To get started make sure that you have a comfortable place to sit without distraction. Make sure family members know not to disturb you and all communication devices are turned off.
It is not necessary to sit in full or half lotus position to meditate, but if these positions are comfortable to you, then by all means sit in that manner. What is important is that your spine, organs and muscles are positioned for maximum comfort for maximum duration. You want to be able to breath and relax without any strain or tension coming from any part of your body. That means if you need to, then baby yourself until you are comfortable. Experiment with different sitting positions. Experiment with chairs. You don't want to sit in a chair that has you sagging in posture. Keep your spine erect and upright. Stay poised, but relaxed. Do not create tension in your body by trying to keep ramrod straight, but remain vigilant and upright.
Breathing should be in through the nose and out through the nose unless you have a physical incapability to breath in that manner. Breathe naturally. Don't force your breath, allow it to relax and become deeper by itself. The lengthening and depth of your breath will naturally increase as you practice meditation. No deliberate control of the breath is necessary.
Adjust your body for alignment by feeling it in movement. Make sure your skull to spine to hip connection is smooth, comfortable and relaxed. Move forward/backward, side to side and rotate in both directions until you feel that you are centered in your position.
Now to begin there are two schools of thought. One is that you begin to train your mind. Another is to allow your mind to do what it wants. Both are valid so you may want to alternate the two methods for each meditation.
To train your mind, the easiest thing to do is to be aware of your breathing. You want to be acutely aware of your breath. Feel your breath as it moves through you. Guide your awareness, starting at your nose, down your throat, into your lungs, feeling your belly fill and out again, pay hyper attention and be present throughout the entire inhalation and exhalation. Merge the motion of your mind and awareness with the motion of your breathing. Let that be the focus of your meditations for a little while.
Part of the discipline training of your mind/body is helped by counting your breath. You may find that the mind wants to wander so as an excercise, counting helps to keep that focus. I would suggest counting in increments from 1 to 10... or more, but you want to keep the counting accurate so if need be count from 1 to 8 or 1 to 4, whatever is suitable to you. Breath in 1, breath out 2, breath in 3, breath out 4 and so on. Keep the focus to the exclusion of anything else until your concentration is such that you are accurately counting your breath.
Passive meditation is to take breathing, position and stability and just relax. Watch your thoughts come and go. Do not engage, explore, give power to or chase your thoughts. Free associate, breathe in and out and let your mind think of what ever it wants, allow it be undisciplined, let the chaos go. Let the noise be and don't try to restrain it at all. Eventually what you want to do is introduce intention into your thoughts of what you'd like to have happen. You'd like your mind to be quite, you'd like to have less noise, you'd like it to jump around less. You're not going to actively prusue it, but it becomes a subconsious current as you breath. In time you gain a certain ability to be a passive observer of what's going on in your mind and learn to relax and let go of these thoughts.
This is a very beneficial skill, because as you become more adept in meditation, some of your issues are going to start to come to the surface and will try to distract you. At this point the abilities of discipline and staying calm are going to come into play. Whatever your problems, physical, mental or life's history will begin to rise up and your ability to detach yourself from them and not engage in them will assist you to a better understand them.
You do not need to know energy work to meditate, but this kind of activity is energy work by it's own nature. The very act of bringing your mind into your body, brings in your energy, awareness, the motion of your mind, your presense, your life force and you begin to forge an energy channel down the center of your being. You connect your breathing and presense with the gravitational center of your body.
Once you've gained that detatched ability to observe, breathe and witness, and to count your breath without becoming distracted from counting your breath, you'll want to guide your attention into your belly. Begin to dispense with the tools of concetration and begin to keep your mind in your belly while you witness the play of thought. In that way you begin to store and build your consciousness into your body. This is the most fundamental basics of doing energy work in your body.
Bring your mind into your body and spend time becoming fully aware and present inside of your body. This process of bringing conciousness into your body enables you to bring to the surface your blocks and limitations. It is through your love, determination and fearlessness that you will be able to work through these issues, as many of them will not be pleasant at all.
Future posts will cover these issues.