The Posture of Meditation
The spine is upright, with its natural curves.
The hands are resting on the thighs.
The arms and shoulders are relaxed.
The back of the neck is relaxed, which allows the chin to come down.
The gaze is downward; the eyelids are half shut.
The face and jaw are natural and relaxed.
If you're sitting on a cushion, keep your ankles loosely crossed. If you're sitting on a chair, keep both feet firmly on the floor.
Take the posture of Meditation
Make a clear and precise beginning to your practice: Now, I will begin to work with my mind and develop peace.
Place your mind on the breath. stay with its flow, which soothes the mind, allows for steadiness and relaxation, and reduces discursiveness. This is ordinary breathing; nothing is exaggerated. If you're having a hard time staying with the breath, you can count the in and out cycles; in and out - one; in and out - two. If you use this method, count seven or twenty-one breaths and then start over. If you become distracted and lose county, start over again at one. Once you are more focused, you can drop the counting.
When you notice that you're caught up in thinking, acknowledge it. Label it thinking, if you wish. Recognizing and acknowledging the thought allows it to dissipate as you return the placement of your mind to the breath: Now I am placing my mind on the breath.
Talking about your meditation practice with someone else and being part of a community of fellow meditators can be a tremendous support.
Calm the mind by resting on the breathing.
When you feel ready, bring up a certain thought (i.e. compassion, love, abundance, mercy, etc) or intention in the form of words.
Use these words as the object of meditation, continually returning to them as distractions arise.
In order to help rouse the heartfelt experience of their meaning, think about the words. Bring ideas and images to mind to inspire the meaning.
As the meaning of the words begins to penetrate the heart, let the words drop away, and rest in that.
Conclude your session and arise from your meditation with the meaning in your heart. Meaning is direct experience, free from words.
Now enter the world aspiring to conduct yourself with the view of your contemplation. For example, if you have been contemplating the preciousness of human birth, your view will be one of appreciation.