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A Simple, Beginner’s Meditation

Meditation can bring greater health, learning, and productivity, so why doesn’t everyone do it?  I’m going to postulate that people that do not meditate think you have to be a Buddhist Monk, the Dalai Lama, or Mr. Miyagi to do it properly.  Maybe they’ve just never been introduced to the practice.  It’s not that difficult to get started.

“Beginner, meet meditation.  Meditation, welcome your new friend.”

Mr. Miyagi
Mr. Miyagi

Try this exercise.

  1. Turn off anything generating noise and remove any immediate distractions (or) move yourself to a place without distractions.
  2. Close your eyes or keep them open if you prefer.
  3. Sit upright in a comfortable position keeping your back straight.
  4. Concentrate your mind on only your breathing.  When your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your breath.
  5. Take a long deep breath in through your nose.  Pause before breathing out.
  6. Slowly exhale through your mouse.  Pause before breathing in.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 ten times counting in between each breath.
  8. Note how you feel.

I bet you feel better than when you started.  Meditation is that simple.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  There are more advanced forms of meditation, but like anything else it’s best to start slow.

Practice this routine at a regular time each day.  Upon waking or before bed are great signposts to practice, but even working meditation into your day at work can prove fruitful.  Try it with your eyes open.  No one has to know.

After a few weeks you will begin to notice profound changes in your personality and outlook on life.  The world will slow down, the grass will smell a little greener, and your mind will steady.

Why does meditation work making you more focused, steady, and productive?  There are many reasons, but consider that the right and left side of your brain are a pair and only one can operate at a time.  This is called reciprocal inhibition.  When you focus on your breath, you’re concentrating on awareness of your body and activating the visual/spatial right side of your brain.  The verbal left side of your brain is shut down during this process, although it will occasionally try to wrestle control back from the right side.  Like in the practice above, acknowledge the left side when it rears its head, but then gently kick the door shut on it as you focus on the breath.  Always focus on the breath, the breath, the breath…

Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in eternal awareness or pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.

– Voltaire