In an age where we are consumed by and inundated with stimulation from ads, text messages, social media, news, (I mean, I could go on), we rarely take time to be fully present in a given moment. We don’t have time to do everything the day calls for, and many times we don’t take a second to look up from the whirlwind that is our life. Many of you might not know that I graduated with a degree in Religious Studies and took to meditation pretty eagerly during my college years. Vipassana meditation, in which the practitioner focuses on the breath, has helped me immensely with being in the present moment and to manage general anxiety, and it’s something I still practice today. I encourage you to take a break one or two times over the next week and quiet your mind in an effort to deal with daily stressors and general goings-on in your life by following this meditation guide below.
- Wearing loose-fitting clothing, find a comfortable, quiet place to sit with good posture, either on the floor or in a chair. Decide the length of time you want to set aside, and maybe even set a low-level timer for yourself. For your first session, I would recommend 5-10 minutes max.
- Once you have established a comfortable sitting position, begin to notice your breath, not forcing it in or out.
- The practice is simple: notice the rising and falling of the breath. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
- Try to avoid expectation of yourself. Especially when you’re new to meditation, your mind will wander. You will think about—and maybe even worry about—the laundry list of tasks you have to accomplish. Stressors, conversations with others, memories, etc., will enter your mind. And that’s ok. Notice that your mind has wandered, actively let go of whatever your mind is focused on, and refocus the mind on the breath.
Chances are, you will feel lighter, taller, freer, and/or more aware than when you started!