I'm presenting to you a very simple but effective way of meditation.
This one is part of the Mindful Tech Leadership - Fundamentals training, and will covered in part 3. Those of you who are ready and committed to upgrade and train their mind in a structured and systematic way over 3-4 months - please consider this training.
However, as many of you are asking about tips on how to meditate, I thought I share this effective and simple method here, so many can benefit from it right away.
The meditation method is not unique or novel. There is also no "magic." It is simply a structured summary based on my many years of meditation that I found quite effective and helpful. It can be learned easily, but the mastery of applying it daily and consistently will be your challenge.
Please also consider spreading the word of our Mindful Tech Leader community to your co-worker, business leaders, and friends, who could also benefit from it.
A brief Overview of Meditation Techniques
As a student of mindfulness over the years I experimented with many different types of meditation and meditation techniques.
On a high level you can distinguish between guided and unguided meditations.
In guided meditation, a teacher guides you through the basic steps of the practice, either in person or via a meditation app, video etc. Especially at the beginning guided meditations can be quite helpful to get started.
In unguided meditation, also called silent meditation, you meditate alone, without someone else explaining the process.
The method I'm teaching you is an unguided form of meditation.
In addition, meditation can also be categorized as calming or insight meditation.
The intention of a calming meditation typically is to cultivate a quieter, more peaceful state of mind, and possibly improved focus or concentration.
Insight meditation involves focusing on the breath and being aware of and noting all the physical and mental sensations that arise. In particular thoughts, ideas, and wisdom.
There is no "best" meditation. Simply one that works for you and is helpful for your current context and state of mind.
The method I'm teaching you is very flexible and can be used for calming, as well as for insight meditation.
For example, you can use the time to conduct the awareness fitness exercises, or simply chill and relax.
Here it is ...
Method: A simple formal Meditation
Find a quiet place for your meditation where you will not be disturbed.
Sit upright but relaxed in a chair or armchair. The spine straightened up. Lying down is also possible, but there is a risk of falling asleep.
Then close your eyes and focus on your breath.
As you inhale, become aware of what the (perhaps cool) air feels like when it enters your nose and touches its surface.
Then how the air goes into your body and fills the chest and stomach.
It does not matter whether you are observing the breath in the abdominal region or in the nasal region. Whatever feels better.
Also feel the outbreath as the air leaves your body.
Do a couple of breaths this way.
Set your intent:
Now set an intent for this meditation.
An intent can be anything that comes to mind at the present moment, for example to be grateful for your health, grateful for the present moment, or to improve your focus. Helping setting an intent for your meditation will make the experience more worthwhile, and also shifts your thinking towards this intent.
Then start and continue these steps:
While you are concentrating on your breath, sooner or later you will be distracted by an emerging thought.
The moment you realize that you have been distracted by a thought, you gently turn your attention back to your breath (or mantra). This can be a few seconds or may take some time before you realize you are daydreaming. That's fine. Just when you notice your mind got identified with a thought, gently turn your attention back to your breadth (or mantra).
Go back to Step 1 and repeat until the timer goes off (or you would like to stop).
Basically you continue to switch between these two alternating states. You focus on your breadth (or a "mantra", this is a simple word mostly with no meaning to occupy the mind, like "Om", or make up your own mantra), then you get distracted by an upcoming thought, and you bring your attention gently back to your breadth (or mantra).
The goal is not to get rid of thoughts or "quiet the mind", as you do not have control over your thoughts. The goal is to simply be aware & alert, and notice what happens.
Getting gently back to your object of focus is also called "recovery" (or "healing"). I'm describing this concept in more detail within my Mindful Tech Leader - Fundamentals training. It is a method that I refer to as "Conscious recovery."
Basically each "recovery" strengthens the muscle of mindfulness. So it helps if that happens often. So it doesn't matter if you do a recovery 5-10 times a minute. On the contrary: the training effect is greater.
At the beginning, set yourself a timer, for example for 3 minutes. You can then gradually increase the time.
When the times signals you the time is over, take a few extra breadths, and when you are ready, open your eyes.
Remember: There is no right or wrong here - You have done the exercise perfectly!
It is important to establish a regular formal meditation practice. Doing it once a week or a few times per week is good, but not as effective compared to a daily routine.
I recommend a minimum of 1-2 times a day, 3-5 minutes at the beginning.
Then increase to 15-20 minutes per meditation. If you can do for example one 20 minute meditation and stick to it, this has a positive and sustainable effect.
You should do this at least for a month so that you get into a routine.
This gradually has several positive effects to your overall wellbeing, and you will usually be very motivated to find the time for meditation.
An important milestone is when you start to enjoying this time with yourself, and don't see it as a necessary drudgery exercise.
You will feel energized afterwards.
We are counting the number of mindful minutes per day. For this you simply record (in a spreadsheet?) the number of minutes you spent in meditation. This shows your effort over time.
This is one of several helpful KPIs that we are tracking as part of the Mindful Tech Leadership - Fundamentals training.
Mindful minutes directly relate to your overall state of mind, as meditation or other time spent being mindful is considered a stress-free time, therefore helps you restore energy, improves cognitive function, and increases your overall health.
The more mindful minutes you can generate consistently per day the better!
I encourage you to share your mindful minutes per week with some friends or co-worker, who are also focusing on increasing their level of awareness. This can be quite motivating.