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High Intensity Meditation

When I was sixteen-years-old, my master began to teach me sitting meditation. Having seen the monks sit for hours, I prepared myself for lengthy meditation sessions so I was surprised when after only two-minutes of sitting cross-legged in the meditation hall,  my master rang the bell. 

Meditating in short bursts is how many Buddhist traditions teach their novice monks and students. (It’s not necessary to be a Buddhist to do this, anyone can benefit from this mind training.) High Intensity Meditation keeps our meditation fresh and means we never slip into dullness. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose a reference point. For me it was the statue of Buddha in the meditation room. It can be any object or image that inspires you, your breath or a mantra like om mani padme hum.
  2. Sit Straight. You can sit on the floor or a chair. Make sure that your back is straight and your shoulders are relaxed. Your hands rest gently on your lap.
  3. Think whatever you like. The aim is not to stop thinking but to gently rest your mind on the object that you’ve chosen. Thoughts are not the problem. Give them freedom to arise but don't follow them. 
  4. Take It Easy. Meditation can only work if you relax. Keep your eyes slightly open. Your tongue touches the top of your mouth as in Qigong. Take 3 deep breaths when you begin each two-minute session to exhale stale air.
  5. HIT Meditation. Meditate for 2 minutes, take a 1 minute break. Repeat 4 or 5 times.

My master said to me: if you leave your house, you don’t notice the thieves. When you are in your house, you notice every thief. Better to know your enemy. If you’re not used to meditating, the rush of thoughts can be overwhelming but the more you meditate, the more they begin to slow down.

Never meditate after a heavy meal as this will make you too sleepy. If you meditate after work, do some Kung Fu or Qigong first and finish your physical session with meditation.

You can do High Intensity Meditation at any time of the day. The aim of High Intensity Meditation is to still our body speech and mind. Let me know how you get on in the comments below.



  • Andrew Smee

    Thank you, Sheh Sheh. There is a plethora of very good research that indicates that the benefits of meditation are enhanced when combined with any form of physical exercise( See Goldin et al Social phobia and Mindfulness) This helps one to “get into the body”, and become even more aware of sensations. I am a mindfulness instructor. May all suffering be abolished.

  • Karl

    So if I do HIT Meditation…. it is all at one time.. is that a good method… so for instance… I choose to repeat four times… that is 4 times 2 minutes which equals 8 minutes plus 4 one minute breaks ( what do you do in break) and so that comes out to a 12 minute meditation…I have my own form where I do 5 to ten minutes sitting up or lying down.. just focus on biggest inhale… holding breath… and then slowly biggest exhale…. in and out completely with breath…. that is all…

  • Stephen bond

    I will practice this I lost my dad last month so will help a lot

  • Ian Edwards

    Interesting idea with a good description of when to do this. We had a meditation taster session at work but it put a big emphasis on long meditations and separate from any other activities. I like how you’ve made this practical and linked to daily life and training too.

  • Dan

    Can you share why it is suggested to keep eyes open slightly? Thank You Shifu!

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