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How to Meditate: Meditation 101 for Beginners

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Basic Guided Meditation

In this meditation, we'll practice a 15-minute sequence of breath awareness, open monitoring, and gratitude.

Welcome. I'm Cory Muscara, and this is a guided mindfulness meditation that follows the sequence I outline in my book, Stop Missing Your Life. The more you practice this meditation, the more you are training your mind for focus, reduce stress, inner peace and greater presence. So let's get started. Find a comfortable posture which could be sitting in a chair, cross-legged on the floor, lying down, or even standing.

If you're sitting, you want your spine to be upright, but not uptight. I like to think of it as a relaxed mountain-like posture.. And once you're settled, if it's comfortable to do so, you can close your eyes. If you prefer to keep them open, that's fine. Just let your gaze rest toward the floor.

We're going to use the first few moments of this to simply settle in. To help with that, we'll take a deep breath together. So breathing in through the nose. And slowly out through the mouth. Inviting your jaw to soften and relax.

The teeth don't need to be clenched. Inviting your shoulders to relax and be at ease. As well as your hands and your belly. All areas we tend to hold extra tension. Just see if you can give yourself the permission to be here.

So often were running from one thing to the next, crossing things off our to-do list, trying to get some place else or be some better version of ourselves. But right now, you've allocated this time for yourself. Because of that, there's no place else you need to be, nothing else you need to do, no problems you need to solve, and no better version of yourself you need to become. So see if you can settle in to that understanding. Just allowing yourself to be as you are right now, without needing to make the moment better or different.

And from this relaxed awareness, we're going to guide our attention to our breath. This will be the majority of our meditation practice. And we use the breath as a way to anchor our attention into the present moment. So that when the mind wanders, we can just come back to some stability point. In the same way that an anchor stabilizes a boat, even when the current and the waves try to pull it away.

If for any reason, focusing on the breath is uncomfortable or creates anxiety, you can take your hands, place them on your thighs and just move them up and down, feeling the tactile sensations of that movement. And you make that the anchor for your attention. For the purpose of this meditation, I'll assume we're focusing on the breath. And specifically, we're going to be feeling the rising and falling of the abdomen. And notice that the key word there is feeling.

We're not thinking about the breath. We're not imagining the breath. We're dropping into a felt sense of the body breathing. Sometimes this can be difficult at first. So if it's helpful, you can place one hand on your belly to feel that movement more vividly.

And just notice what it's like to feel your body breathing. You don't need to breathe long and deep or in a way that you think is appropriate for meditation. Just allow the breath to be at its natural rhythm. And all you're doing is bringing a gentle awareness to that experience as it's happening. Now you may notice, perhaps very quickly, that the mind likes to wander, to get caught up in the future, the past, ideas, judgements, fantasy regret.

So many different things they can go to. And our practice is very simply to notice when the attention has drifted away from the breath and then gently bring it back to the breath. This is the bicep curl for the mind. Wanders away. We bring it back.

Wanders away again, we bring it back, over and over and over again. To help keep a continuity of awareness, you can make mental labels of your experience. So when you're breathing in and the belly rises, you can label that in your head as rising. When you breathe out and the belly falls, you can label that as falling. So rising, falling.

And then when the mind creates a thought, you could just label that as thinking. And then come back to rising, falling. So it would sort of sound like rising, falling, rising thinking, thinking, rising, falling. So see if you can practice that. I'll give you some time in silence.

Checking where your attention is on this moment. Has it gone into autopilot, consumed in thoughts? And if so, just gently guiding it back to this moment, this breath. Feeling the simplicity of only needing to focus on one breath. You don't need to worry about the rest of the meditation, or getting anything right. Just be with this breath, rising, falling.

So now that we've attuned to and stabilized our attention a bit more in the present moment, we're going to expand our awareness and do what's called choiceless awareness meditation. Instead of just focusing on the breath, we're going to broaden our attention to include anything that arises within our awareness. This could be sensation in the body, emotions, sounds, thoughts, as well as the breath. You could think of this meditation as just simply being. See if you can be aware of what ever comes up.

And instead of it sweeping you away, you're practicing staying present to it as it passes by, coming and going. So now instead of just labeling, rising, falling and thinking you might label itch, sound, thinking frustration, boredom. Whatever experience you notice, just give it a little mental label until it transitions into another experience and then label that. It should sound like an ongoing stream of labeling random experiences. So I'll give you some time in silence to try that out.

Remember, we were just watching all of these experiences come up. We don't need to make sense of them, we don't need to try to usher them away, and we don't need to indulge in them. The idea is to simply stay present to the ongoing stream of experiences that we usually get sucked into and overwhelmed by. If you get confused on how to do this, just become aware of the confusion, even label it, confused. Nothing is excluded from your awareness and your experience.

I'll give you are a little bit more time in silence to practice. So before we close this meditation, we're going to take a few moments just to reflect on anything that we're grateful for, that you're grateful for. And this could be people in your life, material things you have, qualities about yourself, or simply the fact that you're breathing. Take some time to feel what it's like to incline your mind toward gratitude. I'll give you some silence to reflect.

In a moment I will ring a bell and this will indicate the meditation coming to a close. When you hear the sound, just bring your full awareness and attention to the sound until it dissolves into silence. You can slowly start to reorient yourself to the space around you. Maybe wiggling your fingers and toes, getting some movement in the body. And when you're ready, you can open your eyes.

So well done. You just completed 15 minutes of meditation. And as I mentioned in my book, if you did no other practice than this each day, it would go a very long way for you continuing to build the inner resources to navigate stress, develop focus, cultivate inner peace, and really bring a deep quality of presence into your life. So great job. Give yourself a little pat on the back and see if you can bring this quality of presence and mindfulness into your day.

As we all know, that's where it really counts. Great job and I'll talk to you soon. Until then, take care.

Meditation

4.4

Basic Guided Meditation

In this meditation, we'll practice a 15-minute sequence of breath awareness, open monitoring, and gratitude.

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Welcome. I'm Cory Muscara, and this is a guided mindfulness meditation that follows the sequence I outline in my book, Stop Missing Your Life. The more you practice this meditation, the more you are training your mind for focus, reduce stress, inner peace and greater presence. So let's get started. Find a comfortable posture which could be sitting in a chair, cross-legged on the floor, lying down, or even standing.

If you're sitting, you want your spine to be upright, but not uptight. I like to think of it as a relaxed mountain-like posture.. And once you're settled, if it's comfortable to do so, you can close your eyes. If you prefer to keep them open, that's fine. Just let your gaze rest toward the floor.

We're going to use the first few moments of this to simply settle in. To help with that, we'll take a deep breath together. So breathing in through the nose. And slowly out through the mouth. Inviting your jaw to soften and relax.

The teeth don't need to be clenched. Inviting your shoulders to relax and be at ease. As well as your hands and your belly. All areas we tend to hold extra tension. Just see if you can give yourself the permission to be here.

So often were running from one thing to the next, crossing things off our to-do list, trying to get some place else or be some better version of ourselves. But right now, you've allocated this time for yourself. Because of that, there's no place else you need to be, nothing else you need to do, no problems you need to solve, and no better version of yourself you need to become. So see if you can settle in to that understanding. Just allowing yourself to be as you are right now, without needing to make the moment better or different.

And from this relaxed awareness, we're going to guide our attention to our breath. This will be the majority of our meditation practice. And we use the breath as a way to anchor our attention into the present moment. So that when the mind wanders, we can just come back to some stability point. In the same way that an anchor stabilizes a boat, even when the current and the waves try to pull it away.

If for any reason, focusing on the breath is uncomfortable or creates anxiety, you can take your hands, place them on your thighs and just move them up and down, feeling the tactile sensations of that movement. And you make that the anchor for your attention. For the purpose of this meditation, I'll assume we're focusing on the breath. And specifically, we're going to be feeling the rising and falling of the abdomen. And notice that the key word there is feeling.

We're not thinking about the breath. We're not imagining the breath. We're dropping into a felt sense of the body breathing. Sometimes this can be difficult at first. So if it's helpful, you can place one hand on your belly to feel that movement more vividly.

And just notice what it's like to feel your body breathing. You don't need to breathe long and deep or in a way that you think is appropriate for meditation. Just allow the breath to be at its natural rhythm. And all you're doing is bringing a gentle awareness to that experience as it's happening. Now you may notice, perhaps very quickly, that the mind likes to wander, to get caught up in the future, the past, ideas, judgements, fantasy regret.

So many different things they can go to. And our practice is very simply to notice when the attention has drifted away from the breath and then gently bring it back to the breath. This is the bicep curl for the mind. Wanders away. We bring it back.

Wanders away again, we bring it back, over and over and over again. To help keep a continuity of awareness, you can make mental labels of your experience. So when you're breathing in and the belly rises, you can label that in your head as rising. When you breathe out and the belly falls, you can label that as falling. So rising, falling.

And then when the mind creates a thought, you could just label that as thinking. And then come back to rising, falling. So it would sort of sound like rising, falling, rising thinking, thinking, rising, falling. So see if you can practice that. I'll give you some time in silence.

Checking where your attention is on this moment. Has it gone into autopilot, consumed in thoughts? And if so, just gently guiding it back to this moment, this breath. Feeling the simplicity of only needing to focus on one breath. You don't need to worry about the rest of the meditation, or getting anything right. Just be with this breath, rising, falling.

So now that we've attuned to and stabilized our attention a bit more in the present moment, we're going to expand our awareness and do what's called choiceless awareness meditation. Instead of just focusing on the breath, we're going to broaden our attention to include anything that arises within our awareness. This could be sensation in the body, emotions, sounds, thoughts, as well as the breath. You could think of this meditation as just simply being. See if you can be aware of what ever comes up.

And instead of it sweeping you away, you're practicing staying present to it as it passes by, coming and going. So now instead of just labeling, rising, falling and thinking you might label itch, sound, thinking frustration, boredom. Whatever experience you notice, just give it a little mental label until it transitions into another experience and then label that. It should sound like an ongoing stream of labeling random experiences. So I'll give you some time in silence to try that out.

Remember, we were just watching all of these experiences come up. We don't need to make sense of them, we don't need to try to usher them away, and we don't need to indulge in them. The idea is to simply stay present to the ongoing stream of experiences that we usually get sucked into and overwhelmed by. If you get confused on how to do this, just become aware of the confusion, even label it, confused. Nothing is excluded from your awareness and your experience.

I'll give you are a little bit more time in silence to practice. So before we close this meditation, we're going to take a few moments just to reflect on anything that we're grateful for, that you're grateful for. And this could be people in your life, material things you have, qualities about yourself, or simply the fact that you're breathing. Take some time to feel what it's like to incline your mind toward gratitude. I'll give you some silence to reflect.

In a moment I will ring a bell and this will indicate the meditation coming to a close. When you hear the sound, just bring your full awareness and attention to the sound until it dissolves into silence. You can slowly start to reorient yourself to the space around you. Maybe wiggling your fingers and toes, getting some movement in the body. And when you're ready, you can open your eyes.

So well done. You just completed 15 minutes of meditation. And as I mentioned in my book, if you did no other practice than this each day, it would go a very long way for you continuing to build the inner resources to navigate stress, develop focus, cultivate inner peace, and really bring a deep quality of presence into your life. So great job. Give yourself a little pat on the back and see if you can bring this quality of presence and mindfulness into your day.

As we all know, that's where it really counts. Great job and I'll talk to you soon. Until then, take care.

Meditation

4.4

Duration

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