The Big Lebowski meditating

Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t terribly complex. In a general sense, it isn’t much different than the process we talked about in Chocolate Mindfulness: It is simply putting your attention on one thing for a certain amount of time. The first way that I learned how to do this is by counting breaths.

One conscious breath -- in and out -- is a meditation  ~ Eckart Tolle
One conscious breath — in and out — is a meditation ~ Eckart Tolle

What exactly are we doing here?

  1. Find a place to sit comfortably and be undisturbed for a while. I recommend starting with about five minutes, especially if you are not familiar with meditation.
  2. Take your seat and get into the right posture. This video gives you good information and demonstration on how to get in several correct postures for meditation. For most people not used to meditation, the chair is easiest to start with.
  3. Either close your eyes gently or softly gaze in front of you. You are not focusing on anything in particular, and in fact, focusing on something will be counter-productive.
  4. Take a full, comfortable breath in and let it out. Gently become aware of the sensations that you experience as you breathe in and out. As the out breath comes to an end, silently count “one” in your mind.
  5. Repeat step 4 until you reach ten, then start overt. If you discover that you have lost count, or your mind has wandered, or you have counted past ten, gently bring your attention back to your breath and start over at one.

Starting over at one is not a punishment. Rather, it is intended to refocus your attention on your breaths. It doesn’t actually matter if you ever get to ten. There have been times that I’ve been meditating and I never got past one.

Do not get down on yourself when you inevitably lose your focus because that’s how the mind works: Thoughts zoom by all the time. With practice, you will probably discover that your thoughts eventually slow down and allow you to get to ten over and over, through your entire meditation session.

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