If you’d like to relax, take a mental vacation, gain some spiritual insight, or just clear your mind, a good way to do so is to meditate.

There are many different was to do meditation and there are even more methods to learn how to meditate.

Almost every religion has its own meditation techniques. Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Christian traditions all have some form of contemplative meditation in which you select a teaching from a sacred text and quietly consider it, looking to find the truth in it or to see how it applies to or affects your own life.

These traditions also have mystical branches that make use of meditation practices for focusing, quieting the mind or concentrating.

In the West, there are people in the scientific tradition who have sought to demystify meditation, to show you how to meditate free from the trappings required by various religious traditions.

One tricky thing when you are learning how to meditate is that each style or each tradition of meditation usually claims to be the ONLY way (and some are also arguing about WHERE they are the way to). But unless you can tell the difference, for example, between an awareness practice and a concentration practice, it’s difficult to sort out whether these kinds of claims have any merit.

I have heard mediation students argue fiercely over the proper way to position one’s hands during meditation, all because each of their teachers taught something different while claiming that theirs was "the only correct way." But can anybody seriously believe that meditation success really depends on which hand is holding the other?

With all of these kinds of disagreements, what’s the best way to cut through the politics and the mythologies if you just want to learn to meditate?

My best suggestion is to take all of it with a grain of salt. When you hear a meditation teacher claim that, "This is the way," be assured there are many others claiming the same thing about another way.

Try any type of meditation practice and see what results you get. If the effort it takes to do the practice is greater than the benefit you receive from it, then maybe that's not a good method for you.

If someone tries to tell you that your lack of results is because something is wrong with you or because you just don’t have the capacity for meditation, don’t believe them. If that's what you hear, find a different teacher, or maybe try a totally different meditation technique. And by "different technique," I am not talking about some variation of the same thing you just tried. If what you did originally was trying to focus on the breath, I am not saying to find some new way to concentrate on your breathing. I'm saying try a completely different way.

When meditation is not easy and fun, meditators, especially beginning meditators, are unlikely to continue with it. Practice meditation to add enjoyment to your life now, not to add stress about whether not what you are doing is working.

Author's Bio: 

Steven Sashen began meditation when he was eight years old, was one of the first biofeedback pioneers, and researched cognition and perception at Duke University. In addition to a successful career as an entrepreneur and entertainer, Steven has taught transformational techniques around the world and developed the Instant Advanced Meditation Course, which Dr. Gay Hendricks calls, "Perhaps the fastest and easiest way to relax, expand awareness, and find deep inner-peace."

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Steven Sashen, the Official Guide To Meditation