Sit in a comfortable position where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and relax into deep abdominal breaths, then allow the breaths to become quiet and gentle. Focus on each breath, how the air feels coming in through the nostrils on the inhale, fills the lungs, how it feels on the exhale. If you find yourself following a thought, simply bring the focus back to your breath. Continue to do this for 20 minutes (or 2 minutes, 5, 7, or 15 minutes, and work your way to 20 or more). Open your eyes and notice how the world seems a little more brilliant, and how daily tasks are accomplished more easily in less time.
That’s it! Yup, it’s that simple.
Now, the discipline to sit down and be quiet may be a little trickier. I love the saying “Discipline is remembering what I want.” So, I remind myself that I want to be peaceful, graceful, relaxed as I move through life, and meditation trains me to come into that state of being. My puppy mind settles down and gets quiet in the background. I also want to be healthy, and during meditation I move into the relaxation response where my heart rate slows, blood pressure decreases, assimilation of nutrients increases, and my immune system steps up to the plate. With everything else relaxed, the lymph system can work more effectively, making lymphocytes in the lymph nodes, and eating up toxins in my system. Voila! I am healthier.
I have been meditating since the early 70’s, and love all the styles and techniques I have practiced. I have paid good money for mantras and I still use them sometimes. I am excited about all the research that is being done to prove the incredible benefits of meditation. I believe the practice of meditation is changing the world. And aside from this wealth of information about the immense complexities of meditation, it is just this simple. Sit down, relax, and focus on breath!