So the past couple of mornings I've done a very simple, easy meditation which completely quiets the mind very quickly with no effort. In fact I don't even focus on trying to quiet the mind, it was an unexpected side effect.
The 'meditation' is simply to lay down and thoroughly relax the body. That's all. The only part my mind plays is to constantly focus on relaxing, letting tensions ease, noticing any muscle tightness, sinking down into the bed, letting the fascial muscles relax, the shoulders sink down, etc. My goal is a 'feeling' I get when the body is really deeply relaxed.
As I focus constantly on relaxing as much as possible, very unexpectedly, no thoughts happen. I don't even need to try to stop any thoughts, there just aren't any. My mind is fully focused on getting the body to relax physically.
As the body relaxes physically, when it truly is relaxed, you get this sensation of physical stillness. Breathing is still happening. I pay no attention to trying to control the breath. The breath automatically slows down and becomes smaller as a side-effect of focusing on relaxing. There is no breath control needed.
After a time, maybe 10-15 minutes, I find that I need to be extra soft, gentle, and subtle, in terms of my attention to keeping things relaxed, because the sensation of relaxation is quite easily disturbed or stirred up. This focus on calmness and minimal interference and letting go, seems to tune the mind and keeps all thoughts silent. Probably also the focus on the whole body relaxing at once is a 'big enough' target that the mind has no attention left to create thoughts. The goal is simply the sensation you get when the body is completely relaxed all over, which is a feeling of being very settled, still, calm, almost like levitating.
As I do this I generally find myself falling asleep as well, it's a good way to get to sleep. I'm not bothered by that. What I did find this second time is that toward the end, I had a sudden unexpected moment of 'awareness', in which I became more aware and it seemed as though that was accompanied by an even further 'stilling' of the mind, beyond what I thought was possible. It felt like a clarifying, a sharpening, and a clearing. It wasn't like enlightenment or anything but it was a definite sudden burst of awareness.
The main thing I am getting from the meditation, besides feeling very relaxed, which also has the side-effect of helping to tune out of other people's energies that I've empathed and I 'come back to myself', is that it gives me a subtler clarity about certain situations in life, and also about the activities of my mind, what my thoughts are doing, etc. It shines a light on things and shows me a greater truth somehow, things I didn't realize I was doing. I didn't realize how much mind-chatter I have, normally, contrasted by absolutely no thoughts during this exercise.
I'm most surprised that thoughts stop completely when doing this. I know that focusing the mind can do that - focusing on a breath or a mantra or word or single idea or whatever... but when I do those things, my mind is still noisy and doesn't shut up all the way, and after a while it starts to go into deeper daydreams and stuff. Doing this body relaxation exercise I get absolutely no thoughts of any kind the whole time, provided I keep my focus on being as gentle and subtly relaxed as possible. It makes me wonder what this connection is between agitation in the body and agitation in the mind. But probably it's that I'm getting my mind to focus on calmness, quietness, stillness, being settled, and the body is sort of a 'prop' for the mind to use to achieve that, through focusing on its relaxation. Tying the mind and body together perhaps, so that the mind relaxes with the body.
Of course, meditations also produce emotional releases afterwards.