How to Meditate

Meditation is a very simple activity, however most people find sitting quietly difficult, because we spend most of our daily lives always doing something, in the pursuit of goals and reward outside of ourselves. Our minds are very complicated, always wanting something extra. As we start looking into this mind, however, it gradually starts to get much simpler and satisfied. We can develop “enough mind,” in which everything is already complete. Then we can see the sky, only blue. We can see the tree, only green.

RenĂ©e Descartes once said, “I think, therefore I am.”

Zen says, “No thinking, then what?”

So in meditation we sit cross-legged, or kneeling, and place left hand on right, thumbs lightly touching, to form an oval with your hands and fingers. This hand position, called a moudra, is kept at the waist, just below the navel. Keeping your hands in your lap, near your tanjen or energy center, helps as a way to keep our attention on our breathing. Breathe naturally and deeply, into your abdomen, making the out-breath twice as long as the in-breath. The shoulders should be relaxed and slightly back, and the spine relaxed but upright, head tilted slightly down. The eyes are half-open, but out of focus, resting on a point on the floor a few feet away. The attention is inward, to the breathe, and often a mantra. A good mantra for beginners is, on the in-breath clear mind, clear mind, clear mind and on the out-breath, a long donnn’t knowww. Focusing on the breath, on the moudra, and on the mantra can help you keep your attention in the moment.

Then, as you sit, thoughts will naturally appear and disappear. Don’t attach to the thoughts; just watch them, and let them go. Every time you break your mantra and go off into thinking, notice, and just go back to the mantra. Breathing in, clear mind, breathing out, not knowing. Clear mind, clear mind, clear mind, don’t know.

Time yourself. Start at 5 minutes, then move on 10. Start regularly sitting, 15 minutes every day, at the same time every day. So, every day right when you wake up, stretch a little bit and then sit 15 minutes. Then, if you have time, sit 15 minutes in the evening. Morning and evening sitting on a regular basis can help us effectively digest our everyday experiences and develop compassion and wisdom.

Compassion and wisdom us make peace within ourselves. Not that there won’t be bad things happening in our life that affect us and make us angry, frustrated and sad, but we begin to accept these things and stop suffering from them as much. Because we realize that not only us but everyone has “ancient twisted karma,” or in other words, mental baggage, that affects what we say, do, think, like and don’t like. We see our patterns much more clearly, and can use this insight to help other people.