How to Meditate

As the holidays approach, keeping one’s cool becomes more of a challenge. Gifts, travel, relatives, familial obligations, finances, and deadlines conspire to create new stress and exacerbate existing stress. Meditation is your antidote. Though you might prefer spiked egg nog, meditation has more science backing up its claims. Learn how to meditate. Meditation is your answer. (There’s even a new meditation emoji on the iPhone.)

But what kind of meditation is right for you? How do you meditate?

There are as many forms of meditation as there are meditation cushions. Clear the mind, focus on the breath, walk, mindfulness, chant, visualize, listen to birds, bathe in the forrest, focus on an image, lie down, stand up, close your eyes…You get the picture.

With the right mindset, almost anything can be meditation. So, how do you find the right mindset? This is the question seekers have been asking since the advent of seeking.

Here’s an easy way to start to meditate: Just Breathe.

This is probably one of the most basic meditation instructions and yet it can be challenging. Simply observing  yourself, sitting quietly, and just breathing is not as easy as it as easy as it sounds. We tend to change the breath once we begin to observe it. (I always want to slow it down and lengthen the breath.) Instead of changing the breath, simply observe it.

Find a comfortable seated position (on a cushion, on a chair…choose a comfortable position for your body) and set a timer for five minutes. With eyes open or closed (closed is usually easier), become the observer of your breath. Notice where the breath causes movement in the body. Do you breathe at the belly, the ribs, or the upper chest? Are you trying to change your breath? Just observe without judgement.

Your mind may wander. Let it. And then casually bring your attention back to the breath.

That’s it! That’s a great way to get into meditation. All you need are five minutes, a timer, and a place to sit.