I'm a big fan of mediation. Actually, I think it should be a part of everyones daily routine. I don't care if you're mediating for 10 mins or 45, a little is better than nothing. Why? Because mediation has a shit load of benefits, such as ...
- Improved stress response
- Better sleep
- Improved focus
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved mood
- Reduced severity of depression
- Improved cognitive ability
- Positive effects on blood pressure
... and much, much more
The key to mediation, is finding a style that suits your needs and works well with your personality.
There are countless forms of meditation, a lot of which have been around for thousands of years. They're not all going to work well for you as an individual, you're going to have to try a few and see what works for you.
That's what I have been doing for years now, and most recently I have been working with a form called Trataka.
What Is Trataka
Trataka mediation is one of the oldest forms of mediation, and it involves staring at a small object for a prolonged period of time. The most popular objects are a candle flame or small dot. The goal is to keep your gaze on the object, without blinking or moving your eyes. The practice is said to help cleanse/activate your third eye while enhancing psychic abilities ... but I don't buy into that shit. Too mystic for my taste.
What I enjoy about Trataka, is that it gives me an object to focus my attention on. By focusing on the object, my mind feels "quieter". When a thought runs through my head, I let it pass by and return my attention to the physical object I'm staring at. It's much like mindful mediation, only I have a physical object to place my attention on. The effect is quite calming.
How I Meditate With Trataka
The way I set up my Trataka mediation is easy ...
- I perform it whenever I want during the day, I have no set time but you could if you like.
- I mediate for anywhere from 5 - 15 mins depending on the day
- I use a dot over the candle flame, it's just my preference
- The dot is placed 3-4 feet in front of my eyes, large enough that I don't have trouble seeing it but not too big
- I either kneel down to meditate or stand up, I use a dot drawn on paper that I adjust to the right height
- During the mediation I don't use a specific breathing pattern, but I do try to keep my breath from my belly and regular
- I pay attention to my posture
- My gaze is fixed completely on the dot, no blinking, no moving my eyes, just one straight line to the dot
- When a thought runs through my head, and I notice I'm paying attention to the thought, I catch myself and bring my attention back to my breath and the dot
- At some point your vision may begin to "tunnel" and the edges of your sight may blur ... that's normal. When your eyes don't move for a period of time, they stop processing everything in their peripherals because no "new" information is coming in. This is the best part, it's a neat experience.
- If you must blink, do it and continue on
- Continue on like this for however long you desire. When you decide to stop, close your eyes and rest for a bit. Open your eyes and allow your vision to return to normal.
I find the whole practice of Trataka rather "grounding" and it leaves me feeling calm. It's one method that, right now, works well for me as an individual and I enjoy it. It may or may not be what you like, it may not even work well for you, but it's worth a try. If you're looking for a new method of mediation you can do it right now by opening the picture above, enjoy!