The term “meditation” is loaded. There are a wide range of meditation techniques, and philosophies on meditation. In Western culture, meditation is usually associated with sitting in a funny position, and humming to yourself, or doing Yoga, or something weird.
Meditation is not weird. It’s so simple it can be confusing. Meditation is: conscious thinking. That’s it.
What is conscious thinking? It’s an exercise in will power, just like lifting weights, or going running. The only difference is that your will power is focused on the flow of thought in your mind.
Humans are addicted to thought. Our thoughts usually move out of compulsion – not out of decision. Just like a child who eats candy until sick, we indulge in thought until our suffering forces us to change our behavior.
However, I bet you’ve caught yourself thinking something mean, and decided not to think that way. I bet you could control the flow of your thoughts if you really decided to try. For example, suppose you decide to think of an orange. I bet you could sit there, and think of an orange for a solid minute.
Sure, it’s a little silly to just sit there and think of an orange. But isn’t it a little silly to lift a weight, and set it back down, and lift it back up, and set it back down? Isn’t it a little silly to run in circles?
The point isn’t to think of an orange. The point is to exercise control over the flow of your thoughts.
But really, there are lots of ways to exercise control. For example, you could just decide to think about a particular topic, without distraction. Why did you get mad at your coworker? What’s the best way to spend your next paycheck? What goals do you have for the next year? Pick a topic, ask yourself a question, and focus your mind on contemplation. Spend an hour focused solely on thinking about a particular subject.
Or, you could go for a walk and focus on the air entering your lungs the entire time. You can decide to focus only on how your breathing feels.
These are all examples of meditation. It’s about stopping the compulsive, uncontrollable thoughts, and consciously choosing what flows through your mind. It’s very simple.
Think about it.