Here are some simple mediation instructions for anyone looking to get started. Meditation is a very simple practice, but it can have profoundly positive effects. The more simple you keep your meditation practice the more likely you’re going to continue to meditate. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Meditation is not passive, you have to work, but be careful not to work too hard.
  • Sitting on a regular basis is more important than how long you sit (every day for five minutes is better than once a week for forty-five minutes).
  • A still body helps create a still mind, so move as little as possible.
  • Your sense of time is very different while meditating, try to avoid constantly checking the timer.
  • Your mind loves to tell stories, as much as possible let go of these, there’s always time for them when you’re not meditating.
  • Don’t be surprised when your mind wanders, it will.
  • Don’t berate yourself when your mind wanders.
  • Common “problems” that meditators experience are sleepiness or boredom, anger, craving, restlessness or anxiety, and doubt.
  • Often negative feelings seem to appear during meditation, usually they’re there already, you only noticed when you stop and be still.
  • Don’t expect big changes in days, weeks or months, meditation is a long term meditation practice, perhaps life-long.

Find a comfortable way to sit, either on a chair with a cushion. Don’t worry about getting fancy and sitting in a particular way. Just make sure you’re comfortable and your back is straight. This helps in two ways, it helps you breathe without much effort and it helps you stay alert. Avoid laying down unless you have back issues, you’re more likely to fall asleep than meditate. Spend a minute or two just getting into a comfortable position, try a couple variations to make sure what you think is comfortable actually is.

Allow your awareness to move away from your thoughts and move into your body. For a minute or so try to physically relax. Relaxation isn’t the point of meditation, but it’s helpful to go into your meditation as relaxed as possible.

Gently close your eyes and find a place where it’s easy to notice your breath. Often this can be at the base of your belly, your chest, where the breath exits your nose, or the back of your throat. Any will do, the easier to notice the better (this may change over time, but for each sitting, pick one and stick to it).

You may only be able to pay attention to the breath for a few seconds or a few minutes. Sooner or later your mind will wander. When it does and you notice that it wandered (this is a little moment of mindfulness!), without criticizing yourself, gently bring your attention back to your breath. When your mind wanders again, bring it back to the breath. Over and over without judgement, bring your attention back to your breath.

Keep doing this until your timer goes off. It’s very common to want to check the timer. This is just your mind, unfamiliar with being still. Over time you will gets used to it.

To recap:

  • Settle in to comfortable way to sit.
  • Find your breath.
  • When anything at all pulls your attention away from it, gently return to the breath.
  • Rinse, repeat.

That’s all there is to meditation. It is simple, if not easy. It will be different every time you sit and the more your meditation practice the more you will grow to love it. Be sure to check out Lotus Bud Meditation Timer to help you dive into your meditation practice. The reminders feature on the Goal tab is especially helpful when getting started.