Meditation simply means “An altered state of consciousness through relaxation that is self controlled and self inflicted.” This is Webster's definition. There is nothing magical, mystical, religious, or nonreligious about meditation.

Think of your mind as a picture on TV. When your mind is clear, the TV picture is good. When your mind is interrupted by random thoughts (mental noise) that keep coming into your head without your control, the TV picture is fuzzy. Meditation is a way of clearing your mind so random thoughts don't interfere with your trying to focus on one thought. While meditating, you are in control of your thoughts.

The mind and the body are very complex, intricate, and intuitive instruments. If you get in a life threatening situation, changes occur to your mind and body. Your mind begins to act more keen and is able to take information at a much quicker pace. During an emergency situation, you automatically close down some senses and enhance some others, depending on the situation.

A martial artist learns how to control these mind and body changes.

Learning how to control your body is easier than learning how to control your mind. In turn, it is easier to learn to do a jump spinning hook kick than to learn to think positively.

Back in ancient times, it was believed that it was natural to think negative thoughts. It was thought that a mind left to itself would spiral down into ever-increasing unhappiness. To think positive thoughts, however, required effort, and this effort was achieved through discipline and training. Many people falsely believe “if only I didn't have financial difficulties, I'd be happy” or “if only I was out of this bad marriage, I'd be happy.” It was discovered that happiness comes not from a single set of situations, but from an overall positive attitude towards life. Meditation helps you to achieve this by your being able to control your mind, allowing yourself to think positively. If you continually think how someone has done you wrong, it will poison you. Instead, concentrate on how good the sun feels on your skin, or how a special person has given you warmth and support.

How do you meditate? Begin by sitting comfortably with your back straight. Shut your eyes. For twenty seconds, let absolutely no thought come into your head. This may be difficult at first. If any extraneous thought wanders its way into your head, relax and gently push it out. After this becomes easier, start slowly increasing the time. Later, try concentrating on only one thing. It can either be a thought, emotion, sound, or an image. Examples are:

A feeling of extreme warmth coming from a white light

Any positive emotion

A face

Any word of your choosing

A white dot against a black background

Any image of your choosing

Concentrate on only this one thing for as long as you can. Understand that your mind will wander. Know that this is natural and human. Now, you are learning not only control but also focus. After you can meditate for several minutes, try applying this controlled thought to your every day thinking. If a negative thought comes into your head, push it out and think of something positive instead.

Of course, life is not as simple as this and often bad situations must be addressed. However, we often elaborate on the petty negative and don't stop to “smell the roses.” Once you have learned that you are in control of your mind, you are on the road to becoming a happier person.