Meditation Guide to Getting Started
Since just sitting in basic (mindfulness or vipassana) meditation is such an important practice on your way to emotional regulation – and possibly and eventually to Enlightenment – I decided to offer a quick review of this skilled practice. Practice every day!
1) Sit comfortably with your back softly errect on a chair or with legs crossed on a meditation cushion. You could also so this practice while lying on a mat. Intend to release any body or mental tension you are aware of.
2) Take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Notice your body contacting with the chair, cushion or mat. Thank your breath for keeping you alive in this precious human form (The Dalai Lama).
3) Begin non-evaluating, non-judging as a norm NOW.
4) Either close your eyes, or keep them slightly open with a downward gaze – or keep your eyes open if you are more comfortable that way. While sitting or lying, gently rest your open eyes while NOT paying much attention to objects in the room.
5) Gently bring your complete awareness to your breath as it is. Concentrate on the sensations of your breath as it breathes you – as it is in this present moment. Do not try to control your breathing. Just be one with it in full attention as it is. All of it is in the present moment of awareness.
6) Notice where you are feeling your breath. Is it at the nostrils, the throat, the chest, or the lower belly? Feel the sensation without evaluation. No grasping attachment or avoidance – just be with the breath as it is now. Stay in the present moment breathing in and breathing out.
7) When your mind wonders away from your breath, just notice without evaluation – and gently bring your attention back to your breath. Repeat this process as often as necessary.
8) You will also notice thoughts, sounds, sensations, emotions and other momentary phenomena. You may want to make the other phenomenon (other than breath) your present moment object of attention. Just notice and note it in the moment without evaluation, and gently bring your attention back to your breath. Do your best to stop storylines and internal conversations.
9) If your mind wonders off into the past (which you cannot change) or into the future (which you have no control over), simply and gently bring it back to awareness on your breath now. It is ONLY in the present moment of experience that you have choices.
10) Continue to do just this – paying attention to your breath in the present moment – and bringing attention back when your mind wonders off. Notice it all without evaluation, and simply continue to focus awareness on your breath.
11) To end you may want to do a short metta (loving kindness) meditation by saying to yourself: May I be safe; May I be healthy; May I be happy; and, May I live with ease. Now stop attending to your breath, and simply rest in the wonderful state of complete attention to your inner peace.
For more refer to Harris, S. (2014). Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. New York: Simon and Schuster, pp. 39-40 and Quintiliani, A. (2014). Mindful Happiness…Shelburne, VT: Red Barn Books, pp. 22-23, 49-51.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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