The following is a video of a guided meditation working with ana pana sati, mindfulness of the movement of the breath in the body. The meditation practice is to be done with eyes closed. Listen to the instructions and follow the guidance. There are numerous pauses throughout the guidance which gives you the opportunity to sink deeply into the heart of the meditation.
1. Choose the best time for your daily meditation.
Many people choose first thing in the morning. If you need to go to bed a half hour , forty-five minutes earlier or even 1 hour earlier in order to get up for your meditation period,do so.
Other folks are night meditators and meditate prior to going to bed.
Whatever time you discover, stick to it.
2. Cultivate meditation as a daily habit, the way you would brushing your teeth.
3. Set an alarm for your meditation time.
4. Create a dedicated space for your meditation. Use this space solely for meditation.
5. Light a candle prior to your meditation. This is optional, however it creates an effective demarcation into your meditation.
6. Time your meditation. Determine the length of your meditation prior to sitting down and stick to it (whether you “feel” feel like it or not. Whether you are scattered or concentrated).
One way to time your mediation period, is to light a stick of incense that burns the length of your meditation. Or set a non-ticking timer.
7. Create success by setting manageable “bite-sizeed” goals.
If you are a beginner:
Week 1 10 minutes
Week 2: 15 minutes
Week 3-6 20 minutes
Week 7-10 25 minutes
Week 11-13 30 minutes
Week 14. Add 5 minutes. Sustain for three weeks. Continue this pattern until your reach 45 minutes.
If you are already meditating regularly and want to increase your time, apply this same formula until you arrive at your goal length of time.
8. Mark every day that you meditate on a visible wall calendar with a pleasing sticker, such as a star.
Enjoy your meditation practice!
How do I work with negative states of mind? In Theravadin Buddhism we talk about the five hindrances of mind. These include sensual desire, ill-will, restlessness, sloth and torpor, and skeptical doubt. Check this blog each week over the next six weeks to find out more about these negative states. Learn some classical and contemporary antidotes to these troubling states of mind.
Other names for some of these hindrances: Sensual desire is also referred to as the wanting mind. Included in ill-will is anger, hatred, aversion and resentment. Restlessness includes anxiety, worry and remorse. Sloth and torpor refers to sleepiness, sluggishness of the mind and the body. Skeptical doubt includes questioning your abilities to meditate and be successful, to have insights, to realize the truth. It can also include questioning the accuracy, truth of Universal Truths. One example would be doubting that cause and effect exists. Doubting that the actions of our body, speech and mind have no effects and no consequences. There is a critical difference between doubt and investigation. One can look into the nature of cause and effect, ask questions, explore the topic without doubting it.
The first practice in working with the hindrances is recognition. Both during the day, on and off the meditation cushion, recognize and name any of these states, as they are present. Pay attention to your mind. Observe it and give a weather report. Is your mind cloudy, clear, overcast and clearing? Is it stirred up or bogged down with any one of the five hindrances? Find out for yourself, on a moment to moment basis. Check in with yourself on the hour, during the day and discover.