Meditation techniques produce serenity, tranquility, and precious peace of mind, even for beginners. There are multiple techniques that work.
Experiment and discover which one most effectively improves the quality of your life!
Meditation brings peacefulness.
What good is anything else if you have a troubled mind?
If you don't know how to meditation, we recommend a particular meditation technique, namely, Zen meditation, which is called 'zazen.'
It's the simplest kind of the easy meditation techniques and so easy to learn, even for beginners.
It's also a very effective form of meditation.
Recall or imagine a time without peace of mind. Perhaps you failed a test at school, performed badly at a concert, got fired from a job, lost your house, suffered a divorce, experienced the death of a loved one, were diagnosed with a serious illness, or something similar.
How did that make you feel? How well were you able to sleep? Did you rapidly lose or gain weight? Were you unable to concentrate?
We've all been there. Sometimes, life sucks.
Right now, in fact, there may be nothing more important to you than settling down and attaining more peace of mind. It could be that you are suffering intensely, that you are acutely dissatisfied with your life.
Dissatisfaction is the chief reason why people begin meditating. Unless we wanted an improvement, we wouldn't try anything different. If you are interested in meditating, it's because you are hoping that it will be a way for you to live better.
night and to sleep more soundly, meditating effectively will help. (Disturbed or insufficient sleep hinders weight loss.) How much can easy meditation techniques help? It depends upon how well you master whatever technique you select. We happen to believe that it is not possible to live well without mastering meditation.
Direct and indirect techniques
The best way to sort meditation techniques is into "direct" (stilling) and "indirect" (flowing, moving).
Examples of direct meditation techniques are: zazen (either following the breath [shikan-taza] or koan training), insight [vipassana] meditation, and rajah yoga.
Examples of indirect meditation techniques are: bhakti yoga, jnana yoga, Quaker quietism, The Kabbalah, and estatic prayer. There are many more examples of each sort.
It's impossible to tell in advance which sort would work best for you. Similarly, within one sort it is impossible to tell in advance which specific technique would work best for you. To find out, you may need to experiment with several.
Please consider three cautionary notes before you begin experimenting.
(i) If you are suffering acutely, you may need some professional guidance to work on yourself more before meditation will prove beneficial. If that's your situation, you will be able to benefit from meditation, but there's some preliminary work to do.
(ii) When you try meditation, give it an honest trial before rejecting it. Since it's unlikely that any specific technique will work quickly, guard against being too impatient.
(iii) Avoid sampling two or more techniques simultaneously or combining them into your own unique blend. Unless you happen to be a spiritual genius, this won't work. Instead, realize that humility works. Let a teacher help you.
If you already have a spiritual tradition from which you are not alienated, you may already have access to some technique that might work well for you. [For more on this, see the next section below.]
I, Dennis, the co-webmaster of this site, think that you might benefit from a brief retelling of my own story, which is not uncommon. After reading a helpful book about different techniques, namely, David Fontana's The Meditator's Handbook, I took a ten-hour course in a version of tai chi, which I enjoyed very much.
Even though I was soon able to feel the chi move, I didn't feel that I was on a path that would be productive for me. This was in 1994, which was a bad year for me. Frankly, I was emotionally distraught and impatient for greater relief. When I discovered zazen and began "sitting," I felt as though I'd come home. I've been "sitting" nearly daily ever since.
When you have the feeling that you have found a technique that makes you feel as though you have come home, you'll know that you have found a technique that will work for you. If you are hurting and ready to experiment, let us assure you that there is a kind of meditation that will work for you. The task is to find it and get good at it.
Meditation shouldn't be confused with religion
A meditative practice is a spiritual or breathing practice. It is neither religious nor anti-religious; it's nonreligious. The only faith required to begin meditating is that the practice might be beneficial.
Some religious practices are similar to some meditative practices. Those with Christian backgrounds sometimes wonder about prayer: Is prayer one of the effective easy meditation techniques? It can be. It depends upon the kind of prayer.
Unless they are prayers of gratitude or thanksgiving, most prayers seem to be petitions. "Dear God: bring me salvation or cure Tammy of her cancer or feed the hungry or help me lose twenty pounds or end the war." Petitionary prayer is a request for something the practitioner wants.
Some thinkers have made two criticisms about petitionary prayer. First, it is blasphemous. The practitioner is, in effect, displaying the hubris to be telling the Divine what to do! Second, it is egocentric. It's always about some outcome that the practitioner desires. Shouldn't the practitioner be thinking solely about what the Divine desires? In other words, it's separating the practitioner from the Divine.
All egocentric desires are poisons.
One way to understand this is to realize that all dissatisfaction is caused by separation. Unless there is something such as health or food or wealth or love or peace or weight loss that you want and lack, you will not be dissatisfied.
Desires require dissatisfaction that is based on separation.
Since petitionary prayer presupposes separation from the Divine, it reinforces that separation. Therefore, it seems counterproductive in terms of curing what ails us. If 'Hell' denotes separation from the Divine, petitionary prayer is a symptom of living in Hell.
On the other hand, prayer that diminishes the distance between the practitioner and the Divine may diminish dissatisfaction. It's called "absolute" prayer, which is prayer the way that mystics pray. Its sole object is overcoming separation by union with the Divine. To live in Heaven is to be one with the Divine.
If so, then, absolute prayer may be one religious practice that is an effective spiritual practice, which is one that unifies.
Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said, "If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind; day after day he must take up his cross, and come with me" [Luke 9:23, The New English Bible].
We are not theologians, but we interpret his reference to taking up his cross day after day as his way of referring to practicing daily. (A few minutes on Sunday mornings won't cut it!)
In any case, daily practice of some effective technique is required for living well. How might this be?
Letting Go of Self
All standard techniques can work because they are all based on the same fundamental idea, namely, that it is we ourselves who are causing our own dissatisfaction. We will live well only when let go of our egocentricity.
A meditation technique is nothing more than a way of dissolving the self/other distinction. A technique is a way of reducing dissatisfaction by promoting unity. A technique is a way of dissolving the distinction between me and everything else.
This is the opposite of gaining anything, of making me (the I, the ego) somehow better. Mastering a technique has nothing whatsoever to do with self-improvement; it has everything to do with releasing one's attachment to the self. Self improvement is merely about improving one's gain/loss ratio.
There's nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these things—it's just that gaining them doesn't yield living well. Notice that, without peace of mind, nothing could make you happy! All master meditators tell us that losing egocentric attachments is the way to live well. There's nothing to gain.
Why not find out for yourself? If you begin, though, please do not focus while meditating on the benefits of meditation.
The idea is to break your addiction to compulsive thinking (conceptualizing). Doing so results in freedom (liberation, awakening from the incessant stream of thoughts).
It's simple to learn more about easy meditation techniques and how to meditate: we suggest beginning with the books we recommend below.
sidebar quotation from Eknath Easwaran: "Someone once asked the Buddha skeptically, 'What have you gained through meditation?' The Buddha replied, 'Nothing at all.' 'Then, Blessed One, what good is it?' 'Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation. . . "
Recommended books for this topic
Here are our recommended suggestions for the easy meditation techniques page.
Web pages to help you further
Listed below are the ones directly related to easy meditation techniques.
Even more of our web pages to help you further
In this the psychology section of our website we have the following pages:
You will find the direct links to those pages on our site map/index.
Beginner's Guide to Easy Meditation Techniques -- 5 Steps
Link to the video for those who might want to save it for their YouTube video list
Another Video, Easy Meditation Techniques: Mindfulness Meditation Breathing Exercises
This completes the meditation techniques page. We hope that you enjoyed it and that it will help you on all levels.