Beginning Breathing Meditation
Written by Jasmine
Webmistress The Majickal Garden
When I talk to most people about meditation the first thing they say is “My mind is so busy I can’t stop thinking!” This is very normal for all of us starting out. Thinking is a natural state. It is by no means a reason to not try meditation. All it takes is 5 minutes and a desire to try it. If you find all you can handle when you start out is a few minutes; it is a beginning not a failure! It is a practice that the more you do it the easier it gets to understand how to control your thoughts and discover a place where you can visit when you choose to relax your body, rest your mind and feed your soul. Understand there is no right or wrong and you can’t fail. Your desire to do this will carry you through the early stages along with some suggestions to help you find what works the best for you. For as long as I have been practicing there are times when a few minutes is all I can manage however I always feel better for the time I spent doing it! I will share with you what worked for me when I started.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for the 5 minutes. Anywhere really. I found my car a great option when I had a busy house full of active children when I first began. I also popped into our camping trailer sometimes to find moments of peace before I was discovered. Then I got smart and let them know that if mom was in this place, I was to be left alone unless someone was bleeding. ; )
Sit comfortably, either in a chair or cross legged on the floor, back against an easy chair on the floor or lie down…whatever feels the most comfortable. If you can’t sit cross legged then find a position comfortable for you. If sitting, sit up with spine straight, shoulders back and lowered naturally. If you are sitting rest your hands with palms upright comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes and begin by taking a few slow breaths inhaling/exhaling about 7 counts. Focus your mind on your breathing and be aware how your body feels as you do so. Become aware of the gentle rise and fall of your belly without altering your breathing. Notice the coolness on your nostrils as you inhale and warm as you exhale. Feel your body begin to relax. After about 3 breaths in and out, allow you’re breathing to settle naturally. Don’t alter it – just observe it in awareness.
Thoughts will come to your mind. This is normal. Try not to respond to them as they do; as in engaging in a dialog in your head. Acknowledge the thought and try to let it pass. When I started out and a thought seemed important enough to distract me with concern I might forget it, I would keep a paper and pen beside me to jot it down briefly and let it go – returning to my meditative posture. A suggestion for me that helped was when a nagging thought popped in my mind I would picture it as a curtain that I visualized being drawn gently to the right and let it go. Observe without commenting with dialog in your mind and let it go. If you hear a noise as in a car passing, an airplane, or dog barking…do the same. Categorize your nagging thoughts. Can you do anything about it at that moment? No? Let them go.
Another thing that worked in the beginning, when my mind continued to wander, was as I observed my breathing I thought the words “in” and “out” with each breath. This helps focus as the mind cannot think two things at once. I noticed the more I practiced this, the calmer my mind got and as time passed I used this method less and less. Depending on my state of mind I revert back to my beginning methods to help me center myself in meditation state.
The goal here is to try for 5 minutes. If after a short time of willful intent and your mind continues to be active…give yourself a break and try another time. Know that this is your time to give your body and mind a much needed rest and refueling. There is no loss in your effort and continuing on a regular basis will only reward you with your own progress. At the very least you might notice your body has become more relaxed during these practices and this is the beginning!
Try meditating for a few minutes when you leave your job, sitting in your vehicle. Focus on leaving your workday behind, relaxing your mind. Breathe in and out slowly. Be fully aware in that moment that for those few minutes they are all yours. Allow it for yourself. You can take a few minutes as you have settled in your bed at night to practice this. Try it as soon as you awaken in the morning. This might sound odd but if you are seated on the toilet, take a few minutes for yourself to close your eyes and breathe in and out relaxation in clearing your mind! My point with that one is there is really no excuse to not find this time for you on a daily basis! With any practice where you find benefits, the continuation of practicing will become a healthy pleasant refueling need for your mind, body and spirit!