I have officially been a member here for a few days now. As I stated when I first introduced myself, I haven't done any sort of consistent meditation in many years. Even in the years that I did do it, it was not for protracted periods of time. While I'm sure there is a succinct "this is how to meditate" thread here, I couldn't find it when I started. Obviously there is "just sitting" but that's sort of like "just singing." I actually found an interesting link a week or so ago (which is how Chet introduced me to this site!) http://www.zenguide.com/zenmedia/boo...ditation_guide. I have since found lots of discussions on sitting form and a handful on concentration, so obviously this is a common question.
I have tried to sit every day since Monday. I sat for a whopping five minutes on Monday. Yesterday I tried to sit for 20 and again 20 minutes today. Wow! What a disaster. It's amazing how undisciplined the mind can get, but it does get better. First time was so short I dare not call it sitting. I think I've had blinks that were longer. The second one was like watching my life flash before my eyes. Nothing but mental images, tasks I forgot to do or wanted to do, et cetera. The mind would not settle down. I started trying to do counting with my sitting session today. That did help a bit, but often times I couldn't concentrate. The good news is that by today five minutes didn't feel like thirty and I didn't get ants in my pants the whole time.
I do need to work on sitting form though. My core strength isn't what it should be and I had some lower back problems last year. I want to get to sitting the full 20-30 minutes on the floor in Burmese or half lotus position, but as of now I can do that for a maybe half that long tops. I use my breathing concentration techniques from yoga and the counting method in the above link to help concentrate on breath and get rid of the thousands of distracting flashes before my eyes. It's incredible how hard just being present can be. You would think we would just do that intrinsically.