In true meditation there is none of the nonsense about emptying the mind or stopping your thoughts, or even contemplating your navel. That having been said, the Buddha listed roughly forty different methods of meditation and other ancient texts speak of over one hundred different ways to practice. There are more than enough books that go into the details of meditation methods, so I will refrain from doing that here. Just be aware that if you are having difficulty meditating, there are methods that might help put you into the ideal frame of mind.
Everyone is different and the methods of reaching a perfect state of meditation differ for each individual. It is important to find a method of quieting the mind and relaxing the body that suits you particularly, but remember not to get caught up in the method itself. The act of sitting quietly and breathing is what is important. Set aside whatever time you can spare (five minutes in the morning and evening is plenty to start). Remember you are not doing this for anyone but yourself. It makes no difference to anyone if you sit for five minutes or five hours. It is the state of existing that matters. Awareness of the thoughts in the mind and the breath in the body is all you need to be concerned with.
The body and the mind are reflections of each other. If you can calm the mind the body relaxes. If you can relax the body the mind will still. Bringing the mind in line with the body is the practice that allows the two to work in harmony. Breathing and meditation are the most important skills to do this. Having some keys to concentration while breathing and meditating is of great assistance. The keys relate to the quality of breathing and provide a framework for meditation. By focusing on these keys, we can clear the mind and bring help our body relax.
Silent Breath and Slow Breathing are the keys to help you concentrate on relaxation. Instead of hearing ourselves breathe the silent breath is felt within the body. We put our attention on the feeling of the lungs being filled. If we also slow the breath it relaxes the entire breathing process and lengthens the breath to a point where we reach a calm and natural state. Silent and slow breathing calms the body, relaxes the mind, and brings peace to the spirit.
Deep Breath and Long Breathing are the keys that help you draw the air fully and completely into your body – not in the sense of inhaling to the maximum and tensing up the muscles, but in the sense of actually feeling the breath reach all of the deepest spaces inside you. Keeping your chest muscles relaxed allows the breath to fill your lungs to their capacity. Inhalation and exhalation are lengthened to allow the body time to become used to the deep expansion of the lungs. The longer and deeper the breath, the more in tune with ourselves we become. Deep and long settles the body, clears the mind, and stimulates the spirit.
Soft Breath and Continuous Breathing are the keys that bring completeness to your breath. Breathing softly loosens our mind’s control over the it and allows us to reach a deeper level of awareness. Keeping the breath even and steady leads the mind to a meditative state where thoughts begin to flow with the breath. Continuous breathing is a circle. Inhalation leads to exhalation which in turn creates inhalation. These three bring the body and mind together in a clear and relaxed state that allows the spirit to grow and develop
With the tranquility that meditation brings, comes an appreciation for life as you begin to truly observe the world around you. You also begin to experience improved health as your body relaxes and functions naturally without the blockage that stress and tension bring. Meditation is simply the practice of existing in a quiet place and turning the attention inwards. By concentrating on your breathing and letting your thoughts flow of their own accord, you can find a deep inner stillness that will help you deal with the stresses and tension of life.