Each meditation practice typically requires a different mental skill. It is often extremely difficult for a beginner to sit for hours and think of nothing or to have an “empty mind.” In general, the easiest way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath (see concentration meditation above).
The following meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.
- Sit comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Do not attempt to control your breath in any way. Just breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath. Observe how your body moves with each breath. Pay attention to the movement of your body as you breathe, especially your chest, rib cage, shoulders, and belly, as you inhale and exhale. Whenever your mind wanders, gently return your attention back to your breath.
Start out doing this meditation for two to three minutes. After you are comfortable doing it, try extending it for longer periods of time.