Mindfulness Meditation Instructions

Mindfulness meditation is an act of self kindness and compassion. It is a way of self care, self honouring, self acceptance and self appreciation.

It may appear as a breathing exercise but it is not. It is an exercise in attention in order to bring us into the present moment, using the breath and the body as the focus of attention.

Sit down in a relaxed comfortable position on a chair or on a floor cushion. Look around the room. Notice any sounds in your environment and just let everything be, just as it is.

With your eyes open or closed spend a few minutes feeling into your body to help you relax. Let your back be upright and relaxed. Relax the shoulders and neck and allow your face muscles to relax. Relax the torso and let your belly hang. Allow the pelvic area to relax and allow your thighs and lower legs to relax.

Feel your feet on the floor, allowing the floor to fully support your feet. Feel your body on the chair and allow the chair to fully support your body. Then closing your eyes let your attention go into your body, feeling it from the inside.

Bring your attention to your breathing. Allow the body to breathe its own natural rhythm, feel your in-breath and feel your out-breath.

Feel the air going into your nose and into your body and feel the air moving out from your body through your nose.

Without needing to control it, receive and welcome your in-breath and let go as you breathe out. Let each breath be just as it appears to you. A breath may be short, shallow, long or deep.

Be receptive and attentive; just being present with breathing in and breathing out; just this body, just this breath.

Sooner or later (for most of us it is sooner) you will notice that your attention has been distracted by thinking or images or something else. This is fine and completely normal. As soon as you have noticed this, just bring your attention back to feeling your feet on the ground, your body on the chair, your in-breath and your out-breath.

There is nothing to do and nothing to accomplish; but just to be present with and attentive to breathing in and breathing out.

You may find that you are distracted a number of times. Again, this is normal. It does not matter how many times you are distracted, do not judge yourself or the thoughts. Do not fight with them. Just let them come and let them go, then return your attention to breathing in and breathing out. It only matters that when you have realised that you have been distracted, that you return your attention to you body and your breathing. This is the practice, coming back again and again to a simple attentiveness and receptivity to your breath and your body.

If you find that you are not distracted by thinking and also not paying attention to your breathing but your mind seems very quiet, just pay attention to the quietness, listen to it. You have entered a more peaceful place in yourself.

When you have finished your meditation, come out slowly, stay in touch with the felt sense of the body, and give thanks to yourself for taking this time for self-care.

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Some people can be quite surprised at the extent of the busyness of the mind and tension in the body they encounter. Be gentle with yourself about this. Now that you are aware of it, you can take steps to do something about it. Awareness brings choice.

If you are completely new to meditation, I suggest you just do this for 10 or 20 minutes at a time. Then when you are more practiced try 30 or 45 minutes.