With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, many people feel stressed and overworked. It often feels like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation as explained below can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance.
If we want to cultivate crops we begin by making careful preparations. First, we remove anything that might obstruct their growth from the soil, such as stones and weeds. Second, we enrich the soil with compost or fertilizer to give the plant the strength to sustain growth. Third, we provide warm, moist conditions to enable the seeds to germinate and the plants to grow.
When the object appears clearly, through our contemplations, we leave our analytical meditation and concentrate on the object single-pointedly. This single-pointed concentration is the third part, the actual meditation.
When we first start to meditate, our concentration is poor. We are easily distracted and often lose our focus. Therefore, to begin with, we probably need to alternate between contemplation and placement meditation many times in each session. For example, if we are meditating on compassion we begin by contemplating the various sufferings experienced by living beings until a strong feeling of compassion arises in our heart. When this feeling arises we meditate on it single-pointedly. If the feeling fades, or if our mind wanders to another object, we should return to analytical meditation to bring the feeling back to mind. When the feeling has been restored we once again leave our analytical meditation and hold the feeling with single-pointed concentration.
Dedication directs the merit produced by our meditation towards the attainment of Buddhahood. If merit is not dedicated it can easily be destroyed by anger. By reciting the dedication prayers sincerely at the end of each meditation session we ensure that the merit we created by meditating is not wasted but acts as a cause for enlightenment. For this reason, meditation can remove stress and replace it with a dose of inner peace. It’s one of the best tools we have to balance our emotions, deal with physical and psychological distress, and promote the peace of the present moment.