One Minute Meditations for a Happier Life
by Shirley Ryan
Meditation has been used for centuries to train the mind, and the
list for its uses are extensive. Not only does meditation increase
wellness in general, it reduces stress, anxieties and cultivates
positive emotions. In addition, with consistent use, it reshapes the
cortex of the brain resulting in an increase in attention span,
sharpening of focus and improved memory.
Sounds like just what the doctor ordered you say? But
practically, how does one fit this into a busy schedule? Meditation
using mindfulness is the most practical way to meditate. In the
simple act of training ourselves to become more aware by slowing
down our sense of time passing, we can learn to monitor our moods
and thoughts before they spiral downward. We can, in other words,
make ourselves happier. Simply being mindful (paying attention)
during your daily activities is a kind of mediation.
This kind of meditation is being in the moment, exercising a set
of mental activities that sees things with impartial watchfulness.
It does not take sides. A mindful meditator is both participant and
observer. It is observing all phenomena - physical, mental or
emotional - whatever is presently taking place in the mind. Ever eat
an orange and really savor the process from peeling through tasting
it? Let's see how mindfulness works.
Behold (without judgment) the beauty of the orange as you hold it
up to the light and witness the color, moving it to your nose to
breathe in the sent of the rind itself. Perfect roundness rolls over
your fingertips as the sphere moves from your left to your right
hand. Feel the dibbled texture as it slides over your fingertips.
All of your senses are alive as you hear the peel pull away from the
skin. A cool spray of juice prickles your skin as the sent of the
orange creates an aroma that makes your mouth water. Pull the
segments apart and bite into it letting the juice run into your
mouth. Savor the sweet liquid as it becomes a part of your
awareness. This is mindfully eating an orange with full awareness of
its presence in your life. The process of mindfulness is simply
short bursts of attention to one thing. We do this normally in our
everyday life. As you begin to assimilate the process, and become
more proficient the attention moves to all things.
Some tips for meditation using mindfulness:
1. Choose one simple thing a day that you can spend time with to
give your full attention. (Start with something easy like: washing
dishes or the car, deadheading plants, folding towels, brushing the
dog, running, making a sandwich, eating anything, brushing teeth,
2. Make an appointment with yourself for this practice. (Later
you can just spontaneously choose, but for now set a time in your
calendar or it will not happen.)
3. Tell someone that you are practicing meditation in short
spurts once a day. (This commits you to the process and sets the
stage for you to change your behavior and view of yourself.)
4. While you wait for this time, practice breathing into the
diaphragm in one minute intervals. Cleansing breathwork is an anchor
to the present moment and an important part of being healthy.
Breathe into the place between your ribs and navel. (Stop lights are
a great place to practice this.)
5. Stretch regularly while sitting (Turn your neck as far as
possible from side to side and up and down.), and standing (Reach to
6. When the time comes, use all of your senses: sight, smell,
hearing, touch, taste (if appropriate), and intuition. Experience
the object without judgment--just observe. (Soapy hand, slippery,
wet, silky, warm water, etc.) Detach from whatever you are seeing or
hearing--it just is and nothing more.
Nothing is excluded, thoughts, distractions, sounds, images,
ideas, or feelings that arise, everything is welcomed. We simply
allow whatever is there to be.
Consistently observe with bare attention both the breath and
every mental phenomenon. Time is different now as it slows down our
sense of its passing. This gives a rare opportunity to see the world
and ourselves differently and to choose how we feel and act.
Mindful meditation is a good choice to develop a greater sense of
self awareness and of how we fit within the universe. The universe
responds favorably to the attention to your life, and the attention
to all of its gifts to you.
The Tao of
One of the impressions I have gained recently in speaking to
Zen friends about practice is a certain attitude towards
breathing in zazen. For the sake of brevity, and just for fun, I
wish to refer to it as "samurai breathing". I think it has its
origins in the martial arts.
Meditation - Staying Awake
Are you falling asleep while meditating? Learn a few simple tricks to avoid this common problem.
Shirley Ryan is the author of Searching for the
Waters of Antiquity, a Follow Along Meditation Process. Learn more