Welcome to this meditation on healing. Whether you’re brand new to meditation or you’ve meditated many times, you’re in the right place. This has something for everyone.
Take a moment to get comfortable. You can do this lying down on the sofa, sitting up on a cushion, or going for a walk outside, whatever feels right to you. So I will give you a moment to get comfortable.
My name is Dave. I will be your guide. I like to think I’m a normal dude. I live in New York City with my wife and eight-month-old baby. And I’ve been in the world of yoga and meditation for 20 years as a teacher and author. And I’ve found that meditation is an absolute game changer. There is so much scientific research on the impact meditation has on your brain.
Here are a few examples. Number one, meditation activates the brain region associated with more adaptive responses to stressful or negative situations. So meditation helps you deal with stress better. Number two, meditation decreases emotional reactivity, helping people to disengage from emotionally upsetting pictures and better focus on cognitive tasks. So meditation helps you better deal with life in the heat of the moment. And number three, meditation may rival antidepressants in easing the symptoms of depression. So there’s a lot of good in learning how to meditate.
Take a moment to get even more comfortable. Take a few really deep breaths as you settle in and relax deeply.
Here’s the way I like to explain meditation. The average human being loses their attention six to eight times per minute. That’s six to eight times per minute. So right now, our attention is not really in our control. We pay attention to whatever comes up– a text message, an email, a worry, an advertisement, a phone call. And all that bouncing around makes us nervous, worried, anxious.
If I had a sum up meditation’s power in one sentence– it gives you more control over where you put your attention. Now, that does not make you magically immune to the difficulties of life. But meditation does enable you to pay more attention to the things which help you heal. For instance, when healing from challenges and traumatic experiences in your life, it can be really hard to tune out the noise of those memories. Meditation can help you acknowledge those memories, while intentionally refocusing on the positive things in your life.
All said, controlling your attention takes practice. It’s about building fitness in your brain, much like working out gives you fitness of your body. So let’s do that. Let’s build some fitness in the brain. Let’s gain control of your attention. Let’s meditate.
It may help to close your eyes. And take a moment to put your attention on your body. Feel where your body makes contact with the chair or the sofa or the ground.
Feel your feet. Just let your feet relax. Feel your legs. Allow your legs to sink into the chair or the sofa or the ground.
Moving your attention up into your chest, your shoulders, which are nice and relaxed. And feel your arms getting heavy as you totally let go. Your hands are at ease. Even your fingers are relaxed. Just noticing a general awareness of your body.
Taking a few deep breaths, inhaling deeply. Exhaling, letting it all go. And again, inhaling deeply. And exhale. Let it go.
And as we are doing this, if your attention wanders, that’s totally normal. Just bring it back to the moment with a deep breath.
Over a 24-hour period, you take approximately 20,000 breaths. And many days go by where we don’t pay attention to the sound of a single breath. There’s nothing more soothing to a stressed mind than the sound of the breath.
I once saw Dr. Andrew Weil give a talk. Andrew Weil is the head of the University of Arizona School of Integrative Medicine. And Dr. Weil said the very best health tip he can give is to take 10 deep breaths when you wake up in the morning and 10 deep breaths before you go to sleep at night.
So let’s play a little game while you’re breathing. Take 10 deep breaths. And keep your attention focused on your breath. If your mind wanders, start over on breath number one. See if you can make it to 10, keeping your attention on your breath.
So I will leave you for a few minutes to play that game. And in a few minutes, I’ll be back. Remember, take 10 deep breaths. If your mind wanders, start over at breath number one.
Coming back to the moment. How was that for you? Was it easy? Was it difficult? If your mind was bouncing around a lot, it’s totally normal. With practice, your mind will get stronger, just as your body gets stronger with a commitment to working out.
So putting your attention back on the connection of your body to the sofa or the chair or the ground. You may notice how feeling the physical sensations in your body, the simple stuff, helps you regain control of your attention.
If your eyes are closed, you can open them. Today’s take-away, breathe in the morning, during a stressful moment at work, before you go to sleep. Breathe, bring it back to basics– breath, the sensations in your body, simplicity soothes the mind.
See if you can be aware as you move slowly from the sofa, ground, or the chair back into the rhythm of your day. Take it one movement at a time, one breath at a time, one step at a time.
You can revisit this meditation any time you’d like. I recommend meditating first thing when you wake up in the morning before you dive into emails and the chaos of the day. Just push play on this meditation. Give yourself a chance to start the day in a peaceful way.
I will leave you with a quote by philosopher, Amit Ray, who said, “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” I’ll see you soon. Peace.