Lots of people ask how to get started with meditation.
Here are simple instructions for learning how to meditate. Choose a quiet place. Sit comfortably on a cushion, on the floor or in a chair. Your back should be straight, but not rigid. You can learn more about meditation postures in the “Meditation Cushions and Postures” category of this blog.
Rest your hands in your lap or on your thighs or knees. Close your eyes or gaze softly at the floor with your eyelids half-closed.
Bring your attention to the room where you are sitting.
Hear the sounds. Feel your body at its touchpoints — feet on the floor, thighs on the chair/cushion. Notice your breathing.
Without trying to control your breathing, pay attention to the incoming and outgoing breath. Feel your breath as it enters and leaves your body — at your nostrils, diaphragm, abdomen, or wherever your breath is most dominant.
When you notice that your mind has wandered, gently and without judgement, return your attention to your breath.
Practice these five simple steps for a just a few minutes a day, and then slowly work up to longer sessions. Don’t expect that your mind will go blank or stop thinking. Gently notice when it wanders and come back to focusing on your breath.
It’s been said that meditation is simple, but it’s not necessarily easy! If you are new to meditation, these wonderful teachers can help you begin a meditation practice: Sharon Salzberg and Pema Chödrön. Our New to Meditation archive has inspiration from these great teachers, plus advice on which posture and meditation cushion will keep you comfortable from the start.