There are many different techniques, from general awareness to specific concentration practices, from following your breath to saying a mantra.
Basic Meditation Instructions.
Allow yourself to be as comfortable as possible.
It is helpful when meditating to be relaxed and at ease. Sitting cross legged for long periods can be difficult, especially for westerners, so please assume a position where you can be both comfortable and alert. Try different positions, sitting cross legged, lying on a mattress, or sitting in your favorite chair. Experiment. Find out what works for you.
Please remember, meditation practice is not a competition to see who can sit still in an uncomfortable position for the longest length of time.
Initially it can be useful to set yourself a time limit. Perhaps 10 minutes, which you can lengthen to 25, then 45 minutes, as you become more experienced and comfortable with what you are doing.
There is no right or wrong length of time to meditate.
Take a few deep breaths, drawing air all the way down in to your belly, and releasing gently. Feel your body. Allow yourself to be "now". In this moment there is nowhere to go, and nothing to do.
Ask your mind for permission to sit silently for a few minutes. Ask your body for permission to be still and relaxed.
Observe what is happening. Be aware of what you are experiencing.
You may notice that thoughts continue to arise. This is normal. Just be aware that you are thinking, and return to your observation of "now". If "now" means that you are thinking, just be aware of that. There is no right or wrong, there is just your current experience.
The meditation you are having is the meditation you are having.
Relax. Return to now.
You may notice that you have been daydreaming. That's okay - and normal. Take a few deep breaths. Return to now.
Memories or emotions may arise. You may feel aches or sensations in your body. This is normal. Take a few deep breaths. Return to now.
When your 10 minutes (or whatever length of time you meditated for) is up, take a moment to thank your mind and your body for allowing you to meditate. Meditation is an act of love for yourself. It is a gift from you, to you. Take a deep breath, say thanks to yourself, then set the intention to meditate again, perhaps at the same time the next day.
Really Basic Meditation Instructions.
For use anywhere, anytime.
If you become aware that your attention has wandered, simply come back to now.