It may be the only meditation technique you need. It was what Buddha used. It’s the one I keep coming back to, as boring and as simple as it sometimes seems.
Breathing. Sitting and breathing and counting your breaths. With each inhalation and exhalation, I count “1,” and then I continue, moving to 100 or 200 or higher. That’s it.
At first, it may feel somewhat dry, monotonous, even pointless. But over time, using this as a daily practice can work wonders. And despite having experience with all sorts of complex visualizations, prayer methods, and esoteric rituals, it’s this simple practice that seems to have the most long-term, most long-lasting positive effects on mind, body, and soul.
It’s been my experience, in this practice, that thoughts do not stop. Rather, the volume turns down. And as the volume on mental chatter turns down, and I continue to keep breathing (the temptation is to stop and think about the thoughts that come), it is sometimes possible to hold multiple strains of thoughts. With a calm mind, well into over 100 breaths or more, I can be counting my breaths and thinking thoughts at the same time, and still deeper, watching both of those streams at once. This may sound complex, but again, this happens only when the volume is very low.
A natural result of the mind calming seems to be an increased awareness of the different aspects of cognitive perception. But without tension, the brain’s mechanism simply become a function to observe and make little to-do over, rather than a source of stress.
Of course, it’s not something to talk about. It’s something to try. So if you’re looking for a new contemplative practice, try sitting and breathing 200 breaths a day. After 21 days in a row, I suspect you will experience your entire mind and consciousness differently.