A Five Minute Exercise to Begin Meditating
Forget about the Lotus Position. Forget about quiet, robed monks in the Himalayas. Forget about the trippy psychedelic images full of bright colors you see on web sites talking about energy, mantras and chakras.
You want to learn how to meditate so you can slow down your mind, live calmer and maybe even get some insight into how you can feel more self-confident.
I have you covered.
The things I mentioned above, mantras, chakras, etc., are all definitely things that will add to your life, but for a person looking to start out learning how to meditate, they can be overwhelming. In fact, all those things, while important, are not needed to benefit from the practical uses of meditation.
Five Minutes to Begin Meditating
The first step to meditating is understanding what it is. For our brief lesson now, simply understand that it is not about emptying your mind of all thoughts. It’s about recognizing the thoughts in your head, without reacting, without getting pulled in to the emotions that accompany thoughts.
Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for three minutes. It may be tough, but think about anywhere you won’t be disturbed. You can sit in your car, go to an empty conference room if you are at work or even talk a walk in the woods.
Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet firmly on the floor. Assume a posture that is relaxed, yet attentive. The best way to do this is to sit with your chest up, shoulders back slightly and a gentle arch in your lower back. There is no need to twist your legs up or touch your fingers together (unless you want to).
Gently close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Feel it entering your body, your chest rising. Feel the warmth of your exhale. Don’t change you breathing at all for right now, simply observe it.
Now take a nice deep breath, in through your nose, expanding your belly first and then your chest. Hold it for a few seconds. Then slowly let it out through your mouth. Follow this up with three more deep breaths.
After you have taken your deep breaths, simply return your breath to its normal rhythm. At this point, it’s possible that your mind will have started up again, thinking about random thoughts. Now, you can either return your focus to your regular breath, feeling it enter and leave or you can focus on any sound you hear. Bring your attention to the sound farthest away that you can hear and simply listen to it, without emotion.
Once you have done that, when you feel ready; slowly open your eyes. You don’t need to get up right away. Enjoy the silence.
Things to Consider
- Your mind will wander throughout the exercise; it’s to be expected. When this happens, simply return your focus to your breath.
- Meditation is a practice, one that takes consistent focus each day. As you practice more and more, you will become better able to maintain focus and attention. Those qualities and many more will also spread into your non-meditative life, making thinking clearer and reducing stress.
This exercise is to show you how easy it is to begin meditating. However, even without the topics I mentioned at the beginning of the episode, meditation does take practice. To become better you need to know more about breathing, posture and how to deal with pervasive thoughts. I discuss these topics and more in my meditation course, Your Calmer Mind. The course helps you become better at what you started here in this post.
If you want to become more skilled at the practice you already have, or want to know more, then you will definitely want to sign up for my weekly newsletter. By doing so you will also get my resource guide, 5 Things Every Beginning Meditator Needs. To sign up for the newsletter and to receive the guide, simply click here.