Starting a Meditation Practice

Meditation is the intentional practice of managing a state of intense focus for the goal of self-improvement. Traditional seated meditation is not just emptying the mind and thinking of nothing.  Simply choose one thing to think about and focus your attention there for a time, two or three minutes to start.  In the example below the focus is on the breath.

  • Find a comfortable seat, on pillow, in a chair, or your favorite spot
  • Arrange your legs in whatever way you feel comfortable.
  • Close your eyes, rest your arms on your legs
  • Breathe naturally without making any changes
  • Observe the movement of your body as you breathe
  • Focus your awareness on the breath and the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale
  • Feel your collarbone lift as you soften your shoulders
  • Continue to focus on the breath until the end of your meditation practice.

It is helpful to think of the element that you are focusing on as your anchor.  Other meditations could focus on an image or activity, like hiking a trail or kayaking down the river. The key is to relax the body and be comfortable, continue to breathe naturally and keep your focus on your anchor- the image, the activity or the breath itself.

It’s ok if your mind wanders, just take note of it, without judgement that it is good or bad, then return your focus back to your breath.  Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods. Remember, it is called a practice.  You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep trying.