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Concentrative Meditation

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Article by Blue Banyan Meditation Products

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Concentrative meditation is the most common meditation technique and forms the basis of other types of meditation. The technique involves concentrating on an object or action while letting go of thoughts and emotions. With regular practice, concentrative meditation teaches users to develop one-pointedness, the skill of directing concentration at anything in the internal or external environment. As with any form of meditation, concentrative meditation requires practice for the biggest benefits. Proficiency can enhance life in practical and spiritual ways.

Details of Concentrative Meditation

Concentrative Meditation is a powerful method for becoming more content and focused. Throughout life, concentration is vital for doing well at anything, whether spiritual, creative or technical. To get the most from other forms of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation, concentration must also be sharp. As a result, concentrative meditation forms a strong foundation for learning other forms of meditation later. This enhances the practitioner's ability to devote all of his or her cognitive power to a process, contemplation or project. As a result, the practice of concentration meditation can develop the ability to learn more, remember more and better respond to circumstances.

The strength of concentrative meditation lies partly in its ability to show users how their minds work. After learning to tame the mind in order to focus, distractions become more apparent and easier to conquer. Strong emotions, restlessness and anxiety are all potential obstacles to paying full concentration to anything, but all can be controlled with practice. Users also learn how their minds respond to stimuli, including senses and imaginings. As practitioners develop the ability to hold back data outside of the focus of a meditation, such as in concentrating on the physical features of an object but not its uses, they better understand their own will and can more easily direct it for improved mental wellness and better results in daily life.

How to Practice Concentrative Meditation

To get started with concentrative meditation, sit or stand in a quiet area where you won't be disturbed. Although concentrative meditation can be practiced while lying down, it's usually best to sit or stand to avoid falling sleep and encourage the mind to reach a higher state of alertness during the session. You can get better results from this mental workout in less time by keeping distractions to a minimum

At the core, concentrative meditation is about choosing an internal or external object and focusing on it. In general, four categories are defined: Concentration on a mental image, word or mantra, the breath or an external object. Below is more information about these four types along with examples of each.

Mental Image

You can perform this type of concentrative meditation with your eyes open or closed, but you will probably find that it's easier at first with your eyes closed to avoid visual distractions. Choose any mental image to focus on, and when thoughts intrude on your meditation, let them fall away instead of fighting them. This way, thoughts will naturally pass and your mind will learn to let go as you focus on the imagery and ideas of your choosing. You can choose spiritual images or something that's simply relaxing, such as a pleasant object or scene from nature.

Word or Mantra

To get started in this form of meditation, choose a word or mantra to repeat aloud while you contemplate its meaning. You can repeat mantras from your own spiritual beliefs or words or positive phrases that foster personal growth. For example, you can repeat the word "love" to encourage feelings of love in yourself. With practice, you may prefer to repeat words silently in your mind rather than aloud.

Focus on Breath

Concentrate on your breath for this meditation, letting all your other thoughts dissolve peacefully. Your breathing will naturally slow down if you pay attention to it, reducing your heart rate and relaxing your body and mind. You can get started by relaxing your body, breathing from your diaphragm and focusing on each inhale and exhale. You can also change your breathing, such as by inhaling for three to four seconds, exhaling for the same and then holding the breath out for the same number of seconds. Avoid breathing more than you need to, but also avoid breathing too little, as staying relaxed is essential.

External Objects

This meditation works the same way as with mental images but with an external object instead of internal. The key here is to stay focused only on the physical aspects of the object you choose rather than any deeper significance or emotional reaction. For this reason, choose an object that allows you to stay calm, such as a burning candle, rather than something too stimulating, such as an art piece or photograph. During the meditation, resist using any words to describe the object in your mind, instead focusing only on your visual sense of the object.

Start Slow

Concentration meditation is a great workout for the mind, but as with physical exercise, it's best to start off slow to stay healthy and get the best long-term results. At first, you may want to meditate for as little as five minutes at a time, once per day. As you continue practicing, you can increase your sessions to 30 minutes and practice twice per day.

17 Jan 2013

Last Update: 20 Jan 2013

Article/Information supplied by Blue Banyan Meditation Products

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.