There are numerous schools of meditation, each with its unique breathing, posture, and movement systems. However, the majority of meditation techniques can be divided into two categories: awareness meditation and concentration meditation. The former promotes inner tranquility, while the latter encourages internal energy development.
Mindfulness meditation is intended to reconnect us with the present moment. Many people think of meditation as a way to escape or transcend reality, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Mindfulness meditation is a return to reality, not an escape from it. Every day, we are either looking forward or looking back. We're thinking about our day at work and looking forward to our Friday night date. Because our minds are distracted, we rarely encounter the fullness of our present world.
We can open ourselves up to the power of now by abandoning our normally ego-driven behaviors for a few minutes of stillness. In mindfulness meditation, there is no requirement for formality. You can walk, dine, or sit quietly while observing, listening, smelling, feeling, tasting, or even watching your own thoughts without judgment. It's okay if your mind wanders, just stay attentive and watch it. As you observe your ideas, you will notice that they fade away and your focus returns to your current reality, both inside and outside.
Sitting meditation is the most basic kind of mindfulness meditation. This can be done anywhere and at any time, though it may be easiest in a quiet natural setting with minimal interruptions. Your posture should be decent, your breathing should be long and steady, and your limbs should be relaxed. You don't have to force yourself to focus on anything or tune out your thoughts; simply observe. Pay close attention to your surroundings as well as to yourself. Don't pass judgment. Living in the moment brings peace.
Concentration meditation is the other type of meditation. This sort of meditation is good for developing internal energy and manipulating it for healing or, in the case of martial arts, injuring. Concentration meditation is more formal, requiring internal focus to the exclusion of all other feelings, hence the name. It starts with a breathing meditation in which the breath is brought down deep to a position a few inches below the belly button and a few inches inside the body. This is the location of the body's energy.
To do this meditation you should have a straight back, a little inclined forward head, arms relaxed and resting on one's lap if seated, and the tip of the tongue placed to the roof of the mouth behind the palate. Touching the tongue to the roof of the mouth joins the two primary meridian lines that run through the front and rear of the body, allowing energy to flow freely. Then, while mentally focusing on that location, breathe deeply into the lower belly and slowly exhale.
If you experience a whirling sensation or heat in the lower belly, you're ready to circulate this energy down to the sphincter and up along the spine, over the top of the head, and out through the mouth. The first step may take a few months to a year of consistent practice; the second stage may take roughly the same amount of time, depending on your own sensitivity to your energy. The ability to channel one's energy through the arms and project it forth is the foundation for good health and, later, the power to heal others.
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