With all the research out now about the huge physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits from meditation, are you doing it every day? Meditation relieves stress, clarifies your thinking, changes your brain, helps to deal with pain, possibly lowers blood pressure, and can deeply impact your spiritual development.
I generally do some form of meditation once or twice a day. Here’s a very easy form of mindfulness meditation* that can be done, anytime, anywhere, even at your desk in the midst of a busy work day (one of the best times to take a short meditation break!). No need for incense or special music:
- Sit up straight in your chair, with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes.
- Focus on your breathing, taking slow, deep breaths, and exhaling fully. Place your attention right at the tip of your nose, at your nostrils, where the air comes in and goes out.
- As you focus on your breathing, count each inhale and each exhale, counting from 1 to 10, and then from 10 to 1. In other words, first inhale is “1”, exhale is “2,” next inhale in is “3,” exhale is “4”, and so on, up to “10.” Then count inhales and exhales in reverse, from 10 to 1.*
- Repeat step 3, and watch your breaths begin to become softer, and seem to merge.
- Stop counting after two rounds, but continue gently breathing, noticing your belly and chest rising and falling with each breath.
- If your mind becomes distracted, as it will, just notice that you’ve become distracted and return to focusing on your breath. This is what the mind does – it is unruly and will take us into the past, the future, or into a daydream. With practice, you will train this wild beast!
- Keep focusing on your breathing in this way for 5 or 10 minutes, or as long a time as you have. See if you can work it up to 20 – 30 minutes every day.
- Enjoy the refreshing calmness you feel after meditating! You may notice how your life begins to flow easier, how you get to know yourself much better and have spontaneous insights, and how your compassion for the struggles of others begin to grow!
* Meditation counting technique taken from the wonderful book Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana.