io9 has an article about learning to meditate, which seems pretty solid. But also pretty long. So, look, here’s the deal:
- Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.
- Focus your attention on your breath.
- If you think about something other than your breath, accept that you’ve thought about that, complete the thought, release it, and return your attention to your breath.
That’s it. That’s meditation. It’s simple (but not easy). If you do this for five minutes every day, a variety of studies show that you’ll probably start getting some mental benefits out of it. If you do it for longer, you’ll probably get more benefits.
It’s not easy because at first you’ll constantly be thinking of other things. And you won’t necessarily “feel” like you’re being productive.
But it’s not long (maybe a dozen practice sessions) before you can start to (occasionally!) feel a deep release in those moments when your attention is truly on your breath.
All the other stuff about meditation is worthwhile to know about, but kind of secondary. Sit down. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on your breath. When you get distracted, don’t beat yourself up, just consider the thought, let it go, and return your attention to your breath. That is honestly, seriously the core of meditation. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do it very well, but it takes no time at all to understand what you’re trying to do.