There are so many schools of thought teaching different meditation techniques.

And then, there are all the myths around how you should sit, how long you should sit for, and how still your mind should be.

I know so many folks who’d like to meditate, but—for various reasons—can’t seem to get started.

Getting bogged down in the details can prevent us from ever getting off the starting block. So, let’s keep it simple.

Start wherever you are right now, with whatever time you can give right now. Start with your breath.

I’ll guide you through a simple starting practice—a practice that can even be your forever practice, if you wish.

But, let’s not worry about that for now.

Let’s just focus on the next 5, 10, 20 minutes—whatever suits you in this very moment.

Begin by sitting in an upright position, your back straight, your shoulders down, and your feet planted firmly on the floor.

Lower or close your eyes to eliminate visual distractions.

Now, place your attention on your breath.

Observe its flow without changing its rhythm.

Notice that you’re breathing in.

Notice that you’re breathing out.

(To help keep your attention on your breath, you could silently comment: “I am breathing in. I am breathing out.” Another option is to use this silent Sanskrit mantra: “So” on the inhalation, “Hum” on the exhalation.)

Each time you notice that your mind has wandered off, simply bring it back—without scolding yourself—to your breath.

Your mind will wander repeatedly—that’s okay. The practice is noticing that and returning your attention to the present moment, via your breath.

When the time you’ve allocated is up:

Release the mantra, if you were using it.

Allow your attention to focus on sounds in the room and beyond.

Bring your attention back to your body, and notice any sensations. Notice how different parts of your body connect with the chair and how your feet connect with the floor.

Slowly blink your eyes open, and gently move back into your daily activities.

As you become more experienced, you may wish to experiment with different techniques and meditations for different purposes. You may wish to meditate with eyes open or practice moving meditations.

For now though, continue to keep it simple. Simple is effective. Simple is do-able.

The real key to success with meditation is not so much which technique we use—it’s regular practice that really matters. Start where you are, and keep it simple until it is habitual.

First published on elephantjournal.com
Image: Deniz Altindas/Unsplash

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