“So…do I just close my eyes and think of nothing during meditation?”

That was exactly what I thought when I first started to learn meditation 3 years ago. I was looking for a way to overcome stress and being less reactive (impulsively) towards the things and incidents around myself.

As a start, I’ve tried many ‘conventional methods’ as marketed by media (eg. Listening to voice-guided meditation apps, using Delta soundwaves to help in concentrating). However, the outcome was on and off until I attended a 10-days meditation retreat organized by Vipassana Meditation. It is where I dedicated my time to learn and practice the simple and practical ways to meditate.

Fortunately, it works. The more I practice (even if it’s just for 10 minutes daily), the more mindful and focused my mind becomes. Even better, I started to experience better quality of sleep. In short, meditation transformed my life for the better.

No need for voice-guided apps. No need for Delta soundwaves. If there is any takeaway that I’ve gotten from the retreat, it is the fact that meditation is as simple as it is!

Here are 5 simple steps to kickstart your meditation practice, even with just 5 minutes daily:

(1) Sit Comfortably and Close Your Eyes

It is important to be seated in a position where you are comfortable before you meditate. That said, refrain from lying against something (eg. wall, pillow) to prevent you from dozing off.

Hence, maintain an upright sitting posture. It is totally fine to cross your legs against each other normally, instead of having one leg above another in the movies. Relax your shoulders and arms, and rest your hands on your thighs.

Then, close your eyes.

(2) Start With a Few Deep Breathes

Notice how the air flow in the area between your nostrils and upper lips. Doing so, it will help you to enter a mindful state faster and more effectively. This is especially useful for beginners and those who just have 5 minutes to meditate.

Moving on, continue with smaller breathes until you are breathing normally.

(3) Focus on Your Breathing

Focus your attention as you breathe in and out of your nostrils.

As you enter the meditative state of mind, you might start to feel the air that you inhale into your nostrils is cooler in relative to the air that you exhale.

(4) Let Your Thoughts Pass By

While meditating, it is extremely common to have thoughts lingering around your mind.

It’s fine, but learn not to attach to these thoughts. Instead, treat them like a passerby – let them come and go. Embrace all the emotions (happiness, excitement, anger, frustration), yet train yourself to let go of these thoughts.

At the same time, be mindful of your sitting posture as you might start to find yourself out of your upright posture.

(5) End with the Practice of Gratitude

Before this, how do you know if it is the time to end the meditation session?

Some would set an alarm for the duration of practice, but personally, whenever I started to feel impatience during a meditation session, I will hang on for a little more for the sense of impatience to pass-by before I proceed for Step 5 (a way for me to be mindful and be less reactive towards my emotions).

Finally, I would end my meditation session with a gratitude practice. This is where I would visualize the people around me to be healthy and happy, while internalizing that moment of gratitude.

And that’s it!

Meditation is really that simple, as it is a breathing exercise at its simplest form. Its simplicity is what makes it the simplest form of mindfulness practice that you can apply anytime during the day, regardless if you have just 5-minutes to spare during lunchtime or 30-minutes in the morning.

I’ve seen how meditation contributed to the recovery of cancer patients, and I’ve witnessed how this habit has made a lady at her 50s look just like in her early 40s.

For myself, this habit has transformed my life. Not only that it has helped me sleep better, it has also enabled me to be more mindful of my own emotions in times of stress and anxiety.

Hence, I strongly recommend you to at least commit to try meditation daily for at least a month, preferably in the morning and before you sleep. Trust me, you will notice the difference!

About Vipassana Meditation:

I’ve been a meditation practitioner for 3 years, and this habit has transformed my life significantly better in many ways. All of these would have not been possible without the amazing 10-days meditation course organized by Vipassana Meditation, one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation (and simplest to learn, in my opinion).

Vipassana Meditation has a history of more than 2500 years, and have been taught to people of all ages, races and religions in the world. The best thing? This 10-days course is totally free of charge! My experience with their 10-days course in Kuantan (they have centers at Kulim and Johor as well) was amazing, with students having a personal accommodation with washroom and decent vegetarian meals daily.

For those who are really keen to learn and experience meditation, I highly recommend Vipassana Meditation to you. Check out their course schedule here.

Do you have any questions or personal experience on meditation or other mindfulness practices? Do share with me at the contact box below or leave a comment at the very end of this article! I cannot wait to hear from you!

p.s. Aside from meditation, check out how you can transform your last few months of 2018 here!