Find a comfortable position in a safe, quiet space with limited distractions. This can be seated on the floor with a mat, a chair, lying on a bed (be careful to not let this exercise turn into an unintentional nap) or even standing.
The goal is to be comfortable but also focused and alert.
Your eyes can be closed, half closed, or focused on a single point. Limited visual stimulation is preferable so as to not distract your attention. Start by noticing your breath.
Notice when you begin to inhale. Maintain your concentration through the entire experience of the breath. “Watch” as the breath enters your body, follow it into the lungs and then escort it back out through your nose or mouth. Breathing can either be natural or controlled, meaning you can either “just notice” as these processes occur or mindfully/consciously control them. Keep your attention focused on the actual process of breathing. Your mind will wander. This is not only completely natural, but very much an important part of meditation. Recognize that your mind has wandered, acknowledge where it has wandered to, and now return your attention back to the breath. Do this with self compassion, and maybe even with a little sense of humor.
Mediation is not merely a state of mind but a state of practice. The distractions, tangents, and meanderings of consciousness and then the mindful returning of attention back to the breath IS meditation. Do not worry if your mind is not a tranquil lake of equanimity. Meditation itself is the journey.
Recognize-Notice what you are feeling/thinking/struggling with/what is weighing on you
Allow-Allow your thoughts/feelings to be there. Allow doesn’t mean condone or encourage. Allow/accept just means to be present with what is/with reality/with each moment.
Investigate-What led up to this struggle, what is the context, what are your secondary feelings about it, what do you want/wish for?
Nurture/Non-attach-Realize that you are not your thoughts/emotions/behavior. Create some space by experiencing yourself as an observer of your own processes. Nurture yourself with loving-kindness, forgiveness, and/or compassion.
You can practice with Tara Brach’s video below.
Acknowledge something you are struggling with, but also find and name something you are grateful for. Example: I am feeling sad right now, but I am also grateful for my loved ones. Or I am feeling both angered and frustrated but also grateful to be alive and for the opportunity to try to continue to grow. Or I am feeling overwhelmed, but thankful for the space and ability to be able to process my feelings.
Insight Timer is a free app with guided meditations from teachers all over the world. They offer all different kinds of meditations, whether you want to do a short guided meditation during the day or a meditation to help you fall asleep.
Click on the image above to link to her self-esteem meditation to get you started:
Our very own, Laurie Arena, has a profile:
© A Path To Wellness 2021