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I perform the same 5 minute meditation everyday.

This highly effective, yet simple 5 minute meditation, has significantly reduced my stress and has helped me accomplish more in life with greater ease.  I learned this process from Joseph Goldstein, a world renown meditator.

When I began meditating a year ago, I thought the sole purpose was to relax and get away with wearing stunningly-cool robes.

I also thought it mainly had to do with being “enlightened” or “spiritual”, whatever those mean. As I deepened my practice I learned that the benefits of meditation are practical and far-reaching, both at work and at home.  Specifically, these benefits are derived from “mindfulness” meditation, which is the type of meditation this post will focus on.

Mindfulness provides us the ability to not be carried away by our thoughts and emotions. It affords us the ability take control of our brain, rather than blindly following it.  I will discuss the many benefits of mindfulness meditation in future posts but without further ado — here is the magic 5 minute meditation.  I have included both a guided meditation audio that I recorded and also step by step instructions below.  The guided meditation is perfect for a train commute or anytime you can steal away for 5 minutes.

5 Minute Meditation Guided Audio

(audio file- click on play button above)

Step-by-Step Instructions with additional tips/tools

Step 1 – Sit

Set your phone timer for 6 minutes and begin the time. Click the 5 Minute Meditation Guided Audio above. Sit in an up-right comfortable seated posture on a couch or seat.  Seriously focus on comfort; just make sure you are not slouching. There is no need to:

  • Cross your legs
  • Use a meditation cushion/pillow
  • Be a hipster/instagram that you are meditating
  • Flip your hands upward in a enlightened pose

Step 2 – Begin

Place your hands downward on your knees, aim your head directly forward, and gently close your eyes. Consciously relax your eyes.  Next loosen your jaw and lower your shoulders.  Working your way down your body relax each part until you feel your feet ease into the ground.

Step 3 – Body

Settle into your seated posture.  Begin to feel the physical sensations of your body’s contact with the chair.  Focus on the pressure, heaviness and warmth the body feels against the chair.  Bring your attention to your whole body, from your face, to your chest, to your stomach, down to your feet.

Step 4 – Breath

As you settle into the awareness of your body, you will begin to notice the sensations of your body breathing. Turn your focus onto your breath, from the beginning of inhale, through the end of your exhale, then repeat. This is not a breathing exercise so let the breaths come as naturally as they would if you weren’t observing them.

Step 5 – Begin Again

Continue to maintain your focus on your breath for the duration of this meditation.  You will find that your mind will begin to wander, almost immediately, to random thoughts and day dreams.  This wandering of the mind is fine and happens to everyone (my mind is ALL OVER THE PLACE).

The goal is to notice (become mindful) when your mind has left on some tangent and that your focus has been taken away from your breath.  When you become mindful of this, bring you focus back to the feeling of your body sitting.  Once your focus is on your body, turn it back to the sensations of your breath.  This is what is called “beginning again”.

Step 6 – Begin Again, Again

The simplest goal of mindfulness meditation is to recognize when the mind has wandered and “begin again” with your focus on the breath.  Each time you notice you are lost in a train of thoughts, bring your attention back to the body and the feeling of the breath.  This process helps you immediately in two very important ways:

  1. For the first time you will be “looking-in” to the workings of your mind, without letting it take you wherever it is going.  This was extremely revelatory for me because I immediately started to realize how insane my mind actually is; most of my thoughts are sheer non-sense.
  2. Improved concentration and ability to focus.  Our minds provide a constant torrent of images, thoughts and distractions that prevent us from giving our full attention to tasks at hand.  Our ability to quite this noise can have huge implications on productivity and effectiveness.

Step 7 – The End

After the 5 minute meditation alarm sounds slowly open your eyes.  Congratulate yourself on completing 5 minutes of being mindful.  Reflect back on your meditation and ask yourself these questions:

  • How often did I begin again? [every few seconds, few minutes]
  • At what point of the thought did I become mindful [just at the beginning, after a few minutes, I can’t remember]
  • Were there consistent types of thoughts [worrying, planning, work, commenting]

The key to deriving benefits from anything in life, mindfulness included, is in the repetition of performing tasks daily.  I have found meditation to be immensely beneficial in my life and maintain that practicing daily is essential. Stowe away for 5 minutes and get started on taming the monkey that is your brain!

Eric