On a Buddhist meditation retreat, through MCU Buddhist University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2006

On a Buddhist meditation retreat, through MCU Buddhist University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2006

A simple daily meditation practice can create change in your life.  The benefits to yourself, to those around you, and to the world should not be underestimated.

A regular practice can enhance creativity, decrease stress, reduce anxiety, decrease blood pressure, induce calmness and self-acceptance, provide clarity.  Is there anything in this list you’re wanting to avoid?

Meditation research is a complex and complicated area of study.  However, what seems most apparent is that your results come from a regular practice.  So, find a quiet few moments in your daily schedule and give it a fair go.

Sit comfortably on a chair or cushion.  Strong, balanced, relaxed posture is important.  You can use support, at least in the beginning, like a wall behind your back, extra cushions supporting your knees.  You can even shift your position during practice to relieve any discomfort you might be experiencing in your novice phase.

Lying down is an option.  If you are having difficulty in a seated position, try lying on the floor with your lower legs resting on a chair seat.  Try not to nod off.

Use a timer if you like.  Make it digital, so it does not provide a distracting noise.  Start with a 5 minute practice and slowly, over weeks, increase the time spent in a meditative state.  Find a time frame which suits you and your lifestyle.

Breathe through your nose.  Lengthen your inhalation and deepen your exhalation in preparation for the meditation.  You can close your eyes or have them cast down 3 or 4 feet in front of you, allow your mouth to be open slightly and softly.

When your thoughts wander, as they repeatedly will, be kind to yourself.  Lovingly bring your attention back to your breath.  Do this as many times as needed.  The idea is to be inwardly focused but aware, accepting of yourself and uncritical of your meditative process.

My favourite time to practice is first thing in the morning.  I generally can find an easy 20 to 30 minutes at that time.  My dentist may or may not like to here that there is a synchronicity between my meditation practice and my flossing — when one is regular so is the other.  I am unsure of why this is.  Dental plaque and mental plaque leave my being; my brain smile becomes as bright and healthy as that on my face.

Meditate on that. Just be.