You have to let it all go, Neo, fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.
We have dedicated a separate chapter to meditation techniques recommended by the Buddha. Although there are many other meditation techniques that can get you concentrated quickly or get you into a higher meditative states, but can lead you to more attachment with self and lead you astray from the path of attaining Nirvana. Readers are recommended to read material from other sources for correct method of meditation.
There are basically two types of meditation – Samatha(Concentration) and Vipassana (Insight).
Vipassana or Insight meditation aims towards practically observing the realities of impermenence, anatta and dukkha internally and externally, to see things as they really are, and thus reducing our attachment and leading toward attaining Nirvana. Vipassana is best practised under the guidance of an experienced teacher and hence will not be covered in this book. You can enrol for a course on Vipassana at your nearest Vipassana Centre.
Samatha or Concentration meditation aims to calm the mind, reduce mental chatter and gain higher meditative states (known as Jhana). There are more than 40 types of Samatha (Concentration) meditation each with different goals and suited to different types of people. They are all covered in Satipatthana Sutta. Satipatthana Sutta is also known as the Discourse on the Foundations of Mindfulness.
1. Mindfulness of body: Easy to break bad habits and also helps in improving awareness in daily life. We are aware of whether our hands are relaxed, the position of our head, whether we are leaning forward or backward, whether we are very relaxed or strained.
2. Mindfulness of breathing: (Covered in Mindfulness of body but mentioned separately due to its simplicity and benefits) Very simple steps and easy to learn and practice. We are mindful of our breath as it comes in and also as it goes out.
3. Mindfulness of sensations: We now when a sensation has arisen which helps in controlling our thoughts that arise as an effect of sensation. Whether the sensation is good or bad or neither good nor bad, without giving any reaction and just observing it with calm mind.
4. Mindfulness of thought: We are aware when a thought has arisen and when it has ceased and thus controlling it on time and also leading to controlling our actions based on these thoughts.
5. Mindfulness of thought objects: We now when a thought has arisen, how it continues and how it then ceases. How one thought gives rise to another thought. How the arisen thought leads us to actions.
6. Loving Kindness (Metta) Meditation: This meditation is done to reduce our anger and develop loving kindness towards all beings. Thus this meditation reduces hatred and generates love in us. Anger and hatred is one of the three root cause of suffering.
Five hindrances in meditation
1. Skeptical doubt
3. Sensual Pleasures
4. Restlessness and Worry
5. Sloth and Torpor (Laziness)