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!
3.From “Mindfulness in 2 Minutes—It Really is This Simple”:
The art of simply noticing
Mindfulness is often defined as “the awareness that arises by paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” — Jon Kabat Zin
This is a mouthful, and daunting for people new to the practice. Mindfulness is better described as the state of simply ‘noticing things’.
Yes, just noticing things. It really is that simple. If you are noticing things, you are mindful of them. If you are not noticing things, you are not mindful of them.
So what are you supposed to notice?
Anything really: The wind, background music, your thoughts, your feelings, the space between your eyebrows, or any bodily sensation for that matter. You can even walk, talk, eat, drink and listen mindfully. The breath is one of the most popular anchors. I once heard someone say: “Life starts with a breath and ends with a breath; it must be important.”
Is it really that simple?
This is the heart of mindfulness, but once you choose something to notice, you are then required to focus on it.
3.From Farhad Manjoo “You Should Meditate Every Day“:
I knew all of this when I first began meditating a year ago, but I was still surprised at how the practice altered my relationship with the digital world. At first, it wasn’t easy: After decades of swimming in the frenetic digital waters, I found that my mind was often too scrambled to accommodate much focus. Sitting calmly, quietly and attempting to sharpen my thoughts on the present moment was excruciating. For a while, I flitted among several meditation books and apps, trying different ways to be mindful without pain.
Then, about four months ago, I brute-forced it: I made meditation part of my morning routine and made myself stick with it. I started with 10 minutes a day, then built up to 15, 20, then 30. Eventually, something clicked, and the benefits became noticeable, and then remarkable.
The best way I can describe the effect is to liken it to a software upgrade for my brain — an update designed to guard against the terrible way the online world takes over your time and your mind.
Now, even without app blockers, I can stay away from mindless online haunts without worrying that I’m missing out. I can better distinguish what’s important from what’s trivial, and I’m more gracious and empathetic with others online. As far as I know, people are still wrong on the internet, but, amazingly, I don’t really care anymore.