How To Meditate In 4 Easy Steps
GUEST POST BY IAN GAWLER.
The process of learning to meditate can be summarised into four easy steps. Each one flows quite naturally into the next and together they combine to make up the technique called Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation (MBSM). Here are the four steps of MBSM:
Step 1: Preparation
In a conducive environment, take up a conducive posture, turn your mind inwardly and relax. Sitting with your back fairly upright in a chair or on the floor will work well.
Step 2: Relaxation
Use the simplest, most practical technique that helps you to relax your body. Allow your mind to go with it. Let go. Effortlessly.
The best starting point that will reliably teach you to relax at will is the Progressive Muscle Relaxation exercise. This involves contracting and relaxing the muscle groups from the feet, on up into the head, and focussing your attention on the feeling in your body as the muscles relax.
Step 3: Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a particular way of concentrating. We focus our attention on what is happening now, rather than reflecting on the past, or fantasising about the future. This leads to a calm and clear mind.
To begin, we can focus our attention mindfully on whatever sounds happen to be around us at the time. We just notice them, free of reaction, commentary or judgement. So there is no right or wrong, good or bad in this exercise – it is all about simply noticing the sounds, as they are, as they happen, moment by moment.
As an option, we could use the same mindfulness approach and choose to focus our attention on any bodily sensations, emotions or thoughts that come into our awareness.
Or you could use the more open mindfulness that leads into simple, undistracted awareness – simply notice with bare attention whatever comes to your awareness, whether it be sounds, sensations, emotions, thoughts or stillness; whatever happens, simply being aware, open, and present.
Step 4: Stillness
As you rest in this undistracted awareness you notice the movement – the activity or phenomena that occur within you and around you, and you notice the all-pervading background of stillness. Increasingly this deeper, more profound stillness becomes more familiar. You smile as you are warmed by the comfort and ease that flows with this knowing, this experience of the essence of meditation.
Putting MBSM even more simply:
Having prepared well, we relax.
Relaxing more deeply, we become more mindful.
As our mindfulness develops, the stillness naturally reveals itself.
We rest in open, undistracted awareness.
This is Mindfulness-Based Stillness Meditation.
It is as simple, and as difficult as that.
Based upon “Meditation – an In-depth Guide” By Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson. Ian has a series of CDs to support your meditation (see his website www.iangawler.com), as well as a downloadable meditation program, Mindbody Mastery, which has a support package designed to help you into the routine of regular meditation: www.mindbodymastery.net.
Author Bio: Dr Ian Gawler OAM BVSc MCounsHS
Ian Gawler is one of Australia’s most experienced and respected authorities on Mind-Body Medicine and meditation. A long-term cancer survivor, Ian began one of the world’s first lifestyle-based cancer support groups, founded the Gawler Foundation and expanded his work and writings into the fields of disease prevention, health and well-being. Ian has a weekly newsletter/blog www.gawlerblog.com and his latest meditation book is “Meditation – an In-depth Guide”. Ian lectures widely as well as working on innovative ways to help people using new technologies.
Positive affirmation for the day: I let go and surrender to the process of life.
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