for months will bring rewards, but to hope for "magic" and, as a result,
forsake better forms of treatment would be a mistake. Meditation is
worthwhile as a relaxant alone (see Benson). If it also brings you a few
insights from time to time, that's a bonus. There are no miracle self-
STEP TWO: Find a daily time and place to meditate
Set aside one-half hour each day. Select a time when you are least
pressured. Of course, it is essential to have a quiet, uninterrupted
place, perhaps your room, a church or a private spot outdoors.
STEP THREE: Get into a comfortable, alert position and withdraw
Sit in a comfortable, relaxed position. Do not lie down, the head
should be free to move. The classical position is the crossed legs, but
any sitting position is fine, e.g. in a simple straight back chair. Then
close your eyes (unless focusing on a visual object). Sit quietly for a
minute or so, letting your body relax and your mind forget the external
pressures on you. Withdraw to within yourself.
STEP FOUR: To free the mind, focus on something constant
The purpose is to free the mind. Thus, no demands should be
made on it by the external world or by your own directions or wishes.
The way pressure is removed from the mind is to focus your attention
on one thing, e.g. (1) the flame of a candle, (2) your own breathing--
the internal sensations in the nose, throat, chest and stomach created
by breathing, or (3) a simple pleasant sound (called a mantra), such
as "oohmm" or "hoomme," made every time you exhale.
When images or thoughts do occur to your mind, don't be
concerned, don't pursue them or push them out. Remember, you are
giving up control. Just relax and when the thought is finished, go back
to focusing on the candle or breathing or sound. The focusing should,
with practice, become effortless.
STEP FIVE: Let the mind go free, observe it
You merely continue to focus your awareness on something
(candle, breathing or sound); it is not determined concentration. Don't
insist that your mind stay on the focus, which would be controlling
your thoughts. Give up control, just let things happen. Thoughts,
plans, memories, and fantasies will enter your mind. You may get lost
in a thought for a little while. That is fine. When the thoughts have
passed, return to your focus of awareness. The mind should be left
free, "on its own." Occasionally, it will seem as though nothing is
happening. That's fine too. Stay relaxed. It is all natural. Your attitude
is important; be serious, calm, interested, optimistic, tolerant, relaxed,
and open to new insights but not pressing for them.