Meditation is not easy. I've been practicing meditation on and off for several years now and consistently for just about 2 years. At first, I used to think something was supposed to "happen" during mediation. I was waiting for something to change and for my body/mind to feel dramatically different once I was actually meditating, so to speak. There are a handful of meditation techniques out there that are extremely helpful tools. However, some days I just focus on not opening my eyes the whole time, sitting as still as I possibly can, resisting the temptation to fidget or finding comfort within the uncomfortable. All of these aspects of sitting are extremely challenging for me. One step at a time, or as Manorama says, "Pade, Pade." I usually just choose one at a time and focus on that for a while. Today, my task was to keep my eyes shut the whole time. Its so hard not to peek at the timer.
I realize that experienced meditators may argue that what I am describing is not actually meditation. However, for right now, I am just working on maintaining my focus. When I first started sitting, I literally couldn't sit still. If you would have given me an advanced asana to figure out, I would work intensely for months (or even years). But attempting to sit still and close my eyes was a whole new type of challenge. It has taken a long time to be able to sit still. And now it actually feels good to sit still, even if my mind is still moving a million miles per hour. Pade, Pade.
For me, the effects of meditation have been subtle, yet major. Mantra is the first meditation technique I was drawn to, and still am. Mantra is repeating a word or phrase over and over again. Often, I keep count with malas. My favorite is the Ganesha mantra, "Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha." From what I understand, mantra has a message and a meaning. According to Tantric Scholar, Douglas Brooks, "