When we meditate our goal is to keep our attention stable on our meditation object while preserving our awareness; and when distractions appear we simply return our attention to our object.
The meditation object is something that we choose and decide to be the center of our attention during our session.
When being a beginner it’s not very easy to find your object as you don’t know what works for you yet. That’s why the first period of meditating is always a period of experimentation.
During your experimental period, that can last weeks or even months, you should try several different meditation objects, to find out what inspires you and fits you the most. Don’t feel pressure that you have to find your object within a limited time.
When I first started meditating I was doing a lot of visualizations. It was easier to focus on that, and it also helped me settle in with my practice and slowly find out what works for me.
I was doing a specific visualization, to find my intention, or when I had rough days -when something was bothering me- I was visualizing my problems drifting away into the sky. You can find both visualizations here (day 5 and 6).
I have made a list of various meditation objects below. You can be switching in-between them every couple of days or weeks, and let your sense lead you to your object.
It’s important that your attention flows to the meditation object in a natural way. That way you will not feel any pressure towards it. Another important point is to find a meditation object that doesn’t create any “big” emotions to you.
- The most common meditation object is the breath.The breath is something natural and it’s always there.
You can choose to focus on a specific part of your body that is being affected by the breath, like the chest or the belly movement as you breathe in and out; or your nose (how you feel the air cold in the inhalation and warm on the exhalation), or observing the breath like an integrated bodily procedure.
Counting your breaths can also be an object of meditation. Make your goal counting until 10 and each time you’re being distracted, start your counting from the beginning.
Even if you don’t choose the breath as your object it’s always a good way to start your meditation session.
- Sound. You can be listening to music and focusing on a specific instrument or focusing (without music) just on hearing.
Don’t forget that you should accept the sounds in an objective way, without judging them or letting emotions or feelings arise.
- A mantra that is being repeated again and again. Further explanation about the mantras.
- A physical object. You can choose any object you want and place it in front of you, little lower from your eye level. You can also place it a couple of meters away from you, on the floor.
Start to observe the object. Observe the lines, the edges, the surface, it’s color, does the color change under the sun? Observe the object while being objective, without thinking if you like the color or not, or thinking “I would prefer it to be smoother”. Just observe and accept.
- A physical object as a visualization. This means first observing an object of your choice, and then closing your eyes and visualizing it.
- A chakra. Focusing on the physical point of the specific chakra and visualizing the specific chakra color. You can also breathe in soothing light to the specific chakra. There are many ways to do it. More about the chakras.
- Emptiness or nothingness. Focusing on the feeling of your simple existence without anything pertaining to self.
Emptiness can very easily be misinterpreted, that’s why you should practice it under the guidance of an instructor.
If you want further explanation you should read, “The Integrity of Emptiness”, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
- A mental quality. Like love, joy, balance, peace, compassion, gratitude, equanimity etc.
(This can be quite difficult for a beginner)
Some of these meditation objects are explained, as in a meditation session, in the weekly schedule that I have created.
Feel free to write down any thought of yours in the comment field below 🙂