True insight doesn’t come from thinking or a book. Insight is founded in experience and can be accessed through practice. The most effective practice is that of meditation.
Meditation results in clear awareness in the absence of thinking. This is an effective state for insightfulness.
How to use meditation to gain insight:
1. Make the time. Meditation requires practice and regular effort. Early morning and late evening seem to work the best. But 15 minutes at lunch can work, too. The more time you can spare the better, but as little as 15 minutes is enough.
2. Find a quiet place. It’s possible to meditate under any conditions, but it’s much easier if you’re alone in quiet surroundings.
3. Find a comfortable position. Any position can work, provided you can maintain it without fidgeting. The full lotus position can be maintained for a very long period of time, but most beginners lack the flexibility to assume this position. Try various positions. Sitting up straight in a firm chair often works well.
4. Relax. Once you’ve found a comfortable position, breathe and relax. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. But simple isn’t the same as easy.
5. Focus on your breath. Maintain a focus on your breath. Feel the air moving in and out of your body. Why is meditation so focused on the breath? Because it’s happening right now. It’s part of your experience in the present.
* If you maintain awareness of your breathing, you can’t be thinking about anything else. And that’s exactly the goal: to stop your mind from thinking.
6. Continue to maintain focus on your breath. Invariably, your attention will wander. How long it takes to realize you’ve lost your focus will vary. With practice, it will only take a few seconds. At first, it may take several minutes!
* When you do catch yourself thinking, simply notice it and bring your attention back to your breath. Avoid beating yourself up when your concentration is less than you’d like. Continue returning to your breath.
7. Apply the same idea to your daily life. While driving, keep your mind 100% on driving. While you’re washing the dishes, do the same. When your mind wanders, bring it back to your current activity. You’ll be amazed at the peacefulness it brings to your life.
8. Enjoy the benefits. When you’re talking to others, you’ll be able to clearly see the reality of the situation by being fully present. You’ll gain insights to people and situations that you never knew existed.
* You can apply the same practice to the challenges in your life. You’ll see the truth and solutions will present themselves to you.
9. Understand what’s really happening. You’ve always been provided with insight, but your overactive mind, beliefs, opinions, and preconceptions have been getting in the way. Meditation clears away all of this noise and bias. You’re then able to experience true insight.
Allow yourself the advantage of all the insight available to you. Although it’s effective, meditating can take some time to master. You might not feel that you’re gaining any benefits at first. Keep at it. You’ll be well-rewarded for your efforts.