A 10 minute guided meditation on the breath with mindfulness and open awareness.
Find a quiet place in your home where you can meditate for a few minutes. And sit down there, either cross-legged on a cushion, or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Straighten your spine, tilt down your head, and half-close your eyes. Let all the muscles in your back, shoulders, neck, and face relax.
Before meditating on the breath, we set a motivation for our meditation. There’s nothing better we could be doing with the next ten minutes than going inward.
We meditate not just to relax, but to stabilize our mind in order to bring about its best qualities.
The view of meditation’s greatest teachers and also today in neuroscience, neuroplasticity, is that the mind and the brain can change. And it is this potential for change that is encouraging and optimistic.
Meditation is building positive patterns in our mind not only for calm and relaxation, but also for goodness, patience, gentleness, kindness, and connectedness. For a moment, feel a sense of confidence in your potential for goodness and contentedness and your capacity to do good to others.
Awareness of breath meditation
And now we bring our attention to our breath. The breath is always with us, and it’s a reflection of our inner state. It’s fast and erratic when we’re tense. And it’s slow and steady when we’re calm.
As we observe our breath, there’s no need to change it. But simply observe it however it is, placing your mind on the breath.
You can focus either at the nostrils, as air comes in and out of the body: it’s cool as it comes it and warm as it goes out. You can also focus on your abdomen as it rises and falls with the in and out of breath filling the lungs. When you focus lower in your body like this it can be grounding, placing your mind deep within your body, where sometimes it’s easier to be less caught up with the thoughts associated with our head.
While you are meditating, thoughts and feelings, memories or plans, might arise. When these do, there’s no need to push them away. And there’s also no need to bring them close. Just let any thoughts, feelings, memories, plans, even aches and pains, if that’s possible, just let them pass by. Each of these mental experiences begins, grows, diminishes, and disappears. This happens on its own, without your pushing or pulling. Each mental experience is like a cloud passing through the sky or a ripple on a lake.
So when you notice yourself distracted, that’s perfectly fine. Accept this, and realize that by noticing, you have already come back. By becoming aware of your distraction, you have already returned to your meditation, where you gently place your mind back on your breath.
So for a few minutes, just silently focus on the breath like this, grounded in your body’s fundamental rhythm of life.
And now, coming out of the meditation, pay attention to how your mind has changed even after a few minutes. How does it feel? More relaxed, more open, contented, calm?
Awareness of our breath can extend as we get up off the cushion to awareness of everything we do. And if you find yourself later being compelled by loops and patterns you may not want to follow, bring your mind back to the breath like we did in meditation. And see how this also helps to accept and process and let go of more disturbing thoughts and feelings and emotions that come and go during the day.
May my short meditation today become the cause for gradual, continuous change in my mind toward its better nature, and toward a meaningful, compassionate, connected life.
Written and hosted by Scott Snibbe
Edited and mastered by Bradley Parsons of Train Sound Studio