Well done for making it this far.
Hopefully you didn’t skip any of the lessons. If you did, you and your mind are the only ones that know, but there’s a good chance that during the meditation, your mind will tell you, “you skipped some pages. You’re terrible at meditation. You’ll never get the hang of it. If only you had more money you’d meditate like a pro.”
So for this meditation we’ll do a full 10 minutes. I will walk you through the whole process. I’ll try to type gently so I don’t scare anyone.
Decide where you want to follow the breath and stick with that location for the whole 10 minutes. Avoid the urge to change methods even if one method doesn’t seem to be working for you.
Run through your pre-meditation checklist. As a side note, you’ll be able to tell all of your friends that you’re studying pre-med. They’ll be impressed unless you’re already a doctor.
- Quiet location free from distractions
- Notify other members of your family
- Not too hot, not too cold
- Not hungry, not full
- No tight clothing
- Put away your electronics
- Not too tired / close to bed time
- Sit in your preferred posture (Lotus / Zazen / Chair / Floor)
- Get comfortable / lots of cushions
- Quick body scan / relax tight muscles
- Close your eyes
- Feel the sensations in your body and relax into them
- One last quick check to make sure nothing above is distracting you.
- Fix as necessary
So now we’re ready to begin.
- Take 3 slow deep breaths to signal to your body that you’re about to begin. Belly breathe for these 3 breaths.
- Now relax your breathing into a slow but comfortable rhythm. Not forced, not controlled, just relaxed.
- When you’re breathing is comfortable. Follow the breath. Sense it and study it. Observe it without making comments. Just watch.
- If you can follow the bed sheet and look for that weightless stillness at the top of each breath, even better.
- Continue for 10 minutes or however long you feel comfortable. Just be gentle with yourself and just come back to watching the breath each time you notice your attention has wandered
So how did that feel?
If you can get to that stillness, you’re well on your way.
Every action starts with stillness and ends with stillness. All sounds start in stillness and then trail off back to that stillness. There is stillness between each word. Keep your eyes out for it everywhere.
If you felt like your mind was frustratingly noisy, don’t worry, it’s fine. Your mind has been acting that way for a long time so it’s going to take a little practice and patience to retrain it. Just be gentle. Don’t judge yourself for it because that’s your mind again creating a problem where there isn’t one.
“You suck at meditation, why are you even trying. You’ll never become enlightened. What a waste of time.”
After a while you’ll chuckle at how rude your mind is. And that’s when you know you have it on the run.
Just observe the monkey. Your mind is doing what it’s always done.