Meditation is a great way to calm the mind and cultivate inner peace. Many forms of meditation focus on breathing, the one system of the human body that can be both voluntary and involuntary. This is often seen as a link between voluntary and involuntary aspects of our being, or our conscious and unconscious selves.

Before we meditate for the first time we must realize that it is impossible to meditate "wrong," and that any attempt we make is a success. We may not feel like we have made progress or that there are tangible results of our meditation. We must trust that over time results will become evident. They may be harder to notice as they are a part of our internal environment, not our external environment, but with patience and practice they will become very real.

The first thing to do is find a quiet place devoid of distraction. Find a comfortable place to sit, usually on the floor but on a chair is fine too. While it is traditional to sit cross-legged, you may choose another position if you find it more comfortable. Sitting is preferred to lying down as you are more likely to remain alert, but if you feel too much tension in your body you may want to try lying down to begin with. Wear loose-fitting clothing to facilitate comfort and ease of breathing.

Close your eyes and turn your attention to your breath. Do not try to control it, for now just become aware of it. Breathing through the nose is preferable. Focus your awareness on the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation will be the object of our meditation, and we should attempt to concentrate on it alone, to the exclusion of all else.

At this point we will likely notice that our mind is very busy. We will notice a whirlwind of thought swirling around us. It will be tempting to follow these thoughts as they arise, but tried to remain focused on your breath. If you notice yourself wandering off with one of these thoughts, gently release it and return your attention to the breath. At first this will be very difficult with so many thoughts running through the mind, but with patience and practice a torrent of thought will be reduced to a trickle.

At this point we will experience a sensation of inner peace. We will feel as if there is a great space inside of us, and we will feel relaxed and refreshed. Maintain your awareness and stay within this space for a while. Eventually you will decide to leave the space or the flow of thoughts will return.

This experience will help us cope with the difficulties we encounter in our day to day activities. Since stress originates in the mind, by taking control of our mind we also take control of our stress. We will feel much more in control of the problems that face us. Even a small amount of meditation can have a huge impact on the quality of our lives, and with daily practice we will notice constant improvements in our mood, our relationships with others, and our well-being.