A Simple Meditation

Meditation doesn't have to be difficult.  You don't have to find hours every day for it; you don't need to have a mind that is quiet, live like a monk or bring a huge set of skills and understanding to it.  You don't need to sit cross-legged on the floor and you don't need to know complicated techniques or use any fancy props. 

In its simplest form meditation is just a way to quiet a busy mind and to allow a tired body to be still; it's a way to find clarity when life is crowding you out with things that need doing and decisions that need making; it's a way to find peace in your life, whatever it brings you each day. 

Once you start meditating, you will find your own way, but here are some things that might help to get you started:-

  • Sit comfortably with a straight spine.  You could be on the floor; on a cushion; leaning against a wall or sitting in a straight backed chair.
  • Find a place and time when you will not be disturbed by pets/family members/phone calls/beeping computers, etc.
  • Set a timer for however much time you have to give, then you can close your eyes and relax, knowing that your alarm will tell you when your time is up.
  • Make it your intention to ignore the door/telephone/other demands on your attention.  (If you are unavoidably interrupted, move slowly and steadily, trying not to break the mood of your meditation and return to your meditation as soon as possible)
  • Do your meditation at about the same time every day.
  • Commit to meditate every day for at least 10 days, so that you start to get some idea of what benefits meditation might bring you.  5 minutes a day is better than an hour once a week.

There are lots of different methods available and some wonderful teachers around, but if you're looking for a simple meditation to get you started, then I can recommend this one which is based on a Zen practice.  It's really easy, gives your mind just enough to do to keep you focused and can last for as long as you have available.

Sit in your chosen position, spine straight and close your eyes/soften and lower your gaze
Invite your entire body to relax and to feel steady
Take a moment to deepen your breathing

Count each exhalation down from 5 to 1, when you get down to 1, go back to 5 and count down again.

That's it. Simple.

Your mind may wander - never mind - as soon as you notice that it has, bring your attention back to counting down each exhalation starting from 5 (or from where you were when your attention wandered, if you can remember).

You might like to keep a notebook beside you to jot down any thoughts or insights that arise during your meditation.

When your alarm goes off, finish the round that you are on and get ready to move on with your day.  Try not to rush too quickly from your meditation. 

"Meditation brings wisdom, lack of meditation leaves ignorance.
Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back,
and choose the path that leads to wisdom."


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