Getting started with mindfulness meditation:
It is a delicate balance -
In meditation, as in all arts, there has to be a delicate balance between relaxation and alertness. If you concentrate too much you will give yourself a headache. If you relax too much you will fall asleep. You do not want to apply too much tension nor too much slack. You want to keep your alertness alert, but at the same time be relaxed, so relaxed in fact that you do not hold on to the idea of relaxation.
When you begin to meditate you will find that your thoughts will run riot and become wild, probably more than ever before. But this is a good sign to begin with. Far from meaning that your thoughts have become wilder, it shows you that you have become quieter, and you are finally aware of just how noisy your thoughts have always been. It is at this stage that you must not become disheartened and do not have thoughts of giving up.
Simple mindful meditation practice:
1. Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion - but you do need to set aside some time and space.
2. Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, the goal is simple: we are aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgement.
3. Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment – to your breath.
4. Return to listening to your breath. Our breath anchors us to the present moment. Each moment that you return to your breath you release your mind from grasping to your thoughts, to your emotions and to your day dreaming.
5. Be kind to your wandering mind. Do not judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.
That is the practice. It is often been said that it’s very simple, but it is not necessarily easy. The work is to just keep doing it. Results will accrue.