There are many different approach to meditation, but they all aim to achieve roughly the same thing. This post contains a basic approach to meditation that can help get you started.Summary by Gillian McMichael, for The World of Work Project
Our post introducing meditation gives some background and overview of what meditation is and how it can be helpful for individuals, but it doesn’t give specific advice on how to meditate. Given that, we thought we’d share a few basic hints and tips here…
Meditation focuses on the breath, not because there is anything special about it, but because the physical sensation of breathing is always there, and you can use it as an anchor to the present moment. Throughout any practice you may find yourself caught up in thoughts, emotions, sounds—wherever your mind goes, simply come back again to the next breath.
A Simple Meditation Practice
- Sit comfortably. Find a spot that gives you a stable, solid, comfortable seat.
- Notice what your legs are doing. If on a cushion, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, rest the bottoms of your feet on the floor – its important you are grounded.
- Straighten your upper body—but don’t stiffen. Your spine has natural curvature. Let it be there. Loosen your shoulders and relax – we don’t want your shoulders up round your ears!
- Notice what your arms are doing. Situate your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Rest the palms of your hands on your legs wherever it feels most natural. Ideally have your palms face upwards again in a relaxed manner
- Soften your gaze. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward and close your eyes. If this doesn’t feel right, then ensure you have a soft focus
- Feel your breath. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing: the air moving through your nose or mouth, the rising and falling of your belly, or your chest.
- Notice when your mind wanders from your breath. Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. Don’t worry. There’s no need to block or eliminate thinking. When you notice your mind wandering gently return your attention to the breath.
- Be kind about your wandering mind. You may find your mind wandering constantly—that’s normal, too. Instead of wrestling with your thoughts, practice observing them without reacting. Just sit and pay attention. As hard as it is to maintain, that’s all there is. Come back to your breath over and over again, without judgment or expectation.
- When you’re ready, gently open your eyes or lift your gaze. Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.
The World of Work Project View
Meditation is a hugely useful practice that can help people materially improve their lives. It can take practice and dedication though. Make sure that you give yourself space and time to do it and to get better at it, if you think it’s something you wish to really bring into your life.
About the Author
Gillian McMichael is a Chopra Centre Meditation and Wellness Teacher, Reiki Healer and globally recognized Master Coach with the ICF. She works with clients all over the world, helping them connect with their true selves, embrace their life’s purpose and live a healthy and vibrant lives.
Gillian’s journey on this path started in the summer of 2009, when her life fell apart and she felt completely out of control. She got divorced, lost her home and self esteem, her business went into liquidation and her car was driven away, leaving her with nothing apart from a few suitcases and her six year old son.
It took Gillian seven years to get to the stage where she felt full recovery, far longer than she expected it to take for her to feel whole again. On the journey towards rebuilding her own life she realized that her purpose is helping others to find their purpose, and helping them achieve fulfilling lives.
She believes that meditation has been the greatest gift she has given myself in her life, and now works to share this gift with others.
To contact or read more about Gillian, you can check out her wellness website, www.gillianmcmichael.com or her international coaching practice, Full Circle Global. You can also contact her directly on her email: firstname.lastname@example.org.