MEDITATION: Techniques

Witnessing
Witnessing is a pure form of meditation. It is simply sitting in meditation and watching the thoughts that come and go without judging or commenting. It is interesting to see what our moment-to-moment thoughts consist of from a completely neutral position. With this meditation, you kind of step outside of yourself and observe. It gives you a different vantage point. You see that you are not your thoughts, but you are the thinker of your thoughts.

Gazing
Another meditation device to still the mind is gazing. The object that you look at is not really important. Traditional objects include a lighted candle, a flower, a religious image, or a picture of a guru. The main point of the exercise is to keep your eyes on a central spot because not moving the eyes restricts the input of information for your brain to process. The idea is to keep your mind quiet by keeping your thoughts simple. When you start to think about something else, keep bringing your attention back to the object of your contemplation. The goal of your meditation is to feel the quality of the object, to relax, and to enjoy what you are seeing. Pittas, because they are so visual, respond well to gazing meditations.

Listening
Meditation is centered in the idea of relaxing and non-doing. When you are thinking, you may hear but you cannot truly listen. As you center your awareness in music, chanting, or natural sounds, you experience the essence of the sound, giving yourself the experience of emptiness, clarity, and receptivity. Vatas, who are sensitive to sounds, enjoy this kind of meditation.

Meditation in Action
Everything can become a meditation, including the most ordinary everyday chores. What transforms daily activities into meditation in action is awareness and wholeheartedness. The application of the Zen principle of giving undivided attention to and really feeling the quality of each of your actions is exemplified in the Japanese tea ceremony and the art of flower arranging. We can bring this same quality of attention to our driving, standing in line at the store, or paying our bills. Being present in the moment imparts an unmistakable peace, effortlessness, and enjoyment to the “little things” that make up the greater whole of life.

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