How do I meditate the right way? What should we be thinking in the process? And how to get the best out of meditation?
There really is no wrong way to meditate, but understanding what meditation is will help shorten the time you spend until you get real results.
Meditation is a tool to help quite the mind. The mind produces many thoughts and these thoughts can disturb our natural state of peace if we give attention to these thoughts. Thoughts pull us in different directions and can cause anxiety, fear and depression.
The goal of meditation is not only to quiet the mind and have less thoughts, but to be able to notice the present moment apart from thought.
This state is called being the witness. In this state of being you are a witness to what is going on around you, but also a witness to thoughts that appear in mind.
Think of the mind as a blank canvas. No thoughts - no suffering.
Now thoughts may still appear on the canvas, but if you can witness them...ask yourself who is witnessing them? The realization that you are not your mind nor body...yes there is a mind and a body, but that is not who you truly are, opens you to a new awareness of an unbounded self and the discovery of your true divine self apart from mind and who you "think" you are.
To meditate simply sit with no music, phones turned off, no scents, no candle lights....nothing that could trigger thought. This is "closing the door". The door is you turning off your senses. Senses bring information (knowledge) to the mind and trigger more thoughts.
Example: you sit with a candle and close your eyes. You smell the candle, feel the flame and think oh that smells good and I hope the flame does not start a fire and I hope I don't fall asleep and wake up with my house on fire and so on.
The simpler the meditation the better - Less is more.
As you sit there with your eyes closed you focus your attention on one thing. This can be anything. Since you are always breathing and take your breath with you where ever you go, it is a great tool to use.
When you focus on your breathing, thoughts will arise and pull your attention away from the focus of breathing. Be patient, compassionate with yourself (mind), smile and say, no....not now. Now we are focusing our attention on breathing. The mind does not give up that easily. The mind is used to getting all your attention and wants and demands it now too. You have to be persistent and know the workings of the mind. The mind wants to play. The mind wants to think. The mind wants feel sorry for itself. The mind wants to do whatever it normally does.
This is retaining the mind and the result of this practice are more peace, better concentration, better decision making, focused attention, attention to detail, but also anxiety, fear, depression and worry kind of drop into the background as less thoughts appear in mind.
At this point, which may take a few weeks of daily practice one can move into the awareness of thought. This is a step that many never take and many teacher for some reason don't teach. This step is however a vital step in this process of realizing one's true self and a vital step toward ending suffering in one's life.
If this step of witnessing thought...consciously does not occur, meditation is only a bandaid...a temporal relief. In order to make it lasting, the real self must be separated from mind: the witness state.
I hope I answered your question and made the steps and reason clear enough for you to embark on a beautiful journey ....outside of mind : )