What is Meditation?
Meditation is a contemplative practice in which you gently train your attention to be in the present moment by selecting an “object of attention” (something happening in the present) to focus on, such as the feeling of your breathing, the sensations in your body, sounds, or the feeling of taking each step while walking. After settling your attention on your chosen object, you practice noticing when your attention veers away from that object. Usually it veers into thinking about something from the past or the future. Each time this happens – and this is likely to be many times during a single meditation session – the practice is to patiently, and without judgment, return your attention to your chosen object. Meditation has been described as “simple but not easy”. Over time, with regular meditation practice, you develop the capacity to notice more, including things that were previously outside of your awareness. You come to see how your mind works and what kinds of things occupy your attention most of the time (typically repetitive and unhelpful patterns of thought that keep us mindlessly and automatically repeating unhelpful behaviors). With your strengthened sense of awareness that comes from your meditation practice, you can begin to consciously choose how you respond to life in the moment, rather than reacting automatically based on over-learned habits of mind. Life begins to flow with more peace and ease.