What we mean in reference to meditation is a technique used to improve the quality of our experiences. Like a ‘software upgrade’ after which things run with a sense of balance and ease – less hangs or blue screens. The definition also implies that one is going to engage with the world – the view or motivation is always to re-engage.
Amongst the various methods of meditation we focus on three categories scientifically shown to improve the way we relate to others and cope under pressure*:
- Attentional training – where we train to increase our ability to focus – to be able to direct and sustain our attention with clarity.
- Mental resilience – where we apply different frameworks to increase both our staying power (to be able to achieve our goals without burning out) and our bounce back power (to not be derailed by set backs).
- Cognitive intelligence – to study and analyse the process of cognition and how it relates to our emotions. By doing so we shift our mindset from one which is sensitively reacting to the triggers in our environment to one which is responding with skill and awareness. Creating freedom through understanding.
As this type of training is more subtle than our usual endevours, the approach needs to be appropriately sensitive. The keystone is the ‘relaxation pyramid’ described in more detail here – but in essence relaxation as the foundation from which we stabalise our focus and then develop clarity.