By Brendon Buchard
One of my biggest frustrations when I started meditating was how complicated it was. I would read entire books on meditation, but I never really learned how to do it—they just talked about how great meditation is, and the evidence is conclusive.
Countless studies tout the incredible benefits of meditation, from lowering people’s stress and anxiety to helping them have more attention and focus, helping them do better on tests, activities at work and increasing their reported happiness. It’s almost a magic method for improving people’s lives mentally and psychologically, and many people would argue spiritually as well.
I’m going to teach you a very basic tool and strategy for meditation that’s caught on. It’s called “the release meditation technique.” It’s so straightforward and easy that anyone can do it. It’s mantra-based, like most of the great meditational techniques they’ve been able to prove by science to give an actual psychological effect over a period of time.
When you close your eyes, your brain is like a big stirring and lots of things are going to come up. That’s OK.
I’m going to give you a word, and you’re going to focus on that word with your eyes closed. Your whole focus is simple: to have that word repeating in your mind over and over again, very softly. Keep repeating, even when thoughts come up, which they inevitably do during meditation. So many people say, “I can’t meditate. My brain is too active.” It’s by meditating that you learn to slow down, control and master your brain.
When you close your eyes, your brain is like a big stirring and lots of things are going to come up. That’s OK. That’s going to happen during your first couple sessions and maybe during your first couple of weeks of meditation. But at some point, less and less thoughts will pop up, and you’ll return to the mantra and find yourself in this bliss state where your brain waves get in a position/frequency to feel better. During the first couple of meditations, you might not feel anything, and it’s just a nice quiet break from the day; other times, you will find that you feel incredibly refreshed and renewed.
I practice this technique for 20 minutes twice a day. Sometimes I implement it when I’m shifting tasks; if I’ve been answering emails all day and now I’m going to write, I sit in the dignified relaxed position. I set the alarm on my phone for 20 minutes, close my eyes and do the release meditation technique. I go within and repeat this mantra, and in 20 minutes, I’m fresh and feel like I just woke up in the morning or had a great nap. Now I can write creatively, unattached to all my previous activities. I also use this technique when I’m home before my wife; I meditate before she gets home, so when I meet her, I’m fresh and mentally clean, and open to be present in the moment.
I encourage you to use this practice twice a day. Maybe you do it in the morning and at lunch, or at lunch and when you get home from work. Find spots to do it. But you don’t have to do it twice a day. Just begin. Just start.
Give yourself a 10-day meditation challenge. During the next 10 days, try to meditate at least once a day for 20 minutes, following the release meditation technique. Trust me, you’ll feel it. It’s a sensation, a presence, an aliveness and freshness that most people have never experienced in their lives.
At first and if you’re tired and your body needs it, you might fall asleep. That’s OK; let it happen. Whatever you’re going to do, that’s cool. Our goal is to focus on this mantra; the mantra itself is the word release. Close your eyes and repeat the word release over and over, and when a thought comes up, feel it and sense it—just don’t follow it. Don’t obsess about the thought, come right back to the word release.
For me, I often start the meditation verbalizing it just to pick up my rhythm and get it in my head so I can focus on it. When you use your voice, your mind commands its focus to that verbal aspect of communicating; it can help you focus and rid yourself of thought. So you might start with your eyes closed and with that rhythm. Release… release… release… release… release…
When a thought comes up, I see it, but I’m going to release it and come back to the mantra.
You can use your own word at that rhythm, but I like the sound of release because the “r” has a rhythm, a sound to it, and the second syllable helps keep it mantra-based for me. It reminds me to let go of. And for me, letting go helps me to think of releasing two things: my thoughts and my tension. When a thought comes up, I see it, but I’m going to release it and come back to the mantra. It also reminds me to release tension in and around my body to find that looseness, that relaxation in my muscles.
It will feel clunky at first, certainly throughout the first day or two as you’re learning to do it, but by the third, fourth, fifth, sixth day, you’ll go into such a unbelievable state of mind and you’ll start feeling more energized throughout the day, more present and less stressed. Most important, you’ll feel refreshed throughout the day.
Close your eyes and go within. Allow your body to rejuvenate in mind and spirit.