So… once you have found a quiet place, with enough privacy for you to sit down for at least 5 to 10 minutes, the best way to start meditating is to…
1. Sit comfortably. It doesn’t matter where. You can be on the floor, on a chair, on your favorite couch, or even on the edge of your bed. (Lying down is not recommended. You will see why, soon.)
If you don’t have a private area to call your own, you could simply lock yourself in the bathroom
for a few minutes. (The location doesn’t matter.)
2. Close your eyes and gently start to become aware of your environment. You may hear some sounds/noises (the ticking of a clock, voices coming from outside or nearby, birds chirping, dogs barking, etc.) You may smell something (flowers, perfume, deodorant, shampoo, etc. in your room, on you, or even something coming from outside your room.)
You may even sense vibrations or movement (from traffic, train, airplane… people walking outside or around your building, etc.) Don’t try to search for or reach out your attention out there to find stuff to pay attention to.
Simply become aware of what naturally comes to you. And, if you only feel silence, that’s wonderful.
And, try not to judge, identify or label any of the sounds or sensations either. Just let them do what they’re doing, without feeling the need or wish that any of those things should change so that you could meditate better. Just let everything be as it is.
Focus on those external sounds and sensations for a minute or two.
3. Next, gently bring your attention inwards…to your body… and start paying attention to what’s going on in your body, now… just as you did with your surroundings earlier. Notice what’s going on in your body…without judging, labeling or analyzing anything. You may notice that certain areas are tighter than others. You may become aware of a little pain or pressure here and there. You may even become aware of how your body is resting against the surface of the chair, couch, etc.
Sometimes, you may also become aware of your heart beat and/or your pulse (either around your temples, wrists, or both.)
Again, simply observe what’s going on in your body, without judging, remembering why, or needing to change anything (including any pain or tightness.) Just let them all be, as they are. And, just relax into it all.
4. Finally, bring your attention gently to your breathing. (You may have already become aware of your breathing in Step 3 above. If that’s the case, that’s just fine.) In this step, simply observe your breathing… without interfering with it, i.e. without consciously trying to breathe in and out yourself, and without wanting to speed up or slow down the breathing rate. Just let your body breathe on it’s own.
If you’re not able to let it happen on it’s own, and are pulled into controlling the breaths yourself, that’s okay. Don’t fight or resist that either.
Just observe what’s going on, even if the ‘what’ includes your own tendencies. Let all of it happen, without analyzing or needing it to be different.
5. Continue to observe your breaths without interfering with the rhythm (if you can.) You may notice that your breathing may change rhythm on it’s own, occasionally. It may become faster or slower… or deeper or shallower.
Whatever it does on it’s own, just let it be. Simply observe. After several automatic breaths, you may notice your body becoming lighter and more relaxed. And, if this doesn’t happen, that’s just fine too.
Remember, don’t try to force or wish for anything to happen. Your only job right now is to just observe. That’s all.
Stay in this observation state for as long as you’re able to. If it’s 10 minutes, that’s fine. If it’s 5 minutes, that’s fine too. And, even if it’s just one or two minutes, that’s also fine. Just stay with for as long as you comfortably can, without forcing yourself, and keep observing what’s going on. Nothing else needs to be done here.
6. Whenever you feel like stopping the process, give yourself several seconds (and up to 30 seconds, or more, if needed) and gently open your eyes again. Stay sitting for just a little bit, if you can, and just be.
Now, if you feel like getting up, you can. Do whatever you’d like, whether it’s stretching, going to the restroom, getting a drink of water, walking around a bit, stepping out for some air, or whatever.
You are done for now.
If this happens to be your first time doing this, congratulate yourself! You just did your first meditation session!