joy and peace.
Methods for Developing an Object of Meditation
1. Get into position. Start 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 schedule in advance. Be prepared with the object 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 emotions 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 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 with a few minutes each day and add a few more minutes. You can work your way up to twenty minutes a day or any other interval you feel comfortable undertaking.
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, and please 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.
Still seeking ways to reduce your stress through the power of meditation? Try this past episode of the Meditation NOT Medicine Podcast, where I talk to motivational coaches Lisa and Brad Stearns from the Mindful Living Today Podcast.