Meditation is about calming the mind and letting go of any mind-chatter. I find it tricky to quieten my mind at the best of times and these are not the best of times.
Luckily I came across some advice that helped. It said rather than “clearing the mind” of all thoughts try focusing on just one thing instead...
So here’s the approach I now use:
Super Easy Non-Meditation Meditation
- Sit in a quiet place, or somewhere you’ll be safe and undisturbed
- Rest your hands in your lap, or on the arms of your chair (if available, and comfortable to do so)
- Close your eyes
- Take a gentle, deep breath, in through your nose,
then expel the breath out equally gently through your mouth
- Repeat this ten times
So far so normal...hang on...
The trick is in the counting:
As you take your first breath, silently count “one” and very gently press a finger. Imagine you are playing an invisible piano. Only the smallest of movement is needed. On the next breath press the next finger, count 'two', and so on.
When you have worked through all your fingers you have completed a set and can start again.
Taking it to the next level...
If your monkey-mind finds this too easy, you can keep it fully occupied by counting the sets you have completed. That’s where your toes come in :)
For each completed set of counting with your hands, do the same “press” as you did with your fingers, but this time using your toes. So first set completed means you press a toe gently. Second set means you press the next toe gently and so on.
We've moved from a piano to a Wurlitzer :)
It’s more than enough to keep the “monkey-mind” occupied, but is sufficiently simple to not be overly distracting. Expect to start over again a few times. It can take practice. The good thing is it’s invisible, if you happen to be in company.
The only two essential things are the deep breath (sometimes called a ‘belly breath’) and simple counting. This makes it a totally portable experience.
You are using your body like an abacus. It doesn’t matter if you start with your thumb or little finger, left or right hand or which direction you count. Don’t want to use fingers and toes? No problem. Travel round your extremities in your mind. Tap your teeth with your tongue. Wiggle an eyebrow. Squeeze a muscle. Get creative.
I’ve found it works in noisy environments. Once you're used to it you can do it with your eyes open, yet still feel calm and centred very quickly.
If you do it lying down - expect to fall asleep pretty quickly. Don’t try this driving! Actually I should say I’m not medically or meditation-ally trained - if you do try this you are doing so at your own risk - but if you do risk it I’d love to know how you get on. Do you have any tips for reluctant meditators? What works for you?
Please let us know.