There are many forms of meditation
Meditation does not work in a straight or linear way
Meditation quiets the mind and emotions thus calming the body's physiological functions
Meditation maintains an important balance when training in the art of Kung-Fu on a continuous basis
There are many forms of meditation that have been studied and practiced over the years but often the essential reasons for meditation are overlooked or misunderstood leading to confusion for the beginning student.
First and foremost, meditation should never be forced or pushed to achieve a specific result or objective. Meditation does not work in a straight or linear way. It links directly to our subconscious mind, the foundation for our feelings, emotions and intuitions. These facets of our being fluctuate and change constantly therefore a direct line of approach with the inevitable expectation of results is very counterproductive. The main purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind and emotions which in turn calms the body's physiological functions. If meditation is forced with expectation of results and achievements the mind will race with thoughts, the breath will not soften or settle and the energy in the body will mirror the state of tension induced by performance deadlines/expectations.
There are two main categories of meditation which are focused meditation and unfocused meditation. Each category can arrive at the same outcome using different techniques:
Focused meditation uses techniques to keep the mind concentrating on one or two things to the exclusion of all else. After a period of time the mind, which naturally likes to wander, will tire from the focus on particular thoughts and actions. When this occurs excess thoughts and mental energy will dissipate bringing the mind into a feeling receptive state instead of a creative active situation.
Unfocused meditation allows thoughts and images in the mind to flow unhindered in a random or linear progression without analysis or attachment to what is experienced. The thoughts play themselves through as soft, centered breathing is performed. Again, the mind uses up its excess mental chatter and yields to feeling sensations within the body. The feeling of body sensations is the beginning of understanding the chi flow (life energy) and its effect upon our health and well being.
Meditation maintains an important balance especially when training in the art of Kung-Fu on a continuous basis. The calmness that meditation develops softens and regulates our response to the study of combative self defense techniques. As applied to Tai-Chi, meditation will reflect in body movements that are both flowing and firm so that a student may Learn in Strength and Live in Peace.