This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by James Connor
Most meditation focuses on breathing, but I find that the most powerful techniques are based on an essential principal: to meditate on what you want to become.
If we use the meditation techniques from ancient Hindu or Buddhist texts, remarkable transformations of the mind are possible. We can open our hearts, eliminate anger and raise our consciousness, all of which have a direct effect on the process of our own evolution as human beings.
Here are four ancient tips to get the most out of your meditation:
1. Invite an enlightened being into your meditation.
To clear obstacles from your mind and life, the most powerful meditation object recommended by the ancient masters is to invite an image of an enlightened being into your meditation. Who you invite is up to you, but choose someone with qualities that you would like to emulate — a God of your own understanding.
For example, bringing your vision of Jesus or the Buddha to mind can be helpful. Or, you can imagine yourself in your future enlightened form. Have fun with it and make it personal.
Contemplate the good qualities of the being you’ve invited to meditate with you. Then ask a simple question: “What do I have to give up to be more like you?”
When you listen, remarkable wisdom can show you what you need to give up and take up.
2. Wish happiness for all beings.
It’s a great power when you are able to wish happiness for all beings, regardless of how they treat you. So how do you develop this powerful attitude of heart? First, contemplate a basic truth: Everyone wants happiness. Even when people act out or act badly, it’s because they are trying to get something they believe will make them happy.
The next time you sit in meditation, think about how nice it would be if everyone could find happiness. Then, wish happiness for everyone and send that wish out on rays of light from the center of your chest as a form of loving kindness.
Notice if you have any blocks. Are you holding happiness back from certain people? Be like the sun and shine equally on everyone.
3. Bring some wisdom to your meditation.
The wisdom of change has been around for a long time, but we often often forget it when it comes to meditating. Too many people say, “I can’t sit still,” or, “I can’t meditate,” and they lose before they even begin.
Just as Heraclitus told ancient Greeks, “You can’t step in the same river twice,” remind yourself that you can’t sit on the same meditation cushion twice. You’re not the same meditator and the cushion is also subtly changing. It doesn’t matter how your meditation went yesterday, or how it starts at the beginning of a session. Things change. When you realize that your mind can change in an instant, you raise your belief level for what is possible. Give yourself permission to get better, and watch results come faster.
4. Raise your motivation level.
Perhaps the best qualities of superheroes are that they never give up, no matter how hard things get. They are willing to sacrifice themselves to protect others.
When you go to your meditation cushion, raise your motivation level beyond just yourself. Start each session by saying, “I’m going to focus and still my mind, so I can become a better person to help others.” Meditate for everyone. When your mind is happy, peaceful and still, you bring that energy to the world. Everyone in the world benefits — and that is the action of a true meditation master.