- Many of the techniques I’m about to recommend are means by which to amplify the effects of something known as “just sit” meditation. That said, they can also have wonderful effects when applied to other forms of meditation, such as those that involve following the breath.
- Just sit meditation is, in my opinion, the ultimate form of meditation, and a practice into which every other meditation technique can eventually transition. Attached below is the best “just sit” instruction video I have ever come across. Funnily enough, the instructions are given not by a Buddhist monk, but a Silicon Valley entrepreneur / angel investor. While the whole video is worth watching, the instructions for the practice are given at 4:17.
- I almost always meditate wearing a blindfold, as I find the darkness helps to amplify almost every form of meditative practice.
And now, the 5 ways:
- Do yoga beforehand. Yoga is used in many traditions as a means by which to prepare the mind for meditation. I’ve always found it much easier to go deep in a meditation session if I’ve done 30 to 45 minutes of yoga immeditaly prior.
- Do the 10 Points Practice before a session of breath based or just sit meditation. The 10 Points Practice has been described by its creator, Dr. Reggie Ray, as a technique that can induce breakthroughs in those who often struggle to get results with more traditional forms of meditation. It is simple, and incredibly relaxing. Side note: I only do the 10 Points Practice immediately prior to going to bed, as I find that it’s nice to have a full night’s sleep to integrate whatever it brings up. It can be done on its own, or prior to a session of just sit.
- Wake up at 2am to meditate. I discovered this technique largely by accident (or was it?). One morning, after waking up at the aforementioned hour and being unable to fall back asleep, I decided to meditate. Some incredibly interesting things happened, which inspired me to repeat the practice many times since. Side note: If you try this technique, I think it’s best to meditate for at least an hour, and to try to go back to bed after you’ve finished, because doing so can lead to some amazing dreams. Also, I’ve often had great results when coupling this technique with the one described next.
- Begin an hour long “just sit” meditation session with a question or a request. There are many spiritual traditions, such as Tibetan Buddhism and Amazonian Shamanism, in which a period of time spent in a non-ordinary state of consciousness (such as meditation) is preceded with a question or request. For example, prior to beginning an hour of meditation, you might think to yourself “Please help me understand the root cause of my anxiety” “How can I become a better musician?” “What do I want to say to my spouse?” After posing this question to your subconscious mind / the Universe / God / whatever you believe in, you let it go. You don’t try to think of an answer. You simply sit, and let your mind do what it wants. When I do this, an insight related to the question/request often rises, seemingly out of nowhere, either at some point in the meditation, or in the following day. If you want to learn more about the Tibetan Buddhist way of doing this, I’d recommend reading Somatic Descent.
- Meditate for an entire day while wearing a blindfold. Sit upright without back support if you can, at least for long portions of the day. You can take the blindfold off to eat and go to the bathroom, but aside from that, just sit and see what comes up. Every time I have done this practice, my life has shifted in some very interesting ways in the following days. Just sit is a great primary technique to employ during a full day meditation. However, I’ll usually spend good portions of full day sits following my breathing, and scanning my body for places where I’m subconsciously tensing a muscle. Whenever I release this tension, any form of excessive thinking / rumination tends to reduce in intensity.