The easiest way to integrate mediation into your life is to add it to whatever you are already doing. When you walk, use your mind to be truly present for your walk. While you eat, chew your food with the thorough chewing of each bite. While you are sweeping a floor or cleaning your car, reflect on how your body feels while you are using it to bring order to your world. These are all samples of meditation.
1. From Leo Babauta: Meditation: The Most Fundamental Habit: How to Form the Meditation Habit
It’s pretty simple, but the doing is everything:
- Commit to just 2 minutes a day. Start simply if you want the habit to stick. You can do it for 5 minutes if you feel good about it, but all you’re committing to is 2 minutes each day.
- Pick a time and trigger. Not an exact time of day, but a general time, like morning when you wake up, or during your lunch hour. The trigger should be something you already do regularly, like drink your first cup of coffee, brush your teeth, have lunch, or arrive home from work.
- Find a quiet spot. Sometimes early morning is best, before others in your house might be awake and making lots of noise. Others might find a spot in a park or on the beach or some other soothing setting. It really doesn’t matter where — as long as you can sit without being bothered for a few minutes. A few people walking by your park bench is fine.
- Sit comfortably. Don’t fuss too much about how you sit, what you wear, what you sit on, etc. I personally like to sit on a pillow on the floor, with my back leaning against a wall, because I’m very inflexible. Others who can sit cross-legged comfortably might do that instead. Still others can sit on a chair or couch if sitting on the floor is uncomfortable. Zen practitioners often use a zafu, a round cushion filled with kapok or buckwheat. Don’t go out and buy one if you don’t already have one. Any cushion or pillow will do, and some people can sit on a bare floor comfortably.
- Focus on your breath. As you breathe in, follow your breath in through your nostrils, then into your throat, then into your lungs and belly. Sit straight, keep your eyes open but looking at the ground and with a soft focus. If you want to close your eyes, that’s fine. As you breathe out, follow your breath out back into the world. If it helps, count … one breath in, two breath out, three breath in, four breath out … when you get to 10, start over. If you lose track, start over. If you find your mind wandering (and you will), just pay attention to your mind wandering, then bring it gently back to your breath. Repeat this process for the few minutes you meditate. You won’t be very good at it at first, most likely, but you’ll get better with practice.
And that’s it. It’s a very simple practice, but you want to do it for 2 minutes, every day, after the same trigger each day. Do this for a month and you’ll have a daily meditation habit.
2. From Karen Salmansohn: A Beginner Meditation — For Toddlers!
I just did a three-minute meditation with my two and a half year old son, Ari.
We sat on his bed.
I told him to breathe. Breathe deeply. In and out.
Ari then said he had “bubbles nose.” His words. He’s recovering from a clogged nose thing.
I told him to breathe through his mouth: in, out, in, out. He did.
I told him to close his eyes and tell me a color.
He yelled out a color: “Red!”
I told him to think about that color. Keep his eyes closed, and picture the color red. Imagine the color red.
Then I asked for another color.
He yelled one out: “Yellow.”
I told him to think about yellow.
We went through a few colors: green, blue, black.
Next, I told him to envision it raining. Rain falling. Rain falling. Rain falling.
He repeated: “Rain falling.”
I told him to envision it snowing. White snow falling. Pretty white snow falling. Fluffy white snow falling.
I told him to imagine white snow on top of a car.
White snow on the road.
He said the word “snow.”
I told him to imagine lots of snow falling.
Then he said, “Mountain.”
There was snow on a mountain within a movie we recently saw.
I said, “Yes. Imagine snow on a mountain, like in that movie. Snow on the mountain top.”
I added, “Remember that lake in that movie? How the water was flowing in a lake? Imagine the water, moving. Water moving. Imagine you are on the water. Floating, moving, swimming, floating on water. Moving on water. You are on the water. Moving, floating. Weeeeeee! Weeeeee!”
He said, “Weeee. Weeee. Weeee” a few times.
We did that for a minute, then finished up breathing in and out.
My first introduction to meditation—for a two and a half year old!