By focussing the mind on something, it gradually becomes calmer, allowing more awareness and clarity to emerge. The object of concentration could range from a meditative object, a sound, a visual image or a physical sensation. Concentrative meditation practices can lead into deep states of absorption known as dhyana in Buddhism.
One Simple Way To Practice -- Sit quietly and focus on your breath. You will notice yourself getting absorbed in the rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. Almost without effort, your breathing will become slower and deeper, leading to the mind becoming more tranquil and aware.
Four Step Guide
- Follow the breath as it enters and leaves the body and count after the out-breath.
- After the first breath, count 'two', and so on up to ten and then start again from one.
- Count comes before the in-breath.
- Stop counting and attend to the sensations of the breath entering and leaving the body.
- Focus your attention on the tip of your nose where the breath first comes into contact with the skin.
Why It Works
Experts believe there is a direct correlation between breathing and the state of the mind. An anxious, stressed out, frightened, or distracted person tends to have breathing which is shallow, rapid, and uneven. A person with a calm, focused, and composed mind has slow, deep, and regular breathing.
Benefits of Concentrative Meditation
- It will improve your ability to focus and concentrate. Distractions won’t have near as strong a hold on you.
- Expect an increased sense of serenity and relaxation, and decreased psychological and physical stress.
- With time, the serenity will pervade your everyday psychological stance, so that you are less easily upset, less easily frustrated, and more able to face the events that occur in your daily life.
- Experienced mystics enjoy an efficiency of emotion. Experiences of anger, depression become less frequent while experiences of contentment, happiness, and even joy become more frequent.
- In a small minority of people, it is possible that this practice has a negative effect. You may become more tense, or suffer from increased depression. If this is the case, stop. See a psychotherapist. This technique makes it particularly convenient to incorporate affirmations and creative visualizations into your meditation routine. When thoughts and images that interrupt your meditation occur, you can isolate them and use affirmations and creative visualization to re-construct an alternative positive interlocking constellates of beliefs and attitudes to substitute the self-defeating ones.
Transcendental Meditation or yoga nidra: Popularized by the Bihar School of Yoga, originates from ancient Hindu meditative techniques. The objective is a total detachment of the mind, retreat into the inner-self, away from "illusions" (maya) of the real world.
Mantra yoga, involves concentration on a sacred sound by ritualistic chanting, until the mind attains a trance-like state of samadhi (a state of mind, where it is only responsive to subjective impressions.
Tantric Buddhism Popularised in Tibet, complex images of Buddha are visualised and sacred sounds or mantras are recited.