flowerIf there are 1001 different ways to meditate, then there’s certainly one or two for you!

If you search google ‘photos of meditation’ you will see hundreds of images of people sitting cross-legged, backs straight, hands on knees with forefingers touching the thumb – the classic position for a meditative state - but it's by no means essential. There are many positions that help you to find a meditative just as there many, many approaches towards attaining it, just as there many different definitions of what a meditation is:

"Meditation is neither focus (on an object) nor contemplation (of an object or issue, but somewhere between the two." (Osho)

"Neither force the mind too hard into concentration, nor let it wonder aimlessly. Meditation is to pay attention, to be aware of your breathing, your posture, your feelings, your perceptions, your thoughts and all that passes through your mind and the mind itself…" (The Buddha, in the Buddha and the Terrorist by Satish Kumar).

"There are two types of meditation: one that involves analysis and another that involves just placing the mind single-pointedly on an object without any analysis." (the Dalai Lama)

"Meditation is being aware of what you are doing, being aware of what is happening to you." (Osho).

"Meditation is a non-goal-oriented state of mind." (Osho).

"And what is meditation? Meditation is by and by becoming thoughtless; not falling into sleep - remaining alert and yet becoming thoughtless." (Osho)

"Meditation is nothing but a way to learn how to do a thing totally." (Osho)

But you don’t have to be sitting down, you can be lying down, standing, taking a walk, or carrying out some activity such as staring at the clouds passing by, watching leaves fall from a tree, following the flight of a butterfly, sawing wood, making bread. Much depends on giving yourself fully and wholeheartedly to the activity to the extent that you become the activity even momentarily. And you come back to realise that your mind had been emptied of clutter, that you had found a kind of peace.

Try the following, for example:

Take 10 minutes out in a quiet space. You may be playing some soothing music quietly in the background. Make yourself comfortable sitting with your spine as straight as you can. Close your eyes and focus your breathing to be quiet, slowish and regular. After a minute or two of focussing on your breathing, just breathe normally and focus on what you are thinking. If you are thinking nothing at all, that’s great because that’s where you want to be. Stilling the body, breathing steadily helps to still the mind. But let your mind wander to whatever comes and goes. Don’t force anything let your mind do as it likes. Now become aware of what you are thinking. Think about what you are thinking without judgement or criticism. Become the awareness of your thoughts and not the thought itself. This awareness or consciousness is putting you into a true meditative state.