Dealing with a common meditation problem - nothing happens

After you've tried doing simple meditation for a few weeks, you may have gone beyond wandering mind and you may be able to stay with your breath for an extended period of time - breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out. I have a friend who very expert at this but she says that nothing happens beyond this - she just watches her breath go in and out. This may be happening to you.

One of things the mind is gone at is picking things up and doing it - this is what we learn at school. Pay attention, concentrate, work hard. If we are skillful at this method of doing things, then we transfer this skill into meditation practice. However, meditation is psychosomatic response to the process of letting go and doing nothing - it is the successful act of relaxing and allowing ourselves to uncover our true nature.

So then, how do we switch off this intrusive mind that wants to be there as we meditate and be successful at it?

Here are some steps I find useful:

1. Establish your attention on the breath. Stabilize it.
2. Systematically relax the muscles in your body. Do a body scan if it helps.
3. Focus on relaxing the muscles in your head. Do some clear head breathing.
4. Become aware of the stillness of your body. It helps if you have solid, stable posture in meditation. In a sense, your posture becomes the meditation.
5. The mind will fuse with whatever it is paying attention to. If the body is still and the mind is feeling the stillness, then the mind will switch from 'doing' meditation into 'being with' meditation.
6. Allow the stillness to pervade the mind. Let go into it.

I hope this helps.

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