10 minutes daily.
1 (or 2 if you’d like to practice with a partner)
Step 1: Find a quiet and separate space. We have an upstairs loft and it is the perfect place to separate myself from all of the things waiting on me downstairs, whether it’s cleaning, grading, or even my current binge show. Where can you find your own separate place where you can focus only on the present moment? Maybe a chair by a window, maybe your bed, or maybe going on a walk is your separate place.
Step 2: Find your breath. I follow the typical “breathe in, hold, breathe out” pattern that my body naturally follows, but following the different parts of the in and out breath have been helpful as well. As you breathe, notice the three sections of your in breath. Beginning, middle, and end. As you notice your lungs begin to inflate, there are distinct portions that allow you to be more attentive and mindful of your body’s natural rhythm. This is called the breath within the breath. Follow the same pattern as you meet the middle, as well as when you breathe out. Beginning, middle, and end. You can stay here, and just enjoy your breath, or you can engage in a body scan or a visualization.
Step 3: The breath is the vehicle into our bodies, and is like a tunnel to seeing, tasting, hearing, touching, and just being in a more present way. As you sit, or as you walk, travel through your senses. What do you see? Are your eyes closed? What do you taste? Are you sipping tea? Do you feel the warmth trickle down your throat and into your stomach? What do you hear? What are you touching and how does it feel on your skin? Ask yourself probing questions in order to keep your mind in the present instead of trailing away.
Step 4: If you find yourself trailing away, exercise grace. Becoming discouraged is more harmful to your mindfulness than being distracted. Just simply acknowledge the thought, and place it back in your mind’s box for later. It will still be there, and you will still be here.
Step 5: Take this practice with you. There is no concluding step. The goal is to carry mindfulness in your pocket, to let your practice seep into every aspect of your life, making you a more present and therefore a more happy person. Mindfully eat, mindfully sleep, mindfully live, and see your frustration and dissatisfaction shrink day by day. Before you continue on, wish yourself and others peace, happiness, and wellness. This is called Lovingkindness, and it’s my favorite part.
My favorite meditation resources:
Headspace - Headspace has been so helpful in my meditation journey and gave me a complete crash course on how to live a healthy and happy life . Headspace offers so many guided meditations of various topics, peaceful soundtracks, and sleepcasts that tell relaxing and detailed bedtime stories. If you are a student, you can sign up for only $9.99 per year.
Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection by Sharon Salzberg - Sharon Salzberg has been such an influential guide in my life, and her most recent book on loving others and ourselves mindfully has taught me to be more genuine and generous with my love through meditative practice.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s Walk With Me - This documentary is an inside look at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village community in France that practices mindfulness and monastic life. It is amazing to see the power of mindfulness and how it creates communities of peace and understanding. It is available on Netflix as well as Prime Video.
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
I’d love to hear how mindfulness impacts your day to day, and how you have made meditation a part of your daily practice. This is one of my favorite things to geek out over so I’d love to discuss more and send more helpful resources your way!