Controlling the thoughts in the mind is definitely not easy, but it’s not impossible either! It takes practice, practice, practice... The benefits of meditation are endless, but in order to receive them, it takes commitment, dedication and most importantly patience.
Once prepared, we are ready to begin our practice of meditation. All meditation techniques have the same goal: to focus the mind on a single point, so that the mind remains calm and still, leading the meditator to self-realization. Below are some techniques you can try:
1) Yoni Mudra
This is an exercise in withdrawing from your senses. Close your ears with your thumbs. Cover your eyes with your index fingers, then close your nostrils with your middle fingers and press your lips together with your remaining fingers. Release the middle fingers to inhale and exhale when you meditate. This helps the mind focus less on external objects and bring the focus within.
2) Tratak (Steady Gazing)
A wonderful exercise for concentrating. This involves looking at an object or point without blinking and then closing the eyes after some time and trying to visualize the object in your mind’s eye. You can focus on the nose or the space between your eyebrows. Another object of focus in a lit candle. One minute of gazing is sufficient to start and then build up to ten minutes. If the eyes feel strained, then relax.
3) Focus on the Breath
For beginners, a simple object of focus in the breath. Because the breath is moving, the mind can start to focus on different aspects of the breath. Focus on the breath also slows the breath. The breath is also connected to the mind, so as the breath slows, the mind slows and can slowly reach one-pointed concentration.
4) Repeating a Mantra or Affirmation
Mantras provide a tangible point on which to focus the mind. The Hindus also believe that when mantras are repeated in meditation, it will bring the individual to a higher state of consciousness. You can repeat your mantra out loud (by saying or chanting it), whisper or mentally. Repeating the mantra mentally is the most effective.
Never get discouraged and set realistic goals. Try for only five minutes every morning for the first week. Second week, try 10 minutes. By the third week, try 15 minutes and stick to it for about a month. You’ll soon find that you can sit for more. Remember that your thoughts will definitely come in and distract you... many many times. Don’t worry... whenever you remember, bring your mind back to your object of focus. Keep doing it and you’ll get there...