Meditation 101: Getting started
Meditation can be a scary thing for those new to the practice. When we consider a Buddhist approach to addiction recovery or mindfulness in general, we may think of monks in robes sitting for hours in complete silence. However, meditation is actually a practical and simple tool to be used in our spiritual lives. This five minute meditation technique is a great way to begin investigating an ancient practice. Try it out, and then leave your questions about meditation in addiction recovery at the end. We’ll do our best to respond to you personally and promptly
A sitting meditation is the most traditional form of meditation. Although it may be a bit intimidating, a sitting meditation is often very insightful and helps to clear the mind. You may set a timer for five minutes before starting, or just sit for as long as is comfortable!
To try this meditation, you may find a comfortable place to sit. It may be outside on the grass or sand, inside on your carpet, or anywhere else you would like. It is recommended that you keep your spine straight. One of my teachers tells me to keep my spine energized, but to relax my muscles. Finding a position we can stay in for five minutes without needing to budge, we allow our eyes to slowly close.
Allow your breath to flow naturally. When we focus on our breath, the object is not to control it; the object is to simply observe it. We may find the breath is especially noticeable in certain spots: the tip of the nose, the back of the throat, or in the rising and falling of our chest. Choosing whichever spot works well for you, concentrate on the sensation of the breath.
It is natural that thoughts and feelings will arise. Our natural tendency is for our minds to follow these thoughts and lose focus of our breath. As this happens, try to bring yourself back to your breath. You don’t need to investigate the thought or feeling; simply return your focus to the breath.
When you do so, do it gently and with compassion. You may smile at yourself in congratulations for bringing your focus back. Many meditation teachers compare this act of bringing our attention back to doing pushups. If we do just one pushup, we will not suddenly become incredibly muscular. We must repeat them over and over. Similarly, this act of bringing our attention back to the breath must be done repeatedly in order to train our minds to focus.
When your time is up, you may open your eyes slowly. This practice of staying completely in the present moment helps our minds to focus and stay in the here and now.
Meditation in addiction recovery questions
This practice is very simple and takes but a few minutes. With regular practice, we begin to train our minds to live contently in the present moment.
If you have questions about this sitting meditation, please leave them below. We try to respond to all questions personally and promptly.