Different meditation techniques – or rather different anchors – work better in different emotional environments.
I meditate three times a day. I used to do 2 20 minute sessions and before that I did 2 5 minute sessions. I enjoy the practice so much that I haven’t found it hard to do it more often. In fact I find the opposite to be true.
The technique I began with was this: I would pay attention to the feeling of my hands in my lap. Whenever I was distracted I would bring my attention back to my hands. Simple.
I found that this technique didn’t work so well in the morning. My mind was springing all over the place. This could be something to do with the neuro-chemistry involved with waking you up. For a while I fought this. I would stick it out and just build up a feeling of annoyance. This annoyance was no doubt caused by me wanting to get to that state of peace that comes during and after a good meditation.
One morning I thought I’d try a different approach. Instead of keeping my attention on the feeling of my hands in my lap I’d let my attention wander. The only restriction I gave was that when I realized I was lost in thoughts I’d bring my attention back to the hands and then immediately let it wander again. I also tried to keep it focused on sounds and feelings rather than thoughts. This worked a treat.
I didn’t get the same depth – or rather the same type of depth. When I meditate on the feeling of my hands and I’m able to keep my attention fixed there I find that my body goes to sleep but I stay awake. My breathing becomes very deep and regular, everything becomes louder but quieter (if that makes any sense). I think it’s called a trance. Anyway it’s very pleasant. When I let my attention wander I find that a peace arises but it’s a more lively peace.
I’ve also found that when I’m feeling anxious – especially on or before a date with a woman – that meditating on the feeling of anxiety is incredibly powerful. This is because the feeling of anxiety prior to such an event is often so intense that it’s easy to maintain focus on. I’ve found that through maintaining focus on the feeling the feeling goes away. Then there’s a period of calm – a hiatus – before the inevitable thought “I’m going to meet a very attractive girl who I want to like me” pops in and causes a fresh wave of anxiety to focus on. This whole process has become a pleasure rather than a torment because of this.