This simple meditation is ideal for those new to the practice. Although people meditate for many different reasons, they all share the common goal of relaxing and calming the mind. Your aim, while meditating, is to release tension in order to bring about mental states that are more peaceful.
“There is no success or failure, no great place you are going. You are “just sitting.” To wander, to obsess, to lust—you get a flavour of the mind, a direct meeting. Without acting on any of the thoughts, you get to see how they rise up and—if you’re lucky–pass away. Sometimes we get stuck. You get to observe the nature of being stuck,” says author Natalie Goldberg.
Try not to fight your thoughts, just see them arrive and leave peacefully without mentally commenting on them and return to your focus. You can imagine them as clouds passing across a clear blue sky and return to focusing on your breath. To begin with, aim to meditate for a minimum of five minutes a day. Do not worry about the ‘right’ space to do it, or if you’re sitting ‘correctly’, simply develop awareness and get into the routine of meditating.
Many people find it easier to meditate in the morning or at a specific time of the day, but find whatever works for you. If you need a little guidance to begin with there are many meditations on YouTube. Alternatively, invest in a guided meditation MP3 or ‘nature sounds’ such as ocean waves or the sounds of a rainforest, which can be immensely calming.
- Make sure you’ll not be disturbed. Turn the lights low or light a candle to create a calming space. Though not always necessary, it is more conducive to stillness, especially if you are new to meditation.
- Sit comfortably – this could be on the floor on a mat or cushion, or on a chair (Vedic meditations are typically done in the lotus or half lotus position, while Taoist meditations are done sitting on a chair or standing in chi kung, always with your feet on the ground, though as a beginner, this is not necessary, just do what feels comfortable for you).
- Posture is an important aspect of meditation as this ensures a smooth flow of oxygen and energy throughout the body. Lengthen your spine, keeping your head straight for optimum balance. Ideally, you should feel as though you are being lifted by your head, with your spine fully extended but body relaxed.
- Take in a few slow, deep breaths to put you in the right frame of mind to begin and feel present.
- Now close your eyes and slow the tempo of your breath, breathing in evenly, slowly, deeply, and gently. As you do so, also concentrate of the physical sensation of the air coming in and leaving the body with each inhalation and exhalation.
- With each in breath, feel yourself filling up with the essence of calm; with each out breath, feel the calm radiating out for everyone else to benefit from. While doing so, soften your chest and allow your natural human warmth to radiate.
- While you focus on your breathing, be aware of your belly rising on the in-breath and falling gently on the out-breath.
- Stay open, relaxed and at ease, with your body lose and mind empty in its stillness. Maintain an awareness of your breathing while allowing all else to drop away. Everything will settle of itself without you needing to judge or affect the moment.
- When you notice your mind has wandered, which it most likely will, instead of mentally scolding yourself, gently notice it and return your attention back to your the feeling of the breath coming in and out. Notice its warmth, your own stillness in the process, and allow all tension to drop away in serene stillness.
Do you meditate? How does meditation enhance your creative work? Share your experiences in the comments below.