Set a timer (1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes…)
Set your intention to focus on your breath.
Notice when your attention wanders to your thoughts or feelings or physical sensations.
Bring your attention back to your breath. Keep doing that until the timer goes off.
Meditation is not what you think it is. It’s not about stopping your thoughts, achieving perfection or even becoming ‘better’ (a euphemism for pretending to be someone you’re not!). And it’s most definitely not about adding one more burdensome chore to your already way too short day!
It’s about developing a different relationship with yourself and with your thoughts. It’s about, for a few minutes each day, slowing down and greeting yourself with openness, willingness and curiosity. It’s about lovingly giving yourself permission to stop striving and be enough, in this moment, just as you are.
Set a timer for five minutes. (If five seems too long, set it for three!)
Sit up straight, erect but not rigid. Feet flat on the floor if you’re sitting on a chair or legs crossed loosely in front if you’re on a cushion. Chin tucked down a bit. Let your arms hang at your sides and lift them up from your elbows and let them drop on to the top of your thighs. Where they fall is where they stay. No big deal. Gently close your eyes or keep them at half mast with your gaze lowered and soft at a spot around 5 feet in front of you.
Start the timer. Exhale, letting all the air out. Inhale gently through your nose. Notice your in breath and out breath. Don’t do anything special with it, just let it do its thing—it doesn’t need anything from you but your attention.
Now just breathe. If your attention wanders to a thought or a sensation or a visual just notice and bring your attention back to your breath.
Whatever form your thoughts take—happy, sad, light, dark—just let them be reminders to come back and pay attention to your breath.
And it seems to me that you’re a meditator the moment you set the timer and start—even if you never once manage to notice your breath—there’s always next time…
The timer may go off before you’re ready or it might feel like an hour. Either way, when it goes off you’ll have meditated! It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.
Download printable version of meditation instructions