If you’re like most people, you’ve probably tried meditation at one point in time and found it quite difficult.
We’ve all heard of the benefits of meditation, from decrease stressed, reduced anxiety and increased productivity.
But the truth is it takes time and dedication before these positive results are experienced. So, how do you develop a consistent meditation practice without getting discouraged?
Below I’ve gone over mindfulness expert Matt Valentine’s 5 easiest meditation techniques. I suggest you pick one and stick at it for a week or two and then decide which one is best for you.
1) Mindful Breathing
This is the most common meditation technique. Most Buddhist masters such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Buddha recommend beginning with this practice.
It’s simple, easy to learn and the breathe is a great point of focus.
How do you practice?
Simply focus on the sensations of your breathe. Whenever thoughts arise, accept that they are there and return your focus back to your breathe. It’s generally recommended to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
2) Mindful Walking
Mindful walking originated in Zen and is known as the practice of “kinhin”. It goes hand-in-hand with the practice of zazen (sitting meditation) where meditators usually do a session of kinhin following zazen.
How do you practice?
Walk calmly and focus on your body parts and body sensations as you’re walking. This is a great practice for people who are either always on the go and find it hard to do sitting meditation.
3) Meditation Body Scan
Buddha’s first “foundation of mindfulness ” refers to the specific practice of getting in touch with your body.
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A meditation body scan is the practice of scanning the entire body via the sensations you’re feeling at that given time.
While you scan your body, you can notice various sensations such as warmth, heaviness, pain, movement and moisture. It’s really a practice of being aware of what’s going in the body.
This is a great practice in general because most of us live out our lives without really coming in touch with our physical body in this way. This is also a great practice to do before bed as it can really increase the quality of your sleep.
4) Mindul Eating
This is involves slowly chewing and experiencing the food in front of you with all your being.
You can take in the flavors, textures and smells of the food. Feel how the body is entering the body. There’s a lot of sensory experience that goes on when you eat so it’s a great opportunity to be mindful.
5) Loving-Kindness Meditation
This is a practice that is traditionally called “Pali/Sanskrit” which has been passed down from Buddha over 2500 years ago.
It’s about opening up the heart and cultivating love and compassion for ourselves and others. Usually, you would sit calmly with your eyes closed and focus on the love within you and all your love for other beings.
It’s about opening up the heart. It may not seem like meditation in terms of calming the mind, but many great teachers such as the Dalai Lama recommend that cultivating loving-kindness is crucial to be truly at peace. It opens up the world and your connection with other living beings in a way few things can.
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Here's what you'll learn:
• How and why to be mindful: There are many simple exercises you can do to bring a mindful attitude to quotidian activities such as eating breakfast, walking the dog, or sitting on the floor to stretch.
• How to meditate: Many beginning meditators have a lot of questions: How should I sit? How long should I meditate? What if it feels awkward or uncomfortable or my foot falls asleep? Am I doing it wrong? In this book, you’ll find simple steps and explanations to answer these questions and demystify meditation. (And no, you’re not doing it wrong).
• How to approach relationships: This section offers tips for interacting with friends and enemies alike and walks you through a loving kindness meditation.
• How to minimize harm: There is a lot of suffering in the world; it’s best for everyone if we try not to add to it. Here you’ll read about the idea of ahimsa (non-harming) and how you might apply it to your actions.
• How to let things go: As Buddhism teaches, excessive attachment (whether we’re clinging to something or actively resisting it) all too often leads to suffering. Practitioners of mindfulness meditation find peace in letting go and accepting things as they are in the moment.
Check it out here.