In order to meditate effectively you need to be relaxed. Most people carry far more tention than they realize, both in the body and in the mind. Until this is released, it is hard to enter into a condition of stillness.
Progressive relaxation exercise:
- Close your eyes. Make sure your spine is erect. Take a few deep breaths, drawing the breath deep down into your chest, feeling it expand. Just focus entirely on your breathing, allow other thoughts to simply to come and then go.
- Now expand your ribcage, then your upper chest. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then let it out gradually in reverse order, first from your upper chest, then the rigcage, and finally from your abdomen. Again, keep focused on your breathing.
- Exhale until all the air is expelled. Hold the outbreath for a few seconds, then breathe in as before. Do this until you establish a comfortable, steady rhythm. Focus on your breath as it touches your lips and then reaches deep into your chest.
- Now bring your attention to your feet. Tense the muscles of your toes, then relax them. As you do so, mentally command your toes to relax. Do the same with your feet and legs. Work your way up, tensing and releasing all the muscles in turn.
The relaxation procedure is very simple -- but most meditation students find that it takes a few weeks of practice to get it right. You might need to go through it several times before you fell it has really worked. Don't hurry over this. Even if all you learn in your first few sessions is how to achieve a fully relaxed state, you will have learned a valuable lesson.