This is a simple guide to basic meditation for beginners. The technique has changed very little over the past 3000 years. What has changed is our understanding of meditation. We now know that meditation can be used to combat stress and fatigue and to lower blood pressure. You don’t need any special equipment or training to practice and it costs you nothing but an hour a day. So give it a try. You’ll be amazed at what it can do for you.
No one posture is right or wrong. The correct posture is the one that feels comfortable to you. For years practitioners have invented awkward positions to accentuate the different skills associated with their arts. None of these positions are necessary for the average practitioner. Good thing too, because none of them are very comfortable for long term meditation. My favorite posture is to simply lie flat on my back with a pillow under my head and my arms lying flat at my sides. Standing postures hurt my knees and sitting postures hurt my back and hips. If you suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia or lower back or knee pain this is probably going to be the most comfortable position for you to meditate in as well. This is also an excellent way to meditate just before bed time. You will never have a better night’s rest like the one you will have falling asleep during meditation.
With your eyes open, begin breathing deep into your belly, relaxing your chest and letting your stomach rise and fall with every breath. Concentrate on the path that your breath is taking as it enters your body. Breathe in through your nose and imagine the breath moving up into your sinuses, over the top of your head, down through the center of your body and into your belly. Feel the breath swirling around in a circle in the center of your belly as you inhale and then swirling back out as you exhale. Do this until your eyes become so heavy that you cannot hold them open any longer and then close them softly.
Now begin to concentrate on nothing. This is the most difficult hurtle for beginning practitioners. The thing that you have to remember is that thoughts will come. It is a natural part of the process. Don’t try to suppress them but don’t dwell on them either. Simply acknowledge their presence and then let them pass. The thoughts will eventually subside and the mind will grow quiet, allowing you to enter a place of absolute tranquility. Your body will feel light and your mind clear.
Generally it takes about an hour to reach this state of mind. That time will decrease as you gain more experience in meditation. The one thing that you can depend on is that it will always happen shortly after you decide that you have had enough. When your body grows stiff and you become bored with the meditation, you are almost there. So don’t give up! Serenity is right around the corner.