I hold the popular view that the first step of meditation is "to sit." ... Big deal, certainly, but to do only that - to only sit - is actually quite challenging, as our wonderful brains are so very well equipped to accomplish things and stuff. However, take faith that your mind can attend to all those things it needs to - and the stuff - LATER.
For now: sit.
Say whatever you need to say to yourself to welcome you onto the chair/floor/mat/etc, like "clear your mind," or, the dreaded "relax..." or, "shhh..." Repeat, as much as you like.
I call this "walking over the bridge, heading to the door."
Travelling into your instruction (clear the mind, relax, shh, etc), all kinds of thinking will arise. Each item will want to hold your attention: "go to the store, buy things, write an email, don't forget, beware, I hate so-and-so, my life is super..."
If you divert an attention to the physical energy fuelling these arising items, you'll soon notice that the energy has a similar force between each of them - if not outright identical - regardless of the subject matter.
Continuing to discover thinking in terms of physical energy,
thoughts themselves begin to ring out less loudly,
less audibly, as if fading away.
I call this: "the door comes into view."
Continue "viewing," "the door." And as the thinking continues to subside, please know that there is the pitfall of thinking "Eureka! I'm enlightened." ... Well... I have some news for you... Simply gaining an awareness of the energy which thinking consumes, is a great beginning. :) It is a delicate skill which can vanish from your life in a heartbeat regardless of how long you have practised.
The quality of your energy is not necessarily relevant at this juncture. People experience all kinds of emotions after they begin sitting and the stirring thoughts start to relax and loosen. Don't worry about this for now - we'll save that for Part II. For now, just focus at how your mind is capable and ready for thinking. That's all you need to do. Keep it physical, and keep it real: I am not going to teach you how to levitate into the clouds and live happily ever after on the moon. I promise...
( ...Okay, maybe later ... ;)
Thinking itself, is of course not bad. Thinking is merely one way we accomplish 'things and stuff.' Thinking, is the way I created this blog post, yet my intention, is that I want very much for people to be able to exercise the meditative mind in a very technical way, and then develop a stamina for this quality of mind.
How you personally apply the technique to your life is your own business and pleasure, and I would be most happy to hear of how you are doing.
Aware of the thinking energy, viewing the door, now how do we go in...
Well... this is where I would usually fall asleep(!)
Captivated by the physical energy of thinking, and, as is common, held captive by my thinking, I was actually quite weak to hold any attention and concentration upon Mindfulness without having some voice or coaching to keep me moving along through life... That is, with the babble subsiding, my mind needed a serious break(!) After quite some time of giving myself this break routinely, slowly I began to develop Concentration, and slowly after that, Insight. But these are topics for much later posts, and I look forward to sharing them with you then :)
There is a popular expression in the business of salvaging and re-purposing (using scrap materials to create new functional things) which goes something like this:
Indeed: some old doors make the finest and most interesting places to sit.
In Part II we'll discover
"opening the door."
Much love to you,