How to begin zen meditation

How to begin zen meditation

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How to begin zen meditation

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Zen meditation is a form of Chinese relaxing technique. For sure, Zen frees the mind from the slavery of words and the constriction of logic. In its essence, it has a lot of benefits including improved focus, better memory, restored energy and improved creativity. To begin Zen meditation, find a comfortable place and try short sessions as you focus on your breathing. Below, we have provided in-depth information on how you can begin Zen meditation.

Create a Relaxing Sitting Space

First, look for space where you can meditate peacefully. Indeed, it is important to find a quiet and relaxing space in your home. Afterward, you can add candles, seashells, unique rocks, or objects that you find soothing into your meditation space.

Get Into a Stable Position

How to begin zen meditation

The sitting position greatly affects how you meditate; stay comfortable and keep your back straight. Additionally, you can cross your legs or use pillows to prop up your back to enhance comfort when you meditate.

Position Your Head in a Comfortable Style

Head positioning is important for Zen meditation as it ensures that no part of your body is strained. To have a nice head pose just hold your head in a position that feels natural and does not cause strain in your neck. Moreover, your spine must align with your neck. As such, move your neck so that a continuous imaginary line runs from your spine to your neck.

Relax Your Jaw and Facial Muscles

For sure, releasing any tensions ensures that you have a good Zen meditation moment. For instance, you should relax the jaws and the facial muscles to release tension before you commencing the practice.

Breathe Through Your Nose

It is crucial to breathing through your nose in a Zen meditation moment. Besides, nasal breaths generate a cooling and warming sensation as you breathe in and out respectively. Indeed, this tactic makes it easy to follow the rhythm of your breathing while meditating.

Focus on the Breathe

How to begin zen meditation

Furthermore, slow down and pay attention to your breath. If you focus on your breathing, you trigger neural networks tied to emotion, attention, and body awareness that are beyond the brain stem. Therefore, by tapping into these networks, we gain access to a powerful tool for regulating our responses to stimuli.

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Decide What to Do with Your Eyes

How to begin zen meditation

You can open your eyes or close them during a Zen meditation. It is all a matter of what suits you as an individual.

Reflect When Your Mind Wanders

It is normal for the mind to wander once you begin Zen meditation. However, when you find your mind wandering, gently redirect your thinking into your breathing.

Start with Three Minutes of Meditation

As a beginner of Zen meditation, it is advisable to start with three minutes and when you feel comfortable you can advance to 10 minutes or even more.

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I want to meditate again, so I wrote a simple guide for myself and others.

How to begin zen meditation

Sep 7, 2020 · 5 min read

Meditation is like exercise. We know that it’s good for us. We know it has clear and proven benefits. And we know that it’s something that we can (and should) make time for. So why don’t we actually do it then?

There are many excuses, but I’ve found it’s never too late to pick up the habit again. I haven’t been meditating as much as I planned for this quarantine. Given how close I’ve come to losing my mind, I figured it would be another great time to start the practice again.

About a y ear ago I was sitting in a countryside laundromat reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. As I listened to the swirl of the washing machines, I began to reflect on a section that I had just read.

“The true purpose of Zen is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes. Zen practice is to open up our small mind.”

I stopped reading and looked up from the book. I took in the scene before me. It was dark out and the fluorescent lights seemed brighter than usual. The scrapes of a walking frame could be heard as an elderly woman made her way across the aisle. I felt my clothing stick to my skin. I breathed. A calmness enveloped me. There were no thoughts running through my head. Unlike most times that I’ve spent in a laundromat, I wasn’t itching to get out of there. That feeling of contentedness with no particular source would revisit me throughout my reading of different books about Zen and during my practice.

Breaking into Zen meditation might seem intimidating at first. If you google Zen, you’ll probably come across stones balancing on top of one another, the enso circle, and people sitting cross-legged with magnificent backdrops. Since there is an extensive history associated with Zen, I won’t bother going into it here. If you are interested, I recommend picking up The Three Pillars of Zen .

The actual practice of Zen meditation or zazen is pretty simple. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Sitting in zazen

It can be helpful to have a meditation cushion, but it isn’t required. At the least, you’ll want something that can use to elevate your hips above the ground a bit. Zen meditation focuses on a couple of different seated positions.

The first and primary seated position is F ull Lotus. This position requires you to place each foot on the opposite thigh. I don’t recommend starting with this position since it requires you to have exceptional hip flexibility.

How to begin zen meditation

Half Lotus is a bit more approachable and only requires you to place one foot on top of the opposing thigh. Burmese is the recommend seating position for beginners. All you have to do is cross the legs and let both feet rest on the floor. Your knees should also drop at some point to touch the floor, but this can take some time to get used to. I recommend placing a pillow beneath your knees if they do not touch the ground.

You can also choose to sit on a stool, on a chair, or in the seiza position. You should choose whatever position is the most comfortable for you. The purpose of these different seating styles is to give you as much stability as possible. Here is a guide with more in-depth information on each seating position. Since Zen monks usually sit in zazen for extended periods of time, they tend to opt for the full lotus position since it is the most stable.

Adjusting your body during zazen

Once you’ve found a comfortable position, you’re ready to start meditating. Try your best to keep your spine straight. This should allow you to breathe easily during your session. After that, you’ll want to use your dominant hand to cradle the opposite hand. Try to keep it in the shape of an oval and rest your hands just below your navel. This hand position is called the Cosmic Mudra.

How to begin zen meditation

Lower your gaze to a 45-degree angle. You should be looking down slightly, but make sure to not move your neck in the process. Your eyes should remain open and unfocused. You might run into some optical illusions once you start meditating for a few minutes, but you can just ignore these.

Breathing during zazen

The breath is the best place to start for meditation. You can count your inhalations and exhalations or whatever is preferable for you. The goal is to become aware of your breathing. If you have any thoughts, acknowledge them and let them pass away on their own.

Try to keep your breathing even. It should be natural. You’ll quickly notice that thoughts will spring up out of nowhere. This is normal. Focus on your breathing.

I recommend setting a timer for five minutes. The typical mediation times for monks ranges from 25 to 45 minutes. However, this isn’t a contest. You should sit for as long as you are comfortably able to.

Zazen is good for nothing

Zen meditation is a great tool to increase your awareness, focus, and appreciation of everyday life. It’s one of those things that you don’t notice how much it affects you in a positive way until you stop doing it.

Dogen, a famous Zen practitioner, stated that “Zazen is good for nothing”. Although this seems like a contradiction, it points to an important mindset to have when practicing zazen. You should go into it with little to no expectations.

When I have a meditation habit, I am calmer, more satisfied, and I feel like I have more energy for other things in my day. These epiphanies come and go. If I go into the practice with an expectation of coming out of the session in a calm or blissful state, these results always allude me. That’s why it is so important to just sit in zazen and focus on your breath.

Decades of scientific, medical and social research reveals that meditation has quantitative, qualitative benefits to anyone who takes up the practice – everything from lowering blood pressure, combating stress, overcoming insomnia, raising awareness, improving memory, cultivating happiness, reducing anxiety and increasing higher consciousness The message is consistently clear: if you want to feel great, then meditate. Here are seven ways to unleash your inner Zen and begin a meditation practice.

#1) Pick a place. Choose a conducive environment for meditation. That means a peaceful place where you won’t be easily disrupted by other people or loud, harsh sounds. Kathleen McDonald, author of How To Meditate, offers these additional insights: “Ideally, the place should be clean and quiet, where you won’t be disturbed. However, with discipline it is possible to meditate in a crowded, noisy environment; people in prison, for example, often cannot find a quiet place and still become successful meditators. Even if your surroundings are busy and noisy, make your meditation place as pleasing and comfortable as possible, so that you are happy to be there and can’t wait to return.”

#2) Select a time. Generally, establishing a successful meditation practice involves selecting a time and meditating at that same time frequently. Some people find that getting up a few minutes earlier to sit and meditate works well. Others like to meditate at the end of their day, shortly before going to bed. Still others find that a mid-day meditation break recharges them. Find a time that works best with your personality style. If you’re a night person, then likely an evening meditation time may be best for you versus trying to do it early in the morning. Or, if you’re a morning person, then meditate in the morning and avoid night meditation when you are tired and worn out. However, if your schedule is erratic, don’t let that stop you. Just commit to sit and then find times that work with your changing schedule.

#3) Prepare yourself. Meditation is greatly enhanced when two practical matters are dealt with. The first one is clothing. Wear clothes that are comfortable for sitting in meditation. Most find that exercise apparel is ideal. The second is how to sit during meditation. There are many options for sitting. You can sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. You can sit cross legged on a bed, sofa or on a cushion on the floor. If your body is tight and you wish to sit on the floor, you may find it best to have your back leaning against a wall. However you sit, your back should be straight and erect but not rigid. The hands should rest comfortably on your legs or in your lap. At first a meditation posture may feel awkward but as you practice, the posture will begin to feel comfortable and familiar to your body.

#4) Start with a small amount of time. Be reasonable and realistic with yourself when establishing how long you will meditate. Don’t set yourself up for frustration and failure by deciding initially to meditate daily for a lengthy period of time. Remember that your goal is to establish a long lasting practice so it is better to begin slowly and progress gradually. Stephen Bodian, a meditation teacher and author, recommends five minutes as a good start point: “If you’re a beginner, a few minutes can seem like an eternity, so start off slowly and increase the length of your sittings as your interest and enjoyment dictate. You may find that by the time you settle your body and start to focus on your breath, your time is up. If the session seems too short, you can always sit a little longer the next time. As your practice develops, you’ll find that even five minutes can be immeasurably refreshing.”

#5) Choose a meditation practice. While there are an abundance of meditation techniques starting with a traditional Zen breath focus is ideal and simple because your breath is always with you. Gently close your eyes or if you want to leave them open, do so while slightly gazing down toward the floor. Avoid looking around. Take a few deep inhales and exhales to relax. Begin your meditation by counting your breaths. As you gently inhale and exhale say “one” to yourself. As you gently inhale and exhale again, say “two” to yourself. Do this five times and then begin again with the number one. Repeat this pattern again and again until the time you’ve set up for meditation is over. As you continue practicing, you can experiment with other techniques focusing upon those which resonate with you.

#6) Remain focused in spite of distractions. As you sit, a variety of distractions will present themselves. For example, a foot may fall asleep, an itch may call out to you for relief, or you will feel some modest physical discomfort. As much as possible avoid responding to those distractions by moving and fidgeting. Adopt a hospitable attitude toward these irritations. In fact, the ideal is to focus on those annoyances as part of your meditation. In his book Meditation For Beginners, Jack Kornfield tells of an occasion when he was enjoying a deep meditation outside. All of a sudden, a fly landed on his face. “My first impulse was to brush the fly away because it tickled and was unpleasant, but then I thought, ‘Hey, I teach people to observe sensations like this, so I’ll just stay with it.” He sat up a little straighter and just allowed himself to feel the sensations repeating this mantra meditation to himself – “itching, itching, itching.” Then the fly moved to the edge of his nose causing Kornield to become very concerned that he “might accidentally inhale the fly or it might climb up inside my nose and get caught there. I began to feel my belly quiver and I watched the fear rise with these tiny footsteps on the edge of my nostril,” he recalls. The fly continued to wander all over his face for at least ten minutes “and what was interesting to me was that during those ten minutes I was not planning, I was not doing my taxes, there was nothing creative going on, and I was not worrying about anything else. By the end of ten minutes, I was more present and centered and concentrated than if I had gone to a monastery for a month.”

#7) Don’t worry about thoughts. Some meditators erroneously believe that the goal of meditation is to have a blank mind. Actually, the objective of meditation is not to have a blank mind but to reduce mindless mental chatter and slow down the onslaught random thoughts which bring confusion, anxiety, stress and mental overload. Meditation is about a focused mind, not a blank mind. As thoughts appear during your meditation, apply this advice from Dr. Lorin Roche, author of Meditation Made Easy: “When thoughts come, they come. Take a welcoming attitude, as if birds have just landed on your lawn. Let them peck around. When you become aware that you are thinking, then you have a choice: you can finish the thought or you can return to the breath or whatever your focus is. . .do not feel you were wrong to be thinking.”
Finally, keep yourself motivated by working with the wisdom of an old Chinese Zen master who reminded his students: Sun faced Buddha, Moon faced Buddha! By those words he meant that meditation should be done when happy or sad, energetic or tired, healthy or ill. Just meditate however you happen to be on any given day.

How to start meditating at home

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Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.

Megan Monahan is a certified meditation instructor and has studied under Dr. Deepak Chopra. She is also the author of the book, Don’t Hate, Meditate.

How to begin zen meditation

Thomas Schmidt/Getty Images

As contemporary life is more and more reliant on non-stop streams of information from our mobile devices, and constant stimulation becomes the norm, people crave a way to unplug and give their minds a rest. Meditation offers one way to do this. If you’ve been feeling like you’d like to try meditation but you’re not sure how ​then here’s one basic method to get you started.

What Is Meditation?

For our purposes, let’s define meditation as being attentive to the fluctuations of your mind. Most of the time, we completely identify with our own thoughts, meaning there is no separation between the thoughts and the thinker. Meditation begins to break down this relationship. There are many different schools of meditation, each with its own methodology. The technique of observing your breath described below is based on a Buddhist tradition.

1. Designate a Time

Many people like to meditate first thing in the morning, but if some other time of day is better for you, go with that. Just make sure you pick a time when you can consistently devote yourself to this practice. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. Ten or fifteen minutes is a good place to start. If you have a regular yoga routine at home, you can do your meditation at the end.

2. Create the Space

In addition to choosing a time, you also need to find a place for your practice. It doesn’t have to be big or have any kind of special decor, but it should be away from household distractions. A corner of your bedroom or living room is perfect. You’ll also need a timer that will sound at the end of your meditation session so that you’re not constantly checking the clock to see how much time is left. Silence your phone so that you’re not tempted to break off your meditation if it rings.

3. Warming Up

You may want to do a little warm-up yoga sequence before sitting, especially if you are going to meditate first thing in the morning. If you find you don’t need to warm up, that’s fine too.

4. How to Sit

If you can sit on the floor, have blankets or a cushion to sit on. Meditation cushions called zafus are nice, but definitely not necessary. Try a cross-legged position like sukasana. Most people can not sit for long periods in the lotus position and can even injure themselves trying, so avoid that for now. If cross-legged isn’t comfortable, try virasana with a block under your seat. It is often an easier position for your back. If you can’t sit on the floor, that’s fine too. Find a chair where you can sit up straight with both your feet resting flat on the floor.

5. Hand Positions

You may have seen pictures of people meditating with their hands in various positions called mudras. You can try any position you have seen, but you can also just place your hands in your lap. Another option is to place the hands on your knees with the palms up or down. Find a position that is comfortable for you.

6. What to Do

Assume your seat and close your eyes. Begin to observe your breath without changing it. There is a tendency to want to deepen your breathing as soon as you notice it. Resist this urge. Focus all your attention on your inhales and exhales, maybe zeroing in on the sensation of air moving in and out of your nostrils. You can count the breaths if that helps you stay focused on them. When your thoughts intrude, try picturing them floating away before returning your attention to your breathing.

When your mind starts to wander, as it inevitably will, notice your thoughts and then release them.

7. How Long

When you first start, set your timer for five minutes. If it’s hard for you to stay attentive to the breath for that length of time, work on that before increasing the duration. When you are ready, begin to add one minute to your sitting time. Slowly work up to ten and then twenty minutes.

8. How to Finish

When your timer sounds, open your eyes. Take just a few moments to notice how you feel after your practice. If you are stiff after sitting, slowly move to your hands and knees. A little stretch (a downward-facing dog, for instance) can help you loosen up.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be taking over the Lifehacker Fitness Challenge by developing a healthy meditation routine for mental and physical wellness. The idea of meditation is actually quite stressful for me, so attempting to clear my mind (which is continually racing) has always been anxiety-inducing. I’ve actually never been great at managing stress—even while traveling, I tend to give myself a packed itinerary of forced relaxation, defeating the purpose.

But when I repeatedly heard that consistent meditation has its benefits, ranging from better productivity to reducing anxiety and improving physical health, I decided to face my stress head-on by challenging myself to try it for 30 days.

Starting slow reduced my initial anxiety

There’s Zen, Mantra, self-guided meditation, and more, but finding a new routine has never been an issue for me; staying consistent and working through obstacles is. To combat my bad habits, I decided to use guided meditation as my jumping-off point. I downloaded Headspace , which came recommended by friends and currently has a miniseries on Netflix, and bought a monthly membership for $12.99 a month after a seven-day free trial.

I wanted to begin slowly with only three minutes before starting my workday. I chose the beginners track and used noise-canceling headphones to avoid interruptions, and would sit in my IKEA Poang chair as I set up the app on my phone. Headspace has a wonderful feature that allows you to choose a mediation guide, and I chose the woman named Dora who was a featured teacher on the beginner’s track.

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The first seven days

After seven days of meditation, I found myself looking forward to my three minutes of guided stillness. I pushed myself into a habitual routine: wake up, check-in at work, make my bed, and then sit and meditate in my comfy corner. I didn’t allow myself to start the day without the three minutes to myself and listening intently to Dora.

To get started, she instructs you to sit upright with your feet flat on the floor and begin breathing, keeping a soft gaze, and on the third breath, you close your eyes. A friend of mine is engaged in decolonizing spiritual work and always encourages me to position my self in a form ready to receive—meaning open palms and an open chest, so I included that in my daily routine as well.

Each session of Headspace’s beginner course uses a different metaphor to get you acquainted with the root of meditation. Sometimes inner thoughts are referenced as traffic going by; other times, clouds or a rushing river. After one week, I didn’t feel 100% calm and collected, but I learned how to begin my process, and the idea of meditation was no longer stress-inducing. I found it to be a productive way to begin my day and manage my racing mind.

The next week in my journey, I plan to increase my meditation time to five minutes, change the time of day, and see if a midday meditation feels any different. I hope to strengthen my meditation practice over the month, hopefully reaching 10 or even 15 minutes a day. And who knows, maybe I’ll eventually integrate meditation into my daily life for good.

Aisha is a writer who’s passionate about comedy, nerdom, and giving reliable advice. She loves to produce and act, creating web series #HashtagTheShow and podcast 2Nerds and an Actor.

How to begin zen meditationZazen, or seated meditation, is the central practice in Zen.

  • Read these zazen instructions and try it on your own
  • Come to one of our weekly meetings; arrive 30 minutes early for a brief introduction to zazen

Starting a meditation practice is like starting any new, healthy habit: it can take some effort and patience. Participating in a workshop or group session can reinforce and support your effort. The most important thing to remember is that the very effort to put everything down and just be is transformative, so don’t be judgmental of your zazen. You are trying to be present with what is – and sometimes that it means being present with a busy mind, drowsiness, boredom or feeling strong emotions. Meditation isn’t always calm, peaceful and pleasant! (Although it certainly can be.)

When trying to establish a home sitting practice, regularity and actually doing it is more important than session length. Better to sit for 5 or 10 minutes than keep postponing zazen because you don’t feel like you have 30 minutes to spare! Try to sit just a little bit every day. You don’t even have to set up a formal meditation spot – just sit in a chair. Sitting for 20-30 minutes a day, once you have the habit established, can make a big difference in your life.

How to begin zen meditationIf you benefit from social support, consider getting the Insight Timer app for your smartphone or tablet. You can use it to time your meditation, and also create a profile on Insight Connect. Insight Connect allows you to see when other people are meditating with the app – people from all over the world, and there’s usual 100+ people meditating at any one time. You can also become friends with other people on Insight Connect (including other Bright Way Zen members, we have a group) so you can see when and how long your friends have meditated. This simple app has helped many Bright Way Zen members make daily meditation a habit!

Meditation for Beginners

Meditation for Beginners

Post written by Leo Babauta.

If you haven’t done much meditating, it might seem like a bit of a grey area to you — something you want to do but don’t know much about.

Is it difficult to do? How do you control your mind? (spoiler: you don’t) Does it take a lot of discipline? Do I need to do it with a class? Where and how do I do it? Why should I do it? Will it take hours? Is it for people who are into Eastern spirituality?

Let’s take a look at what meditation is, why it’s a good thing (whether you’re spiritual or not), how to get started, and other beginner questions.

The goal of this article isn’t to tell you everything possible about meditation, or to give you an authoritative definition of meditation and how it’s done … it’s simply to answer beginner questions and help you get started.

What and Why

What is meditation? That’s actually a very complicated question, as the word could have lots of different meanings and it’s practiced in many different ways. We’ll keep it simple, and pick one definition and type of practice (with the understanding that there are lots of other good answers): it’s practicing mindfulness.

Meditation as we’ll practice here at Zen Habits is sitting meditation — though you can easily practice it while walking or doing the dishes or taking a shower, I find it best to start with simply sitting. That eliminates a lot of complicated distractions, so you can start as simply as possible. Once you get good at sitting meditation, you should expand it to other things like walking and running and doing everyday activities.

When we do sitting meditation, the form doesn’t matter very much. That’s not true of certain types of meditation, like Zen meditation, but we’re simplifying and trying to get to the essential practice. So we sit, and we practice mindfulness. That can take different forms: we can focus on our breathing, as it goes in or our (the most common form we’ll practice). We might think of a motto to say (in our minds) as we breathe, such as Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Breathing in, I relax my body … breathing out, I smile.” But in the end, we’re practicing mindfulness.

Why practice mindfulness through meditation? Actually, there are lots of great reasons. Here are a few (read about research on meditation for more):

  • It relieves stress and helps you to relax.
  • When you practice mindfulness, you can carry it out to everyday life.
  • Mindfulness helps you to savor life, change habits, live simply and slowly, be present in everything you do.
  • Meditation has been shown to have mental benefits, such as improved focus, happiness, memory, self-control, academic performance and more.
  • Some research on meditation has indicated that it may have other health benefits, including improved metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and more.

Those are just the highlights. Actually, some of the best benefits of meditation are hard to define — you begin to understand yourself better, for example, and form a self-awareness level you’ve never had before.

Most simply, sitting for just a few minutes of meditation is an oasis of calm and relaxation that we rarely find in our lives these days. And that, in itself, is enough.

How to Meditate

As I said above, there are lots and lots of ways to meditate. We’re not going to learn even a fraction of them. We’re going to learn a simplified method, designed to be easiest for beginners. You can practice another method if that’s better for you, but here’s what I recommend:

1. Find a quiet spot. Sometimes early morning is best, before others in your house might be awake and making lots of noise. Others might find a spot in a park or on the beach or some other soothing setting. It really doesn’t matter where — as long as you can sit without being bothered for a few minutes.

2. Sit comfortably. Don’t fuss too much about how you sit, what you wear, what you sit on, etc. I personally like to sit on a pillow on the floor, with my back leaning against a wall, because I’m very inflexible. Others who can sit cross-legged comfortably might do that instead. Still others can sit on a chair or couch if sitting on the floor is uncomfortable. Zen practitioners often use a zafu, a round cushion filled with kapok or buckwheat. Don’t go out and buy one if you don’t already have one. Any cushion or pillow will do, and some people can sit on a bare floor comfortably.

3. Start with just a few minutes. This is really important. Most people will think they can meditate for 15-30 minutes, and they can. But this is not a test of how strong you are at staying in meditation — we are trying to form a longer-lasting habit. And to do that, we want to start with just a few minutes. Even 3-4 minutes is perfect. You’ll find it much easier to start this way, and forming a habit with a small start like this is a method much more likely to succeed. You can expand to 7-10 minutes if you can do it for 7 straight days, then 15 minutes if you can do it for 14 straight days, then 20-25 minutes if you can stick to it for 21 straight days, and 30 if you can do a full month.

4. Focus on your breath. As you breathe in, follow your breath in through your nostrils, then into your throat, then into your lungs and belly. Sit straight, keep your eyes open but looking at the ground and with a soft focus. If you want to close your eyes, that’s fine. As you breathe out, follow your breath out back into the world. If it helps, count … one breath in, two breath out, three breath in, four breath out … when you get to 10, start over. If you lose track, start over. If you find your mind wandering (and you will), just pay attention to your mind wandering, then bring it gently back to your breath. Repeat this process for the few minutes you meditate. You won’t be very good at it at first, most likely, but you’ll get better with practice.

And that’s it. It’s a very simple practice, and in this mini-course we’re going to focus more on forming the habit of meditation than on getting it perfect or learning any particular kind of meditation.

“How long should I meditate for?” is one of the questions we get asked the most.

Let’s start off by saying this: There technically is no right or wrong way to meditate. When people say they “can’t” meditate, what that usually means they just aren’t comfortable when meditating. Or, they don’t know how long to meditate for. There are also misconceptions that you have to silence your mind completely to meditate, or that you have to meditate for long periods of time. As you may have realized, you can’t silence your mind. This isn’t the purpose of meditating. Rather, you should observe your mind and your thoughts.В

Meditation doesn’t require you to sit cross-legged and chant “Om.” You can do it in your office chair or in your car as you wait for your kids at school. You can meditate anywhere you’d like. As for how long to meditate, our rule of thumb is ideally to meditate 15 minutes a day twice a day. However, you can certainly start off smaller than this and work your way up. Plus, even just a few minutes of meditation is better than no meditation at all.

One way you can practice meditation is by using a guided meditation script. This can help you stay on track as you meditate. Next time you find yourself wondering “How long should I meditate for?” just aim for a 15-minute session and follow one of these 5 easy guided meditation scripts so that you can find your zen.

Guided Meditation Script for Anxiety

Begin in a comfortable seated position. Feel rooted, safe, and comfortable through your seat. This guided meditation script will help you feel less anxious. Once you’re settled, close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Inhale for a count of four, and exhale for a count of four. Try to keep your breathing at this slow pace. As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in calmness, peace, and strength. As you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out all of your anxiety, stress, and worry. There is nothing for you to worry about right now in this present moment. All there is to do in this moment is breathe. Feel your anxiety slip away with each exhale. If your mind drifts to feelings of worry, be mindful. Notice it, without judgment, and then bring your attention back to the breath. You are strong and can handle anything life throws at you. Notice how calm you feel as you sit and breathe. Open your eyes, and take this feeling of relaxation with you.

Guided Meditation Script for Sleep

Begin in a comfortable seated or lying down position. Make sure you are comfortable. This guided meditation script will help you prepare for sleep. Close your eyes. Notice how good it feels to close your heavy eyelids after a long day. When you are settled, start to take deep breaths in through your nose for a count of four, and out through your mouth for a count of four. With every inhale and exhale, you are getting closer and closer to sleep. With every breath, the stress of your day can melt away, and your body is slowing down and getting ready for bed. All you need to think about is this current moment. If your mind drifts to thinking about today’s events or tomorrow’s to-do list, notice that, but do not judge it. Gently bring yourself back to your breath. Every breath brings you closer to the sweet relaxation of sleep. When you’ve finished with this meditation, you will be able to peacefully drift to bed.

Guided Meditation Script for Confidence

Begin in a comfortable seated position. Sit tall, imagining a string pulling you up and keeping your head high. This guided meditation script will help you feel more confident. Close your eyes, and start to breathe. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. In for the count of four, and out for the count of four. With each inhale, imagine that you are breathing in confidence and power. With each exhale, imagine you are expelling all of your self-doubt. Say to yourself either out loud or in your head, “I am confident. I am sure of myself and my abilities.” Notice how nice it feels to take this time to work on yourself. Notice how you can feel more confident just by sitting up tall with your head high and saying these confidence affirmations to yourself. Keep breathing. If your mind starts to wander and you start to feel self-doubt creeping in, notice this, observe it, and do not judge it. Then, bring your attention back to your breath. Confidence is within you. Confidence is in reach. Open your eyes and take this feeling of confidence with you.

Guided Meditation Script for Gratitude

Begin in a comfortable seated position. Feel grounded through your seat, and when you’re settled, close your eyes. This guided meditation script will help you feel more gratitude. Start to pay attention to your breath by taking mindful breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe in for the count of four and out for the count of four. Start to think about how lucky you are. What are you grateful for? Take a moment to name at least three things you are grateful for. As you inhale, send extra gratitude to these things. If your mind starts to wander to other things, simply be an observer of your thoughts and do not judge them. Then, bring attention back to your breath and the things you’re grateful for. Keep breathing. All you need to do right now is breathe and drench yourself in gratitude. Notice how practicing mindfulness and gratitude can help you feel happier. Open your eyes and take this amazing feeling of gratitude with you throughout your day.В

Guided Meditation Script for Success

Begin in a comfortable seated position. Close your eyes and start to mindfully pay attention to your breathing. This guided meditation script will help you achieve success and believe in yourself.В Breathe in through your nose for the count of four, and out for the count of four. Keep breathing, feeling yourself get more and more relaxed with every breath you take. As you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in success, confidence, and power. As you exhale, imagine that you are ridding yourself of all self-doubt and any roadblocks in the way of your progress. Think about an area of your life or a particular instance that you are looking to find success in. Visualize yourself experiencing this success. Where will you be? Who will you be with? What will it feel like? Visualize all of these details as you continue to breathe. If your mind wanders somewhere else, observe the thoughts, and bring your attention back to your breath and your visualization. Inhale confidence, exhale self-doubt. Open your eyes and take this feeling of confidence and success with you as you work to achieve your goals.

Remember, there is no wrong way to meditate. Don’t judge your meditation practice. Instead of wondering “How long should I meditate for?”, instead let it be what it needs to be, and remind yourself that there’s no wrong way to do it. With practice, you will feel more and more comfortable with meditation, and you will be able to meditate for a longer period of time and be able to feel more clear-headed as you meditate. Using a guided meditation script like one of these can help get you started on the right track. And if you’re wondering how long to meditate for on a certain day, just remember, any small bit of meditation is better than none at all.

Our app can help you learn how long you should meditate for and cultivate a daily meditation practice. Practice these guided meditation scripts every day and you’ll be feeling like a pro in no time.