Thich Nhat Hanh recommends 5 meditation techniques that rewire your brain to live in the present moment


To become successful and joyful, you must succeed in generating inner peace. But when our lives are full of chaos, it can be difficult to work out exactly how to go about it.

One of the best and most consistent ways is through meditation techniques. Meditation is a great practice that helps us relax and find inner peace.

The problem is it can be hard to figure out how to practice meditation properly, if you haven’t got access to an expert. We will talk about some Thich Nhat Hanh mindfulness techniques that will help you.

So below, we’re going to go over meditation techniques from none other than the Zen Buddhist Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. Enjoy!

1) Mindful Breathing

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, this is the most simple and basic meditation technique but also the most useful. Why? Because we’re always breathing. You can literally practice this anywhere, anytime, even if it’s for 15 seconds.

The main crux of this technique is that you simply focus on your breath.

Here is Thich Nhat Hanh explaining how to go about it:

“Please, when you breathe in, do not make an effort of breathing in. You just allow yourself to breathe in. Even if you don’t breathe in it will breathe in by itself. So don’t say, “My breath, come, so that I tell you how to do.” Don’t try to force anything, don’t try to intervene, just allow the breathing in to take place….

“What you have to do is be aware of the fact that the breathing in is taking place. And you have more chance to enjoy your in-breath. Don’t struggle with your breath, that is what I recommend. Realize that your in breath is a wonder. When someone is dead, no matter what we do, the person will not breathe in again. So we are breathing in, that is a wonderful thing….

“This is the first recommendation on breathing that the Buddha made: When breathing in, I know this is the in-breath. When breathing out, I know this is the out-breath. When the in-breath is long, I know it is long. When it is short, I know it is short. Just recognition, mere recognition, simple recognition of the presence of the in-breath and out-breath. When you do that, suddenly you become entirely present. What a miracle, because to meditate means to be there. To be there with yourself, to be there with your in‑breath.”

2) Concentration

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, concentration is a great source of happiness. Concentration simply means focusing on something, whether it’s your breathe, a flower or a body part. You could literally point your focus on anything, and as long as you keep that focus, you are practising mindfulness.

It’s recommended that you choose an object where you don’t have to scan your eyes. Buddhist monks tend to use a candle flame. If you get distracted by your thoughts, simply return your focus back to the object. You can start this for one minute and then keep on increasing the time as you get more practice. Thich Nhat Hanh explains why this is so powerful:

“Anything can be the object of your meditation, and with the powerful energy of concentration, you can make a breakthrough and develop insight. It’s like a magnifying glass concentrating the light of the sun. If you put the point of concentrated light on a piece of paper, it will burn. Similarly, when your mindfulness and concentration are powerful, your insight will liberate you from fear, anger, and despair, and bring you true joy, true peace, and true happiness.”

3) Awareness of your body

This is the technique Thich Nhat Hanh recommends to use to get in touch with your body. All it involves is a body scan where you turn your focus to each of your body parts one by one. As you’re going through your body, release any tension and simply try to relax. Thich Nhat Hanh says that this is powerful because we rarely experience this in daily existence. Our body is there but our mind is elsewhere.

Thich Nhat Han recommends to use this mantra: “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body. When you practice mindful breathing, the quality of your in-breath and out-breath will be improved. There is more peace and harmony in your breathing, and if you continue to practice like that, the peace and the harmony will penetrate into the body, and the body will profit.”

4) Release tension

guy lying on the grass using Thich Nhat Hanh mindfulness techniques

The next exercise is to release tension in the body. When you start becoming aware of your body, you’ll notice tension in different parts of your body. Therefore, it is very important to learn how to release the tension in the body.

Thich Nhat Hanh explains how:

“So next time you’re stopped at a red light, you might like to sit back and practice the fourth exercise: “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body. Breathing out, I release the tension in my body.” Peace is possible at that moment, and it can be practiced many times a day—in the workplace, while you are driving, while you are cooking, while you are doing the dishes, while you are watering the vegetable garden. It is always possible to practice releasing the tension in yourself.”

5) Mindful walking

Remember the first technique? When you practice mindful breathing you let breath take place without effort. You simply enjoy it. The same thing is true with mindful walking. Thich Nhat Hanh says it best:

“You don’t have to make any effort during walking meditation, because it is enjoyable. You are there, body and mind together. You are fully alive, fully present in the here and the now. With every step, you touch the wonders of life that are in you and around you. When you walk like that, every step brings healing. Every step brings peace and joy, because every step is a miracle.

The real miracle is not to fly or walk on fire. The real miracle is to walk on the Earth, and you can perform that miracle at any time.”

Different Types of Meditation Techniques


http://www.speakingtree.in/slideshow/8-basic-kinds-of-meditation/258664


Mindfulness. Zen. Acem. Meditation drumming. Chakra. Buddhist and transcendental meditation. There are countless ways of meditating, but the purpose behind them all remains basically the same: more peace, less stress, better concentration, greater self-awareness and better processing of thoughts and feelings.

This is your brain on meditation
But which of these techniques should a poor stressed-out wretch choose? What does the research say? Very little – at least until now.
A team of researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the University of Oslo and the University of Sydney is now working to determine how the brain works during different kinds of meditation.
Different meditation techniques can actually be divided into two main groups. One type is concentrative meditation, where the meditating person focuses attention on his or her breathing or on specific thoughts, and in doing so, suppresses other thoughts. The other type may be called nondirective meditation, where the person who is meditating effortlessly focuses on his or her breathing or on a meditation sound, but beyond that the mind is allowed to wander as it pleases. Some modern meditation methods are of this nondirective kind.
“No one knows how the brain works when you meditate. That is why I’d like to study it,” says Jian Xu, who is a physician at St. Olavs Hospital in Trondheim, Norway and a researcher at the Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging at NTNU.
Two different ways to meditate
Fourteen people who had extensive experience with the Norwegian technique Acem meditation were tested in an MRI machine. In addition to simple resting, they undertook two different mental meditation activities, nondirective meditation and a more concentrative meditation task. The research team wanted to test people who were used to meditation because it meant fewer misunderstandings about what the subjects should actually be doing while they lay in the MRI machine.
The results were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Nondirective meditation led to higher activity than during rest in the part of the brain dedicated to processing self-related thoughts and feelings. When test subjects performed concentrative meditation, the activity in this part of the brain was almost the same as when they were just resting.
A place for the mind to rest
“I was surprised that the activity of the brain was greatest when the person’s thoughts wandered freely on their own, rather than when the brain worked to be more strongly focused,” said Xu. “When the subjects stopped doing a specific task and were not really doing anything special, there was an increase in activity in the area of the brain where we process thoughts and feelings. It is described as a kind of resting network. And it was this area that was most active during nondirective meditation.”
Provides greater freedom for the brain
“The study indicates that nondirective meditation allows for more room to process memories and emotions than during concentrated meditation,” says Svend Davanger, a neuroscientist at the University of Oslo, and co-author of the study.
“This area of the brain has its highest activity when we rest. It represents a kind of basic operating system, a resting network that takes over when external tasks do not require our attention. It is remarkable that a mental task like nondirective meditation results in even higher activity in this network than regular rest,” says Davanger.
Meditating researchers
Most of the research team behind the study does not practice meditation, although three do: Professors Are Holen and Øyvind Ellingsen from NTNU and Professor Svend Davanger from the University of Oslo.
Acem meditation is a technique that falls under the category of nondirective meditation. Davanger believes that good research depends on having a team that can combine personal experience with meditation with a critical attitude towards results.
“Meditation is an activity that is practiced by millions of people. It is important that we find out how this really works. In recent years there has been a sharp increase in international research on meditation. Several prestigious universities in the US spend a great deal of money to research in the field. So I think it is important that we are also active,” says Davanger.