The moment of focussing the mind is a very powerful moment. It’s really when the real meditation occurs. The reason is that there’s a spark of insight at that point, what is called meta-awareness in technical terms: you’re aware of the process of your thought, not just caught up in it. At that moment, there’s a lot of possibilities.
You can touch that thought and bounce back gently to attend on your breath and your body. However, you might also go thinking again and just can’t get away from this thought to do this meditation. That is called “entertaining the messenger.” When the messenger comes to you, instead of just taking the message to bounce back to the breath, you should get into a whole argument and keep it around for a while.
Rather than entertaining or fighting with the messenger, you can just take the message. Thought – breath. And many people have said that one of the most wonderful things about meditation is its allowance for such a monumental amount of failure. Failure is fine, too. Therefore, if you’re doing meditation for 10 minutes and don’t notice your thought until the bell rings, that’s what this session was about. You will learn from it. No big deal.
If you want to get really good at this, it’s like pushing on a string. Let yourself be there, not try to make yourself meditate.
Settle into your seat, whether on a cushion, in a chair, or whatever kind of seat: bench, park bench. Feel your bottom on the seat, your feet on the ground or the floor, flat and touching the earth. You can open or close your eyes and slightly title down your head. Just take a moment to feel that posture.
Now use the breath as an anchor for your attention. Just keep following the breath when it goes out and in.
When we try to pay attention to our breath, our mind is filled with thoughts like a waterfall. In mindfulness meditation, just notice the thought. Touch it, then go back to the breath. As you touch the thoughts, you can bounce them off and back to the breath.
When you hear the concluding bell, just let it go, you don’t need to evaluate it. As you’re noticing the reverberation, just open your eyes, and enjoy what is coming next.