How to Meditate*
(Note: Most people call this “meditation” so I’m using that term. But this is actually what I call contemplation, not meditation. For a full explanation of the differences between meditation, contemplation and prayer — their definitions, how they work and how to use them — see Cabal Fang: Complete Study Guide from Querent to Elder.)
The best thing about meditation is that there is no goal, there are no achievements to mark off, there’s no way to measure progress and no need to do so. You just do it. And that is enough.
1. Sit down. Choose your pose — lotus, half-lotus, cross-legged, or my personal favorite, seiza. You can hold your hands any way you like. I personally like hands on thighs, but it’s your call. Eyes open or closed is fine, but when you first start out, it might be better to stare at a blank wall to avoid distractions.
2. Be quiet. Still your thoughts, allowing them to dissipate like ripples in a pond. The more you struggle against your thoughts the more ripples you will make. Don’t resist. Just allow your mind to approach stillness.
3. Breathe. Inhale, hold, exhale, hold, each in roughly the same measure (somewhere in the 4 to 8 second range is fine). Keep airways open during the hold phase — never clamp down on your breath.
4. Practice daily. Ten to forty minutes is perfect, but as little as 3 minutes will be beneficial. I meditate about 10 minutes per day with one long session per week.
* Russ, this is for you brother!