I had no idea what I was doing. I would sit for 30 to 45 minutes, trying to wrestle my mind into submission. It never worked. I needed a teacher or guidance. I was in too much of a rush for results and too stubborn to put in the time to research. Since then I’ve found Vipassana meditation, which has changed my life and I’ve been inspired to share some of what I’ve learned.
When starting a meditation practice, the amount of time we devote is not important. What is important is that we start a practice and we commit ourselves to performing it daily. This naturally allows us to settle into a routine. From there we can begin to extend our practice sessions. Even five minutes a day can have a drastic impact simply because we rarely, if ever, take time out of our schedules to stop, sit and pay attention. It doesn’t matter where you do it or when or what type of meditation you prefer right now. The point is just to do something consistently. Honing your skills will come with time and diligence.
Below is a meditation written by Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s simple and effective enough for a beginner to get a feel for meditation practice.
Breathing in, I calm my body
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.
Breathing in, I calm my body– Allow your body to become calm with the freshness of incoming air. Scan your body, noticing any tension.
Breathing out, I smile– As you release your breath, release any tension you noticed and smile.
Dwelling in the present moment– Again become aware of your breath and body and open to the experience of the present moment.
I know this is a wonderful moment– Explore the wonders of being present.
Once you become familiar with each statement, you can shorten the exercise to make it easier to remember while meditating.
(Breathe in) Calming.
(Breathe out) Smiling.
(Breathe in) Present Moment.
(Breathe out) Wonderful Moment.
Here are a few words to keep you on track…
When your mind wanders off, just notice that it has wandered and come back to the simple mantra. Notice the mantra, and notice the mind wandering. Don’t get caught up by trying to make something happen, just keep noticing you’ve drifted off and keep coming back to the breath or the mantra.
By noticing what occurs during meditation, you are cultivating awareness. Cultivating awareness will help you see your life more clearly. Awareness will naturally overflow from your meditation practice into your daily life.
You doing nothing, is you doing something. Don’t rush it, don’t expect anything, just sit.
I started off with folded up pillows, a towel and no direction. Now my practice gives me the direction I need to find clarity within life.