Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:
As for what you've heard about how the meditation is supposed to develop — even if you've had experiences in the past when it's developed in interesting ways — put all that aside for the time being. Don't let it clutter up your mind, because any progress in the meditation has to come from being very solidly focused on the present moment, fully intent on what you've got right here. If a lot of expectations are cluttering up your view, you're not going to see what you've got right here. Whatever progress you make won't be genuine.
So, as Ajaan Lee says, be willing to be dumb about the meditation. Sometimes this is called "beginner's mind," but for me it's always been more effective to think, "Be dumb about it." The "dumb" person is the one who sees when the emperor isn't wearing any clothes.
You may have heard a lot about meditation, but how much do you really know? You do
know right now that the breath is coming in, you know it's going out. You know if your mind is with the breath or if it's wandered off. Focus on being really clear about what you know, what you're directly experiencing, as continuously as possible. The continual clarity is what actually creates the state of concentration you're looking for, the developed mindfulness you're hoping for. It starts with these incremental steps.
So, whether the results come fast or slow, be sure that at least you're getting the causes right. And they're simple: Be with the breath, all the way in, all the way out. Just this breath. And if the breath is uncomfortable, you can adjust it. You're not required to breathe in a particular way, and you're not required to refrain from influencing the breath. The mind is always going to have some influence on the breath, whether it's conscious or not, so it might as well be conscious. If you pretend that you're not influencing the breath, the influence goes underground. It's better to learn how to be open about the fact, to be sensitive to what's going on.
And this simple exercise, if you allow it to do its work, will bring the results you want. In fact, it will bring results better than you might expect. If you clutter up your meditation with your expectations, that's all you'll get: things that seem to fit in with your expectations. But if you allow it to be a little bit more open-ended, you create possibilities for other things to happen as well — often better things, more genuine.
From: Start Out Small
by Thanissaro Bhikkhu