What’s the Best Way to Achieve a Meditative State?

The most useful meditative state is mindfulness, which requires enough concentration to remember you’re in a body here, and now.  The basic meditation instructions given at the beginning of most Vipassana sittings or books can guide you to this state.  They suggest you watch the sensations of breathing, noting when thoughts arise and inviting attention back to the breath, over and over.

There are many other states you might call “meditative.”  We don’t really achieve any of them, though.  We just create the conditions for these states to arise.  Any experienced meditator will tell you it doesn’t always “work.”  We all have days when the mind won’t do what it’s told.  That’s why we call it practice, and it benefits us whenever we do it, no matter what the results.

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