Well, now you’ve done it! You’ve gone and clicked on the simple meditation article. Congratulations! And welcome to the very exclusive club of people who have taken their wellbeing into their own hands. With just ten minutes a day. (Yes, just ten.) You will see changes in your attitude and demeanor that you couldn’t have imagined. Not to mention the health benefits. So get comfy, grab a timer, and prepare yourself for the new life that is waiting just on the other side of those nagging doubts…
- Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably for ten minutes without interruption.
- Set a timer for ten minutes. Set it and forget it!
- Relax and close your eyes.
- Direct your attention to your breath. It is a good idea to either notice the feeling of the air moving in and out of your nostrils, or the feeling of your chest and belly rising and falling with each breath. Either way, you are only observing your natural breath, not controlling it in any way.
- Start to count your breaths. One exhale/inhale cycle is one. Pay close attention to where each exhale starts, how it continues, how it ends. Follow the inhale in the same way. Count one if you keep your attention focused for the entire breath.
- Count to only ten breaths and start over at one. This keeps you from getting distracted by how many breaths you count.
- When a thought pops into your head and distracts you, which it will, go back to the breath and start over at one. Just make a mental note and say to yourself, “thinking” or “remembering” or “planning”, and return to the breath.
- Repeat until your ten minutes is up.
At first you will notice that your thought are all over the place. You will think of something and your attention will cling to that thought and you will spend what seems like a long time thinking about it before you remember that you are meditating. Great! That’s what is supposed to happen! This is meditation! It’s funny how wrapped up you can get in a simple thought like, “After this I’m going to go to the grocery store.” You go over your list, think about what to cook for dinner, taco night? How you will need to stop for gas on the way, do I need an oil change yet? Then, BAM! Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be meditating! Return to your breath. Begin again.
Tips and Tricks:
- Don’t beat yourself up when you realize that you forgot you were meditating. Being distracted by your thoughts is not only normal, it is the exercise of meditation!
- When you realize that you have been distracted by a thought, begin again. Begin again without judgement, without a care in the world. This is your time. Enjoy it. Allow yourself to be amused by how distracting our thoughts can be. It’s funny.
- Since ancient times, meditators have used the trick of placing the tongue into the roof of the mouth as a sort of reminder not to become attached to their thoughts. You will find that the more you meditate, the less thoughts arise during the practice. I use the tongue trick when I find that I’m having a challenging time and clinging to my thoughts for much too long. It seems to slow them down.
- Try not to move around or fidget during a session. It can help sometimes to direct your attention to a part of your body that feels discomfort, like if your leg is uncomfortable where it is. Often time, placing awareness on the troubled spot will cause the discomfort to disappear. That being said, if your leg hurts, move it.
- Just before starting a session, I like to mentally note that, “I am dedicating this meditation to the benefit of all beings.” This, for me, is a reminder that if I can better myself, I am benefitting the whole world. When you are happier and more balanced, the people around you sense it and benefit from your wellbeing. Then, in turn, the people who encounter them will benefit, and so on.
- Ten minutes is great, but thirty minutes is mo betta! After you get a taste of what is possible from ten minutes of sitting quietly, I have to tell you that thirty minutes has an increased benefit well beyond tripling the time. Maybe try thirty minutes once a week and experience the difference yourself. Again, only ten minutes a day will change your life.