Meditation: Focus on now
October 25th, 2010
08:58 AM ET

Meditation: Focus on now

This week, The Chart and CNN's Belief blog take a deeper look at meditation, what it is and how it can change us physically and emotionally.


Everyone has busy, stressful days and feels distracted by a multitude of tasks and obligations. Many people find stress reduction, as well as physical benefits,  in meditation, as found in an ongoing study.

Here's the low-down on what meditation is and how to get started.

What is meditation?

Meditation is training in concentration, mindfulness and compassion, says Sharon Salzberg, a meditation teacher and author who co-founded the prominent Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. It is not merely relaxing, but rather training the mind in specific skills.

What are the different kinds of meditation?

There are various types of meditation, and some are very simple: One is essentially focusing on the feeling of the breath, a mantra, or a visualization, and bringing your attention back after it goes away. This is sometimes called concentrative meditation.

Another is mindfulness meditation, which focuses on developing a different relationship to everything you experience. This includes your relationship to others and to yourself. For example, if you have chronic pain, you might fear what you'll feel like tomorrow; mindfulness meditation helps live with it in the moment, Salzberg said.

Do you need a teacher to meditate?

People can get into it on their own but it's useful to have a good understanding of what to expect, Salzberg said. "If you start out with a lot of misconceptions, it's not a very fulfilling experience," she said. A teacher can help dispel myths about meditation and guide you toward accomplishing meditative goals.

How do I start?

"We start with ourselves, and developing more kindness and compassion toward ourselves," Salzberg said. Focus on your breathing, but don't get frustrated if you lose concentration after three or four breaths. Try not to think about anything except your breath for as many breaths as you can.

Try to feel one breath fully and then the next, let go and come back. In some ways it’s like exercising, she said.

It may be 10 seconds before you realize that your attention has wandered away. Don't berate yourself; be kind to yourself and gently let go of that thought, so you can bring yourself back to the breath, she said.

"That’s one example of how we change the relationship to ourselves, which becomes the basis of changing our relationship to others," she said.

How do I calm myself if I'm not in a quiet place?

"The breath is actually fantastic as a tool for that because as long as you’re breathing, you can be meditating," she says. "You don’t have to change your breath, or make it deeper, or alter it in any way. Just feel it as it’s coming in and out of your nostrils, or the rising, or falling movement of your chest."

How do I find time for meditation?

If you're at home, try meditating for 20 minutes, Salzberg says. The first five minutes will probably be a riot of "I forgot this or that," but give yourself a chance to go deeper. If you've only got five minutes, though, just try to focus on your breath for that time.

Should I have music playing while I meditate?

A lot of people say they have good experience meditating to music, but it's not necessary; whatever works best for you is what you should do, Salzberg says.

Should I meditate in the morning or evening?

Again, whatever feels best and fits your schedule, Salzberg said.

What long-term effects does meditation have?

Over time, you will certainly have feelings of greater calm, she said. "We feel more connected with our experience when we’re actually paying attention to it," she said. But meditation may also make you confront buried painful memories - it's not always easy.

Do I need to sit to meditate?

Generally a sitting posture with a straight back is recommended for meditation to let the energy flow through the body, Salzberg said. But there are also meditations designed for walking, and you can lie down if necessary.

« Previous entry
soundoff (1,074 Responses)
  1. Digital Marketing Agency Near Me

    After I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Cheers!


    May 25, 2021 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Local Marketing Firm

    I used to be able to find good info from your content.


    May 25, 2021 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Internet Marketing Services

    I was able to find good info from your blog articles.


    May 25, 2021 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. ZisseVed

    how expensive is cialis https://krocialis.com/ – how much does cialis cost at walgreens cialis online without a prescription

    May 25, 2021 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. tausAffessy

    https://cttadalafil.com/ buy tadalis https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ – tadalafil without a doctor prescription side effects for tadalafil

    May 25, 2021 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. orange county tire


    May 26, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. EncoxAni

    the medicine store pharmacy https://pharmacyken.com/ – buy latisse online pharmacy compare prescription prices

    May 26, 2021 at 01:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. rv parts and service near me


    May 26, 2021 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. orange county body shop


    May 26, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. solar panels orange county ca

    I need to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to look at new things you post…


    May 26, 2021 at 02:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Tritreviewifind

    https://tadagatadalafil.com/ cialis without prescription https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – cialis tadalafil cialis tadalafil

    May 26, 2021 at 03:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. horse trailer repair near me

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, however I truly thought you would probably have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.


    May 26, 2021 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Soosteemocush

    cialis without prescription https://tadalafilww.com/ side effects for tadalafil tadalafil brands tadalafil generic

    May 26, 2021 at 05:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Countertops Riverside


    May 26, 2021 at 05:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Mechanics Riverside


    May 26, 2021 at 07:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. camper repair shops near me


    May 26, 2021 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Technician Los Angeles


    May 26, 2021 at 09:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil blood pressure https://tadalafilol.com/ – generic cialis tadalafil tadalafil cialis without a prescription what is tadalafil

    May 26, 2021 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. international shop near me


    May 26, 2021 at 11:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Digital Marketing Agency

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article plus the rest of the website is extremely good.


    May 26, 2021 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sprinter Truck Repair

    Great post. I will be dealing with a few of these issues as well..


    May 26, 2021 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 2500 Sprinter Van Repair


    May 26, 2021 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. combigan

    brimonidine how it works brimonidine eye drops

    May 26, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. reupholster places near me

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.


    May 26, 2021 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. chassis repair shop near me

    https://go.onelink.me/v1xd?pid=Patch&c=Mobile Footer&af_web_dp=https://ocrvcenter.biz/playstar-truck-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county

    May 26, 2021 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. brimonidine

    generic combigan brimonidine

    May 26, 2021 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv repair shops near me

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 26, 2021 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. tausAffessy

    where to buy cialis without prescription side effects of tadalafil cost of cialis cheapest tadalafil cost https://tadacipetadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Furniture California


    May 26, 2021 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. RV Paint Shop California


    May 26, 2021 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. rv plumbing repair near me


    May 26, 2021 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Slide Out Orange County


    May 26, 2021 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Digital Marketing Agencies Near Me

    Itís hard to find well-informed people for this topic, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    May 26, 2021 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. rv step repair

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written much better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this information to him. Fairly certain he'll have a great read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 27, 2021 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Corazon Medin


    May 27, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Kermit Coho

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be interesting to read through content from other authors and use something from other web sites.


    May 27, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. bus repair near me


    May 27, 2021 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair California

    Wonderful article! We are linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.


    May 27, 2021 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. CrulkAsd

    max cialis dose https://cialisjla.com/ – canadian pharmacy cialis brand cialis generic

    May 27, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. EncoxHtf

    cialis melanoma https://cialishav.com/ – cialis leg pain buy cialis with dapoxetine

    May 27, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Used Forklift Cylinders California


    May 27, 2021 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. mcd shades troubleshooting

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I genuinely believed you would have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.


    May 27, 2021 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Tembepteriope

    https://apcalisetadalafil.com/ where to get tadalafil tadalafil blood pressure cialis without a prescription generic tadalafil from uk

    May 27, 2021 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. oranges for sale near me


    May 27, 2021 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Forklift Rental California

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this info.


    May 27, 2021 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Terisa Odam

    Very good information. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    May 27, 2021 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. rv batteries near me

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something too few people are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I came across this during my hunt for something concerning this.


    May 28, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. rv windshield repair near me


    May 28, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. motorhome supplies near me


    May 28, 2021 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. orange cz


    May 28, 2021 at 05:28 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Leave a Reply to FbshEncox


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

« Previous entry
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.