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There are many different ways to meditate. Sitting meditation exercises are a good place to start.

Body awareness in 5 breaths

Start by sitting in a comfortable, dimly lighted, quiet and safe place with your eyes closed. You can choose any position you like, other than lying on the bed. Avoid doing this exercise directly after a meal.

Spend the first two minutes paying attention to all of the sounds you hear in the environment. Allow your awareness to travel to the source of the sounds. Try to avoid making any judgments about the sounds. At this point, gradually settle your awareness and bring it to your breath. Practice slow, deep, diaphragmatic breathing for the rest of the exercise. Breathe at a rate and depth that feels comfortable. Then:

  • Take a deep breath as you bring your awareness to your head. Imagine your brain filling up with soothing white light. Gradually exhale this breath.
  • Take a deep breath as you bring your awareness to your face and neck. Imagine your face and neck filling up with soothing white light. Gradually exhale this breath.
  • Take a deep breath as you bring your awareness to your chest. Imagine your chest filling up with soothing white light. Gradually exhale this breath.
  • Take a deep breath as you bring your awareness to your belly. Imagine your belly filling up with soothing white light. Gradually exhale this breath.
  • Take a deep breath as you bring your awareness to your entire body. Imagine your entire body filling up with soothing white light. Gradually exhale this breath.

Continue this exercise for as long as you like. Aim for 10 sets, which will take about 10 minutes.

Gratitude meditation

Sit in a quiet, safe place with your eyes closed. Settle into slow, deep breathing for a few minutes. Think of the earliest memory of someone helping you. It could have been a parent, relative, friend, teacher, neighbor or anyone you remember fondly. Bring that person’s face in front of your closed eyes for a few breaths and then send your silent gratitude.

Repeat this practice with as many people as you like. As your practice develops, you can include people who have died, people who have challenged you and helped you grow, and people who you might meet in the future. Try not to rush through the practice. Instead, savor the moment. Continue slow, deep breathing throughout this exercise.

Practice, practice, practice

Meditation takes practice. The mind likes movement and will resist your attempt to still it at first. Be patient with yourself. If you’re new to meditation, set aside a specific time and place to meditate every day. Over time, you’ll learn how to stop stirring and focus your attention.

 

 

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