Meditation is an ancient practice for calming the mind.  In the meditative state, the mind is free from  thoughts or memories of the past,  unconcerned about  future events and free from self judgment.  Repeated studies have validated meditation as an effective tool for reducing stress and managing pain.  During meditation, brainwaves change state, from the typical beta to the resting alpha or relaxing theta state.  With the slowing of brainwaves, endorphins, natural painkillers, are released;  metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all decrease.

Most of  the hundreds of meditation practices from around the world fit into one of two categories:  transcendental meditation, the most widely studied form of meditation in America, combines features from both categories.

Mindfulness  involves focusing attention on the experience of  present moment, noticing all thoughts and feelings without judging them.  One maintains awareness of but does not react to sensations feelings and images that arise during the meditation. To practice this technique, sit or lie quietly and allow your brain to bring you whatever images or sensations it chooses.  Note these sensations gently, without interacting with them.  Maintain a calm state as images emerge and recede.  If your mind wanders off on a tangent notice this too, without judgment.

Concentration, which involved focusing attention on a single sound, an object, or a breathing pattern.  This focus effectively clears other thoughts and feelings from the mind.  To experience this, sit or lie in a relaxed posture with your eyes closed.  Concentrate on your breathing for several minutes as you inhale through your nose for a count of three and exhale deeply and slowly through your mouth for a count of five.  This website details many meditation practices and their health benefits.