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There are many great reasons for practicing meditation and many methods available to learn. Here is a clear and concise list you can use when shopping for a style to learn or to evaluate the mediation practice you already have. 1. Only 20-25 minutes long. If some is good, more must be better, right? Wrong. It is much better to have short focused effective sessions that leave us both relaxed and energized. If we invest too much time, excuses to skip this time become more likely. And in the long run, we eventually stop meditating. It is okay for the advanced meditator to have longer sessions, but only if the entire session is productive. 2. Begin with relaxation and deep breathing. During your meditation you will eventually forget about your breathing and it will become slow and shallow as your become more relaxed. Beginning the meditation with imaging blowing out the stresses of the day combined with deep breaths out is a great way to relieve tension. Both the imagination and the deep breaths send the signal to our subconscious to slow down. 3. Music without words. Some teachers advocate silence or using mantras to reach a sort of trance state. In truth you can reach a much deeper and much more clear place by not having any words in your brain. With some practice, it is much easier to achieve this state if you have headphones on and are listening to music. The music provides a sort of "mental bubble gum" for your brain. It keeps your brain occupied so it doesn't feel the need to fill the silence with words. Also to prevent feeding the need of your brain to have words present, the music can't have any words. At least any words in a language you understand. Also the type of music; the beat, the style, etc, can create an emotional response in you making your meditation much more effective. Upbeat music can leave you energized. Slower relaxing music can take you to deeper states of relaxation. 4. Binaural audio and headphones. Listening to music on headphones with embedded binaural beats of the proper frequency enhances meditation. The binaural beats will naturally start to slow your brainwaves down and cause the hemisphere of your brain to start to synchronize. Unfortunately this is only an advantage for the beginning meditator. These audio tracks are not recommend for advanced practitioners and will actually keep them from reaching more profound states of consciousness. 5. Touch and focus on chakras.

Focusing on the body's chakra points is an ancient and important part of meditation. Older system of meditation often required focus on each of the seven main chakra points in sequence. More and more often, modern styles have reduced this to three specific chakra points; Chi chakra, heart chakra and mind chakra. Nearby chakras are affected nearly as much as the chakra of focus and a lot of time is saved. Creating a more repeatable and focused experience. Missing from most teachings is the fact that you actually need to touch the chakra point with your hand; specifically the tips of two fingers. The high nerve density in your hand serves to increase your focus and keep your mind from wandering. 6. Both guided and unguided versions of the music. The best meditation music tracks also need to have two versions. The first version includes voice instructions over the music for learning proper technique. The guided version should be used by the advanced student once per week to make sure their form stays sharp. The second version has no instructions and is for daily use. The unguided version is where really deep states of mind are reached. 7. Twice per day. I hate to say it but improvement takes effort, just mastering at any other skill. If you want to be a great author, you have to write, write, write. If you want to get in better shape, you have to consistently go the gym and work out. If you want to become a great surgeon, you have to continually practice your skills by performing surgeries. One meditation per day is good and you will improve if you only meditate once per day. But the optimum number is twice per day. This still is a small investment of time, but reaching this state of mind twice per day for day 20 minutes each works much better than one 40 minute meditation. And the more often you reach these deeper states of mind during meditation, the more likely the skills you learn from meditation will bleed over into the rest of your day. For more information visit Higher Balance

Steve has studied and practiced the techniques and knowledge from Higher Balance Institute for over 3 years. He has also attended numerous Higher Balance retreats and received one-on-one training from Eric Pepin several times.

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