There are several different stages of Jhana, each one more mindful of the previous. In the buddhist meditation tradition, they are 9 focused states of mind created by periods of deep and strong concentration.
The jhanic state has for long been connected with a religious side of meditation. However, one can achieve this blissful state of spiritual enlightenment and awareness without necessarily being a buddhist. I believe that mindfulness is an altered state of consciousness that any person with the right approach can hope to reach. Removing the religious side of meditation can make the practice so much more appealing for thousands of people, so here today I will talk about the Jhanas, nine mind states that are traditionally associated with Buddhism, that anyone can reach for.
The Jhanas are experiences of enlightened states of mind and heightened spiritual awareness that you can reach through periods of long concentration. Some people can go for years meditating trying to reach First Jhana, and have no luck. The key to success is perseverance, however. It is a process of self maturation, and it is not the goal that holds importance, but the long road to it that truly matters, and how we change on the way there.
To reach the state of Jhana, you must choose a subject for your meditation. Shift all of your focus towards it: it can be a statue, a stone, or even the rhythm of your breath being drawn in and out. Different from mindfulness meditation, your attention must stay undivided on that object. Background noise stays in the background, and all other things in your field of view have to stay as if they do not exist. You can keep your eyes closed if this is difficult to you, and visualize the object of your concentration within your mind. Eventually, you will come closer and closer to reaching a state of heightened awareness, typical of Buddhist meditation.
The purpose of jhana meditation is to extinguish the five hindrances of meditation. Those are desire, anger, sloth, worry and skepticism. It is said that very few people can eliminate all of these from their life, except for enlightened ones. Normal people like us can experience their absence through deep concentration and meditation. In order to reach jhana, one must not long for it, as it would imply that he is feeling desire thus rendering the meditation useless.
To find spiritual awareness and enlightenment, one must not strive to find it. Keep your meditation steady, and try out what your mind finds more appealing. Experience the path yourself, and one day you will reach a perfect state of conciousness.