I had been trying several forms of meditation, including "focusing on my breathing", "decomposing an object", "relaxing", etc.. but today I went back to just "trying to clear my mind"
I think "trying to clear my mind" is key, somehow, and it is by far the hardest type of meditation I've tried (where hard means worthwhile? ;) — and it also kindof combines "focusing" and "relaxing", though it doesn't involve active thoughts like "decomposing an object", so it kills quite a few birds with one stone, but not all, but I think it kills the right birds..
Anyway, I'm meditating with the goal of achieving some sort of altered state of consciousness, which I'm guessing my mind will sortof "pop" into if I clear it enough.. who knows.. but the fact that I have that goal leads to many misleading thoughts of the form "oh, this is it, just increase this thought or sensation here and that will lead to a 'pop'!", but really it's just some ordinary thought, and not actually anything interesting.. so my brain is very misleading. I've noticed this in the past, when I've tried this form of meditation before, and it's a nice challenge to keep batting down and unmasking these thoughts, in addition to trying to stop thoughts from happening in general..
..anyway, so I tried for a while. Not sure how long. And have nothing special to report except that it seems good to try and be honest with myself about what my thoughts are, as opposed to being.. er.. hopeful that any particular thought is somehow transcendent..
..I feel like whatever state awaits me, assuming there is one, will be kindof like a lucid dream (if not exactly that), and will be blatantly obvious once I'm there..
incidentally, I had abandoned this type of meditation in the past because it seemed like trying to learn not to think, whereas what I really wanted was to try and think better, but somehow I've come back to it as a first step toward thinking better. My path is roughly: I've come to believe that one of the biggest impediments to thought for me is that when I focus, I tense my muscles, and this sortof waists mental energy, kindof like running current through copper waists energy by heating the copper, and I want a less resistant or super-conductive thinking material, and somehow learning to clear my mind seems on the path toward that..