A nice way to settle the mind is to do the following. Stay with each stage for a few minutes before moving on, but if you feel you are ready, move on at that point:
- Sit comfortably and take a few deep breaths.
- Spend some time doing a mental ‘tour’ of your body. Imagine, as you pay attention to a particular part of your body, that any tension or discomfort simply melts away. I usually split up my body into head, neck and shoulders, arms, torso stomach and back, legs. After the tour, imagine your whole body as being relaxed and comfortable for a few minutes.
- Then pay attention to how your body feels. Your hands many feel colder than your back, for example. See where your body is in contact with your seat or cushion. Spend a few moments paying attention to these things.
- Then bring your attention to your breathing – look for physical signs of your breathing such as your shoulders rising and falling, or the rubbing of your clothing against your body. Stay with this for a while.
- Then bring your attention to the sensation of your breath in your body. It may be that there is a sensation of air movement at your nose or upper lip. Watch this sensation for a while.
- After this try to simply focus on the ‘point of balance’ between the in breath and the out breath. Don’t worry about what this means. It will make sense when you are there.
- After this simply focus on the stillness of your mind: the sheer pleasure of having a still mind.
You should not feel that you are concentrating ‘harder and harder’ as you progress. You will find, if you go through these steps one at a time, that you will natually and easily enter a very focused and concentrated state without any effort.