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A 4 step methodology to get started with meditation


There are hundreds of different meditation styles and techniques. These are 5 easy meditations you can try right now, in just a few minutes. They are pared-down versions of more complex meditations that you can explore when you are ready.

Start with 5 minutes and maybe work your way up to 15 or 20 minutes. Sit in a comfortable meditation position that you can hold for at least 5 minutes. And close your eyes.

If you find your mind wandering towards thinking, as it inevitably will, gently let go of the thoughts and bring your attention back to the focus of your meditation.

1. Mindfulness of breath - Take three deep breaths and then settle into your natural breathing.  Begin by focusing your awareness on your breath as it flows in and out of your nostrils, notice how it feels as you inhale and exhale, notice the sensations in the nostrils.  How does it feel?  Is it warm, cool, rough, smooth, free-flowing?  Is there any sound?  Is there any sensation in your throat as you breath? Just notice, without judgment.  Then bring your attention to the rise and fall of your chest, and to the gentle ballooning of your abdomen as you inhale and exhale. Notice how the your body moves to make breathing possible.  Just notice, with curiosity and without judgment.  Continue exploring the sensations of your breath for as long as you like.

2. "So hum" mantra meditation - This is a powerful, contemplative meditation, connecting your to the ultimate "am-ness" of humanity, to your own true self. "So hum" means "I am that".  Begin by bringing your attention to the flow of your breath, in and out through your nostrils.  When your focus has settled, begin silently repeating the mantra: as you inhale say "so" to yourself, as you release your breath say "hum".  Continue breathing naturally and repeating the mantra with each breath.  If you mind wanders, simply bring it back to your mantra.

3. Visualize a peaceful place - Think of a place where you have felt happy, peaceful and calm.  It could be a beautiful place in nature you have been to, a beach, a forest, a mountain, it could be a room in your home.  Then imagine yourself back there and remember all you can about it.  Remember the sights, the sounds, the fragrances that you experienced. Think of all the details...the time, the season, all the colours that surround you, what colour was the sky, were there any clouds, was it warm, was it breezy, what was that scent...  Remember how you were feeling in that place, remember the joy and the peace, the sense of bliss.  Be there in those happy moments for as long as you like. And then bring all those beautiful sensations and feelings into the present moment.  When you are ready bring your awareness back into the room.

4. Gratitude meditation - Sitting peacefully with your eyes closed, think about 5 things you have to be grateful for today, in this moment.  Think of what surrounds you, think of the people in your life, think of what has happened today (or yesterday) remembering that even the small things and small gestures can bring us much joy.  And for each of your 5 things, say thank you - to yourself, to another, to the earth, to the universe - with a deep sense of gratitude.  When you've finished, open your eyes with a new appreciation or all you have in your life.

5. Just sitting - This is the un-meditation meditation. Simply sit still in your meditation pose with your eyes closed. That's it. Just sit and observe your breath, notice the sensations in your body, the emotions and feelings that may arise, the sounds you may hear.  Just notice, without judgement.  Try not to get distracted by thinking about what you are observing, just observe.  If stories or thoughts arise, just let them go.  And just sit ... in stillness and silence ... observing ... for as long as you like.