A simple meditation practice

Here is a simple way to relax, quiet your mind, and cultivate inner peace.  

Getting ready
Begin by getting comfortable.  If you are sitting on a chair, let your feet be flat on the ground, and your back comfortably straight.  If you like to lie down, stretch out completely, letting your weight sink into the floor or bed.

As you relax, feel your body as a whole.  Just notice the sensations, wherever they may be, for a minute or more.

Noticing the breath
As you feel the different sensations in your body, one of the easiest things you might notice is your breath.
How does your breath feel?  Just pay attention, for a minute or longer.

Focusing the breath
Now, feel the breath as it happens in your belly; pretend that your breath is happening only there.
Inhaling, imagine your belly expanding like a balloon.
Exhaling, imagine the balloon collapsing slowly.
You may put your hands on your belly to feel this action.
Breathe this way for 4, 5, even 10 breaths.

Now, imagine that the breath is happening only in your chest.
Feel your ribcage expand as you breathe in, and sink back as you breathe out.
You may put your hands on your ribs, if you like, to feel this action.
Take a few breaths this way, pretending that the breath is only in your chest.

Now, feel the breath in your shoulders.
Let your shoulders rise slightly as you breathe in, and settle down as you breathe out.
Each inhalation lifts your shoulders gently; each exhalation relaxes your shoulders again.
Breathe this way for 4, 5, even 10 breaths.

Now, focus on the movement of the breath in your throat.
Feel the movement of the air lightly through your throat as you inhale and exhale.
You may touch your throat gently with your hand if you like.

Next, feel the breath only in your nostrils – without a sound –like a soft breeze over the hillside.
Just notice the breath as it moves in and out of your nostrils.
As before, breathe this way for a set number of times, whatever you have chosen for this sitting.

Finally, feel the breath at the point between the eyebrows.
As the breath enters your nostrils, imagine the air softly moving up to the point between your eyebrows . . . emanating from there as you exhale.
You may like to touch the point lightly.

Into quietness
Continue breathing this way for a little while, whether 10, 20, or 50 breaths, or 5, 10, even 15 minutes.
A simple reminder:  let your mind and body be loose.
Whenever you find yourself wondering what to do with your attention, feel the breath at the point between your eyebrows.

Coming out
Knowing that one could rest this way a long time, purpose in your heart to keep the restfulness with you by taking your time to come out very slowly, beginning with the thought, “Time to come out.”
Then, when you are ready, start to move in some small, easy way – stretching your feet or hands . . . or slowly moving your shoulders . . . or gently moving your head. Take your time. Moving from within, responding to your natural readiness for opening your eyes, cultivates inner confidence and non-reactivity, two vital attributes of an environmental leader.
Only when you’re ready, open your eyes slowly.
Take some time to see the world anew, before you easily enter once again into activity.

Text and photos by Stuart Moody
Copyright 2012