Although the two are sometimes conflated, meditation is vastly different from prayer. When you pray, you reach out to, and communicate with, something bigger. But when you meditate, you reach within and attempt to change your own state of mind for the better.
Meditation can help you cultivate clarity, concentration, and emotional stability. It can also help you achieve something that is far too elusive for most in our busy contemporary lives—peace. With work, you can even achieve a new understanding of life, itself, through meditation.
To get the most out of meditation, you’ll need a mentor—we’ll talk about that later. For now, you can begin on your own by sitting on your bed or on the floor in a relaxed and upright position.
Close your eyes. Get in touch with how you’re feeling in the present moment. Be sensitive to every thought and emotion that flows through you. If you’re having trouble with this step, try some gentle stretching to help slow your mind.
Now, focus on your breathing. Be aware of it without analyzing it. You’re not taking note of how you’re breathing—you’re just breathing. If you find your mind wandering, just remind yourself to get back to nothingness by saying aloud the word “thinking.” It’s hard at first, but like a muscle, you can increase your endurance.
When you achieve an intense focus on the present, and become free from intruding thoughts, you can begin to investigate the true nature of reality apart from your own presuppositions. This is one spiritual practice that has wonderful applications in the material world, so flex that meditation muscle!