Any ideas? I can feel energy going through my bod but I can only keep it up for moments at a time. Do you have to concentrate on something or do I have a misconception of meditation? I simply use it to relieve stress.

-Thank you for your time. -15 year old boy.

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  • [This is a copy of a previous reply to a question about meditation. Don’t worry about special altered states experiences. The real treasure is in seeing clearly and being loving, and that comes from just being authentic and immediate and present.]
    .
    I recently offered the below description of a meditation instruction for someone asking specifically about “mindfulness meditation.” The basic idea is simply to be very present with your current experience — even more present, as it were, than thinking about your current experience.

    ~~~
    In mindfulness meditation, the idea is to cultivate a simple, intimate awareness of some on-going aspect of the present moment. A most commonly effective way to do that is to practice mindfulness of the breath.

    You directs your attention to the sensation of breathing, wherever you typically notices it most distinctly — at the nostrils, or in the throat, or in the rise and fall of the chest, or in the belly. And just be aware of those sensations, without judgment or any attempt to make yourself breathe any way other than the way you normally do.

    Some people find it helps them stay present with the sensation of breathing (rather than get caught up in thoughts about something else) if they count their breaths. There’s a number of ways to do that; one way is to breathe in, breathe out, and simply know “one”; in, out, “two”; etc., up to ten … and then either start over at one, or count backwards from ten back down to one.

    When you can maintain an aware connection with the breath more or less stably, and not spend long stretches of time caught up in thinking about something else instead, then you can extend the mindfulness practice this way: when some other sensation comes up with some noticeable force (like hearing a sound, or feeling an itch on your face), allow your awareness to move from the breath to that other sensation for a moment. And just notice what it’s like — again without judgment. When you see yourself start to make some kind of story in your mind about that sensation (thinking about what it “means” or how much you like it or you don’t like it), then stop and gently move the direction of your awareness back to the sensations of the breath again.

    Mindfulness meditation can also be practiced with walking — doing things like noticing the physical sensations on the soles of your feet as you slowly walk back and forth for a while.

    There are lots of other modifications or additional techniques (for instance, softly “labeling” the kinds of experiences that come up — like “thinking, thinking,” or “itching, itching,” or “warmth, warmth”, and then going back to the breath; or, in walking meditation, to pay aware attention to the INTENTION to move your foot, or to the quality of pleasantness/ unpleasantness/ or neutral feeling in the sensations you experience). But the above is a general basic core of mindfulness meditation. This approach is taught especially in Theravada Buddhism, also known as Insight Meditation or Vipassana.

    You can do these kinds of meditation for, say, 15 to 20 minutes, and, with practice, extend the length of time.

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