How to start meditating?

A shamatha session:

The most important thing about the posture is that your body is relaxed and comfortable, either on a cushion on the floor or in a chair,  and that you have a straight back (not tight straight, but soft straight). Don’t have your hips on a lower level than your knees. Close your eyes and start the session with becoming aware of the body, so that you allow the whole body to be free of tension or any tightness, completely relaxed. Dedicate a couple of minutes for this, releasing any tension with the out-breath until your body is fully relaxed. Then shift your awareness from the body to the breath, and follow the breathing without trying to control the breath in any way, just let the body breathe by itself. Direct your full awareness and concentration on the breath and try to stay on it without losing the focus. Single-pointedly follow the whole breath, either throughout the whole body or through the sensations in the nose when the air is entering and leaving the nostrils. If you notice that your mind starts to wander and gets caught up in thoughts or stories, become aware of it and gently bring your mind back to the breath. Don’t try to push the thoughts away either, just let them pass. Don’t pay any attention to them, just stay on the breath and nothing else. If you find it difficult, don’t create any frustration but instead have a kind and gentle attitude towards yourself and to the practice. Just try to stay on the breath uninterruptedly to the best of your ability. Do this for 15-25 minutes, preferably in the morning before breakfast. 

General advice:

  • Have a fully relaxed body with a straight back.
  • Have a kind and gentle attitude towards yourself and the practice.
  • Using the breath will allow you to stay in the very present, and it will place the body and mind in the same place, at the same time. You become a “whole” being.
  • Neither get involved or push away (suppress) thoughts, images or memories. Just let them pass, without feeding them. Your only focus is the breath. 
  • 3 things that makes you a good meditator: put effort into the practice, be patient and have no expectations (don’t look for any results).
  • Use a timer to keep the same amount of time in each session (start short) and stick to it. After some time you may extend the session if you feel comfortable with that.
  • Also, try to meditate at the same time of day (morning for example) and stick to it. This will create a good habit. 
  • Go into the session with a sense of joy and kindness towards yourself instead of forcing yourself to meditate.