OK, now you have had a go at just sitting still (how did you find it?), lets expand that to a bit more of a formal meditation.
I know, I know, to some people the word “meditation” sends shivers down their spin, and they conjure up images of tie dye hippies all sat round chanting, but don’t panic! Meditation is nothing like that (unless you want it to be – I am, I have to admit, a bit of a secret hippy…).
Essentially meditation is about creating mental discipline by which you can get beyond the reflexive, “thinking” mind into a state of relaxation or awareness.
Meditation often involves turning attention to a single point of reference and the easiest point of reference is your breath. The great thing about using your breath as a focus when developing mindfulness is that is always there! So you can do a spot of mindfulness meditation whenever you have a spare few minutes, I often to do whilst stood in a queue waiting for something.
Remember though that mediation is not an end in itself, it is about practicing mindfulness so you can use it all of the time. The secret, really, is to ALWAYS be meditating, and I will get onto that in much more detail in later posts, but right now, I want to talk you through a very basic mindfulness mediation so you can start creating a habit if doing it every day. It is a great habit to get into and you will find, with practice, you will become calmer, more focused and energised is a very short space of time.
To begin with, you only need to dedicate 5 minutes to this and slowly build the time up to 20 – 25 minutes (maybe add a minute a week? There is no rush, it is better to build slowly – those are the most powerful habits).
So, what you do is very simple, you don’t need to get yourself in any complicated posture, or burn incense or anything (although you can if you want to, I find it does help – creating a “ritual” around your practice) just sit in a nice firm chair (not a sofa!), make sure your feet can touch the floor, sit forward a bit on the chair so that you are supporting your own back and it has its natural curve (people often find the correct posture the hardest to create – listen to the recent podcasts to hear about how to relax, breath and improve your posture), then just breath! Don’t try and force your breath or change it, just breath. And as you do so, start counting the breath, start at one and go to ten, when you reach ten start at one again (breath in, “one, breath out “two”, etc), if you get distracted by thoughts or whatever, lose count or accidentally go over ten, just draw your attention gently back to your breath and start counting from one again.
Do this for five minutes and see how you get on.