If you are new to meditation it will certainly help you to isten to the free podcast -
How to do conscious breathing - before you begin to listen to the free How to do Meditation podcast on this page.
“Meditation refers to a family of self regulatory practises that focus on training, attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control and thereby foster general mental well-being and the development of specific capacities such as Calm, Clarity and Concentration."
Walsh & Shapiro 2006
Meditation - Classic & Contemporary Perceptions
Also in 2006, Cahn & Polich* agreed the regulation of attention is the central commonality in all Meditation.
*Meditation States and Traits
Whilst back in 1988, Daniel Goleman, bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, wrote "the need for the Meditator to retain his or her attention is the single invariant ingredient in every meditation system".
So whilst there is no agreement on a universal definition of meditation it appears there is consensus on the state of attention or concentration as the common consequence of its practise.
There are many and varied schools or traditions of meditation that have been handed down over the centuries and whatever methodology used - the single commonality is attention.
How do we achieve focussed attention?
Well, we all know how to focus our attention on an easy or story we are writing, or of solving a mathematical problem or of working to a deadline.
But how many of us know how to focus our attention on the contents of our minds?
We do so by the expedient of using our conscious mind to override our subconscious breathing process for short periods of time and then to practice various exercises of the mind in order to quieten the mind and to manage our thoughts. In this way, through long hours of practice, we can learn to manage our emotions and to find a perspective on our lives that can eliminate sufferings of the self.