Meditation can be a really useful way to calm the mind, slow down your thoughts and get in touch with whom you really are. It’s a powerful tool to help manage stress and also to develop your spiritual health.
Our mind runs away with us. Meditation brings it back. When we meditate, we give our mind a single point of focus. Every time we notice our thoughts have run off, we bring them back to the focus. It’s not about silencing your thoughts. It’s about being aware of your thoughts, and your feelings, senses and responses.
Here is a simple meditation exercise you might like to try:
- Find a quiet place without disturbances.
- Take one or two changing breaths.
- Bring your attention to your breath. Notice what that breath feels like around your nostrils as you breathe in and out. Notice when the breath begins, notice when it ends.
- Silently count each breath at the end of the breath. Count up to seven breaths.
- When your mind wanders off, or you lose count, gently bring your mind back to the breath and start counting again from one. Keep going for as long as you decide to. Five minutes is enough to start with.
- Take one or two changing breaths to finish.
Try out the Headspace app for support with meditation, or look for a group near you. If this guidance doesn't work for you, try the step-by-step meditation practice below.
Recommended 10 minutes minimum per day. Possibility of morning and evening practice.
1. Preparation for practice
- Establish a place with no interruptions.
- Still and calming.
- Not cluttered.
- Use objects, flowers etc to make it a place of meditation.
- Make sure you have some timing device (or music/CD).
- Adopt an alert, upright posture.
- If you have a regular practice position then of course use this.
3. If on a seat
- Relaxed alertness
- Back straight but comfortable
- Feet on the ground
- Hands on lap
4. Finding your focus
- Eyes closed (if open look at a neutral place)
- Scan your body for any tensions and feelings
5. The Practice
- Watching the breath
- Notice your breath as it enters your body
- Focus on the ‘in’ breath
- Notice the point at which the ‘in’ breath turns into the ‘out’ breath
- Focus on the ‘out’ breath
- Count 7 whole breaths
- If you lose count, then go back to one and count again
- Take 2 changing breaths and slowly open your eyes
- Take your time to move