During the May 2015 Sheng Zhen Teacher Training in Wimberley, Texas, participants were asked to brainstorm their tips on how to meditate. This expanded summary is based on that original flurry of creative and thoughtful ideas.
Thanks to everyone who was part of this effort.
Preparing the body
Find a quiet place. Assume a comfortable position. Stay erect with neck and spine gently aligned.
If you feel uncomfortable, make small adjustments to your position, such as shifting your weight, elongating the spine, or tipping slightly forward/backward/or to the side. Focus briefly on the source of discomfort and consciously relax that area. Let go.
Slow the breathing. This will happen naturally as you relax the body more and more. Use your breath – the mind can ride the breath to relax into the dantian*.
Enter the Sheng Zhen state. Continue to relax your whole body. Let go of any tension. It’s easiest to this by focusing on specific areas, starting at the top of your head and slowly working down the body – relax your face, relax your shoulders, your arms, your torso, etc. Relax inside the body, too.
Maintain a sense of ease. Remember that meditating is a natural process and not complicated.
Calming the mind
Quiet the heart and quiet the mind. Gently let go of thoughts as they come up. Don’t judge your thoughts. Simply notice the thought and let it go. Just observe it passing by.
As thoughts come up, tell your mind to take a time out, “Shh, I’m meditating now. We can talk/think about that later.” With practice, there will be less wandering, less thinking.
Choose to focus on what’s happening in the moment, now. Focus your attention on the feelings in your body, the sounds in the room, the movement of your qi, an image, or a mantra. This will happen more naturally over time.
If there is noise, incorporate the noise into your meditation. “Ride” the sound and let it take you deeper.
Turn your eye sight within your body. Focus your attention on the dantian. Imagine your dantian inside your body.
Visualize an image -- a light, a flame, an ember, a flower, the earth, a bell. Gently, passively, come back to that image whenever your mind wanders.
Focus on love in general, or a specific place, thing, or person you love.
Open the heart and connect to the universe. Connect to love. Think, “I am a big body of love.”
Expand so that you are huge. Many, many times bigger than your physical self. Merge with the universe. Merge with love.
You can use a mantra – “I am a big body of Love.” Or , “I’m not thinking.” Or, any other mantra you like. The pace of the mantra might slow as your thoughts decrease.
Intend to be a big body of Love. Over time, the thoughts will support that feeling. (“I am Love. I am Light.”)
Look to see where thoughts line up with the Heart, where they resonate with the Heart and Spirit.
Find the beauty, wherever you are in the moment.
As you link in to the Qi field, remember you’re not alone. Ask heaven for help. Ask heaven for more Qi.
You are love. You love everything. You love everyone.
Don’t expect. Don’t be greedy. Just allow. Remember it’s a practice.
Don’t be too serious; that blocks qi flow. Relax, and be easy with yourself and the process.
Have patience. Let go of the desire to be “further along” or “not thinking” or “doing it better”.
Practice daily, even for just 10 minutes, even for just 5 minutes.
Relax more. Keep practicing.
* The “dantian” is the storehouse of qi located inside the body 2 inches below the navel.