If you’re curious about meditation but aren’t quite sure where to start, here’s what you need to know.
If you are seated on a cushion, cross your legs loosely in front of you and if you are on a chair, place your feet flat on the floor.
When you’ve found a comfortable posture, place your hands, palms down, just above your
knees or at mid-thigh. Let your shoulders and belly relax.
Tuck your chin a little bit to bring some length to the back of the neck. Your mouth should be closed with the lips slightly parted. Let the jaw relax and enjoy this brief period of time when you don’t have to say anything.
In this practice, the eyes remain open. The gaze is soft and cast slightly down, to a spot about six feet in front of you. It’s not like you’re staring at that spot or at anything in particular. It’s more like vision is streaming out from your eyes and mixing with space like the rays of the sun, instead of focusing on one specific area. It doesn’t matter what your gaze comes to rest on, just let it settle on a spot six feet in front.
Once you have established your posture, feel your body breathing. Each breath is different. Can you tell how? There is no need to breathe in any particular way, just allow attention to ride the breath like waves in the ocean.
At some point, you may notice that your attention has drifted away from the breath and become absorbed in thought. That is absolutely no problem, whatsoever. Often, I hear people say things like, “I tried to meditate but I couldn’t stop thinking! There’s no way I can do it.” Well, of course you can’t stop thinking! Trying to stop thinking is like telling your nose not to smell anything. It can’t help it, that’s just what a nose does. This is what trying not to think is like.
Instead, just let your thoughts be as they are. Most of them won’t distract you too much. However, should a particular thought run off with your attention, as you notice this, here is all you have to do: let go. The content of the thought has no bearing. It can be beautiful, important, hideous, or boring. Just let it go. And then gently come back to your breath.
When you have established your body, breath, and mind in the practice of meditation, try to sit for around 10 minutes per day. It’s better to sit for a short period every day than a longer period on some days. Consistency is more important than duration.