Today, the mantra heard everywhere in modern society is... "turn down the noise!"
Whether that means dealing with urban traffic and pollution, or coping with personal or professional demands we encounter everyday, why not instead try to quiet your mind?
It takes a bit of practice and discipline, but with no more than 15-20 minutes of meditation each day, you will almost immediately begin to enjoy and look forward to your moments of gentle physical and mental relaxation.
Those who make a habit of meditation often comment that the practice of calming the mind often results in the entire body becoming poised to withstand everyday physical or emotional demands - without having to sacrifice an inner feeling of happiness and inner peace.
Try it and see if it doesn't make a difference. As the Zen masters say, the objective is not the goal, but the journey.
1. The early morning is the best time to meditate because it is then that you have the most energy, are the most alert, and have more control over your environment.
Set the alarm a few minutes early every morning to leave yourself enough time to sit quietly and meditate before the day's events. Sit upright in a straight back chair, or sit on the floor on a soft cushion in the traditional lotus position.
2. The lotus position requires that you sit upright with your spine perfectly straight, your legs crossed, and your arms relaxed. Your limbs don't have to be in any special position, as long as they are relaxed. If you feel any muscles tightening, work on each area or adjust your spine until you begin to lose the tension in all your muscles, and attain the sensation of floating.
3. Meditation is often described as "relaxed alertness". Let any thoughts or emotions come unbidden. If a worry arises, greet it and let it go. Like clouds that pass in the sky, another thought will soon arise to take its place.
Concentrate on your breathing, which will eventually become steady and rhythmic. In the beginning you may want to say a mantra, such as "aum" to help clear your head of any thoughts and reduce the chatter in your mind.
4. If you feel your mind wandering, gently pull your attention back to your mantra or the sound of your breathing, and stay composed.
If your eye starts to wander to the clock in anticipation of getting ready for work, use a gentle alarm clock to signal when meditation time is over.
5. Although the main attempt is to erase all thoughts and achieve a state of "no mind", don't expect results right away. But even on days where you make the attempt, you will notice yourself reacting more calmly to events and in a happier and refreshed state of mind.