An Easy Beginner's Meditation Practice
Here’s a sweet and simple meditation practice, great for if you’re just starting out and are wondering what to do.
The essential focus here is not on relaxing or watching the breath. These are both means towards a more important end. And that end is to become and remain for as long as possible self-aware.
Read through the instructions below and I think you’ll get what I mean.
1) Find a quiet place where you can relax undisturbed for at least five minutes each day. The actual amount of time is up to you, but make sure you can regularly practice every day.
2) Having found a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down, think to yourself, very consciously, "Now I am going to meditate and do nothing else for the duration of my meditation practice."
3) Starting at the top of your head, move through your body, trying to feel each part relaxing downwards. Take your time with this, three or four breaths in each part, with each breath relaxing yourself down a little more.
4) If you find it impossible to keep your mind on the relaxation exercise, then count your breaths as you move from one part of your body to the next. If and when you lose count of your breaths, just start again at the point you think you were when you lost track of your count. Don't be self-critical for having lost count. Just relax!
5) Once you are relaxed, start watching your breath, either at your nostrils or at your abdomen. One place or the other but not both. When your thoughts carry you away from watching your breath, take notice of this, and return to your breath. Again, don't be self-critical - just notice that your mind has wandered and return to watching the breath.
6) The important aspect of this is not watching the breath, but noticing that your mind has wandered away from watching the breath. At that moment of noticing, you are fully awake to your mind and your self. It is that moment of noticing which you want to gradually expand upon, lengthening from an instant to a few seconds and finally (after much practice) minutes at a time. This state of mind is called meditating.
7) At the end of your practice, take a few minutes to simply enjoy your newfound calmness of mind. Feel gratitude for the blessings of your life and appreciate the awesome miracle of existence. And as you go about your day, try to recall this calmness and gratitude every once in a while.
How does this practice strike you? Have you tried it out? Let me know how it’s working for you by leaving a comment below.
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