The practice of meditation is simple, straightforward, and ordinary. What is more ordinary than sitting down and being yourself? That is the essence of meditation practice. It is simply sitting down, being still, and being aware of your experience. And yet, as we practice, we find that it is not always an easy thing to do!
When we sit down to meditate, we are not stepping out of our lives, but stepping fully into our lives and learning to make friends with ourselves and our experience, as it is. Meditation practice is about relating directly with our present moment experience and learning to peacefully abide with whatever is arising. We do this through mindfulness and awareness, united with gentleness and kindness.
In meditation, we are learning to cultivate and sustain attention in the present moment by placing it purposefully on the experience of the breath in the body. This helps our minds to settle and to become more stable and clear. The ability to pay attention in this way awakens us to our inherent kindness. Meditation connects us with an ever-present and all-accommodating sense of space –there is room for everything. Feeling this space, we can be kind to ourselves.
As we meditate, we become aware of how seductive our thoughts are and how quickly we are drawn out of the present moment, into the past or future, or some other time or place other than now. The practice is to return again and again to the present moment, which allows us to meet ourselves and our experience with kindness.