Volume 11, no. 3
First Steps to an Uncluttered Mind
By Arnie Herz
Meditation helps us tune out the stream of information that inundates us at work and at home. It also allows us to access calmness and clarity and to de-stress from the rigors of everyday life. This article will help you start meditating on a regular basis.
The beauty of meditation is its accessibility. Anyone can meditate. You don’t need to renounce your worldly ways, or even dramatically change your daily routine to reap the many physical and mental benefits of meditation. Best of all, you simply can’t do it wrong.
And that’s the real key to a healthy meditation practice—giving ourselves permission to suspend judgment and simply accept each meditation session for what it brings. This can be difficult for those of us used to critiquing and labeling for a living. But, it’s essential for beginner and advanced meditators alike.
Although there’s no black letter rule, most people meditate for 10 to 30 minutes at a time when getting started. However, the number of minutes is not as important as the number of times you meditate each week. The more you meditate, the faster the practice will bear fruit for you.
My advice is to start out by meditating five to 10 minutes a day using the following directions.
- Find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. (It’s great to establish a regular meditation site in your home or office.)
- Sit on the floor with your legs crossed and back and head upright. Or, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor.
- Rest your hands on your knees with both palms up or both palms down or fold your hands in your lap.
- Close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths.
- Returning to a natural, rhythmic breathing, start to focus on your in-breath and out-breath.
- Observe the qualities of your breath as it flows in and out.
- If your mind chatters or wanders, which it will, gently return your focus to your breathing.
- Slowly bring your awareness back to your body and take in the sounds around you.
- Move your fingertips and toes, stretch a bit, and open your eyes.
Arnie Herz is a lawyer, mediator, and speaker nationally recognized for his practical and inspired approach to conflict resolution and client counseling. He regularly gives seminars on helping lawyers achieve work-life balance. He also writes the popular blog, legal sanity, at www.legalsanity.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.