Our minds are constantly active, always jumping from thought to thought, emotion to emotion. Getting in touch with the nonlocal intelligence, the universal soul that lies within us and is part of us all, requires finding a way past the fog of distracting thoughts that typically hide it from us. We cannot fight our way through a real fog.
If we are quiet, we encounter moments of pure silence, and through these gaps we can glimpse the deeper level of the soul. Each glimpse increases our understanding, and eventually our consciousness becomes expanded.
Controlling the flood of thoughts is very difficult for most people. Beginners can sometime become very frustrated, but frustration is just another thought, another emotion that gets in the way. The goal is to release all thoughts, quietly, passively.
A common way to begin meditation is to gently focus on one thing so that it becomes more difficult for stray thoughts to enter your mind.
To begin a breathing mediation, find a comfortable position. Sit in a comfortable chair, with your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands in your lap with the palms facing upward. Close your eyes and begin witnessing your breath. Observe the inflow and outflow of your breath without attempting to control it in any way.
You may find that your breathing spontaneously gets faster or slower, deeper or shallower, and may even pause for a time. Observe the changes without resistance or anticipation. Whenever your attention drifts away from your breath to a sound in the environment, or a sensation in your body, or a thought in your mind, gently return your awareness to your breathing.
Once a person becomes comfortable with simply sitting quietly and focusing on breathing, I recommend adding a mantra, which creates a mental environment that will allow you to expand your consciousness.
Adapted from The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press).