Current research estimates that the average person has over 60,000 thoughts per day, 90 percent of which are replications of our thoughts from yesterday. Moreover, people spend almost half their time worrying, and 90 percent of those worries never come true.
On the other hand, most of us can remember those glorious moments when we experienced unbound love, sparks of wisdom, and understanding; the moments when we felt total harmony with the world around us and harmony within ourselves. If we could only manage our restless mind and apply it with greater efficiency in the present moment!
Learning and practicing meditation can set us free from unnecessary worries and enrich our perception and senses. Although various meditation traditions and techniques exist around the world, they can be roughly divided into four broad categories: concentration meditation, reflective (or insight) meditation, mindfulness meditation, and creative meditation.
Concentration meditation is the basis for all other kinds of mediation. Concentration is vital for overcoming distractions and maintaining mental focus. Imagine pouring water freely on a flat surface; it will instantly become a shallow patch of water that will turn stagnant in the points of depression. But if you channel this same water in one direction and keep it under pressure, it can carry tremendous power. The mind works similarly. Let it roam freely, and it will have little power, it will simply fill the available space. However, the concentrated mind can become a powerful carrier of our intentions.
Through the ability to concentrate, the mind can acquire greater calm, stability, and clarity so that confusion, anxiety, and lack of attention become problems of the past. Further, concentration is used in the other major kinds of meditation mindfulness, reflective, and creative. In addition, the power of concentration can be applied to developing physic abilities.
Reflective meditation can be defined as disciplined thinking. You choose an idea, situation, or question and focus your contemplation on it. When your mind wanders, you bring it back to the subject of your reflection gently but firmly. This kind of meditation is traditionally used for gaining greater insights into the nature of death, life, the meaning of life, or the question of your own mental quest, be it relationships, a scientific puzzle, or daily problems. The secret to gaining revealing insights is your ability to direct your attention repeatedly to your chosen theme and staying open to whatever arises in your mind from that experience.
Mindfulness is a state of awareness in the present moment, when your mind is relaxed and conscious of your experience, including thoughts and feelings, sensations and breathing, and accepts everything with an attitude of non-resistance and equanimity. Thus, you can experience everything fully without self-criticism or clinging to your personal identity and importance.
The majority of our problems arise from our lack of awareness and mindless actions in our lives. The practice of mindfulness can help us improve focus and concentration, enhance the quality of our communication, manage stress, increase our efficiency, and build self-confidence.
While concentration and mindfulness bring more focus and awareness into our lives, creative meditation helps us to transform and apply the habits of the mind with greater efficiency. Creative meditation can help us with developing and strengthening the particular qualities of our nature. It can also invite more possibilities and potentials into our lives. For example, creative visualization, one of the most used methods of creative meditation, can assist us with fulfilling personal desires, such as succeeding in professional life or attracting happiness.
Our subconscious mind does not discern between imaginative and real-life stimuli. Although an impression may last only seconds, the subconscious mind can trigger similar emotional, mental, and psychological reactions repeatedly. Thus, by bringing desirable emotionally charged images into our awareness we can exercise productive control over our imagination and influence the positive qualities of our mind.
We all know that we can train our physical body and gradually develop stamina and flexibility by exercising regularly. The same rules are true for the mind; numerous studies have demonstrated that it is possible to develop greater intelligence, creativity, and other mental capacities. With the diligent practice of meditation, your mind will become more clear, composed, and powerful, and you will be able to apply it to any task or activity with mindfulness and superior efficiency.