mind exercises for life & relaxation
In all of the following meditations, one may be sitting (cross legged, lotus, chair), standing, laying, or moving. Grandiose goals to meditate for hours every day is not realistic for most - even 10 breaths a day can change your life.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of meditation where a “mantra” is repeated allowed, under the breath, or in the mind. You may increase the speed or slow the speed at which it is said. Your mind can wander as you say this mantra, realizing that you are wandering (on a train of association) is an awakening that you should enjoy (not punish yourself). It is important to observe the thoughts as they come into your mind (you do not need to control them, although repeating the mantra and focusing will bring you back to center).
Wahe Guru (Gurmantra)
Ohm Mani Padme Hum
This form of meditation involves creating different images in your mind for focus, to “ground you”, or “bring you to center”. They can be very quick or integrated into a series of similar exercises
Center line - Seated cross legged or half lotus, with your hands laying comfortably on your lap or on your knees. Imagine a silvery blue line coming up from the base of your spine and through the top of your head, pulling you up from the center. Adjust your back and chest a few different ways to see how your body feels (this act literally lights up nerves that sense the body). Turn from side to side around with the line and breath into it.
Mountain - Imagine the biggest and most beautiful mountain you have ever seen. Imagine you are that mountain. Mountains in different areas of the world appear very different (and all magnificent) - I like to imagine the Andes in Peru! Breathe in - inhale the earth and minerals from a few feed below where you are seated / Breathe out - exhale the negative and frustrations from your life.
Know that you are sitting - Sit in a comfortable seated (or laying) position. Start at your feet - how do you know you are sitting ? Do you actually just feel data input from your feet touching something with pressure? Does the information about seat under you and behind you tell you that you are sitting?
Labels / Open Awareness - Begin by relaxing and focusing on your breath (eyes can be partially closed or completely closed). Naturally let thoughts come into your mind. Observe each thought - when something calls your attention, label it either Think, Feel, See, Hear, or Gone. Each moment slowly observe and label thoughts without judgement, occasionally you may have mental space (gone). Eventually (as Shinzen Young said), instead of meditating inside of your life, you will begin to live life inside of meditation.
Begin Again - The concept of waking up and “beginning” again is an important concept in meditation to strengthen focus. Enjoy waking up (do not punish yourself for wandering) and focus on the feeling of coming to center (what does that feel like specifically?). You will get on a “train of association” and not know where it is going or even that you have gotten on it. The goal is to make it easier and easier to wake up.
Body Scan - Sit in a comfortable seated (or laying) position. Start at your feet - in a very relaxed and curious way, investigate how each and every tiny part feels from toe to the very top of your head (how many places did you forget?). Appreciate every part (feel like you are sending it good vibes) - each part of your body is imperative to live comfortably and function in a very fundamental way.
Analytical Meditation - Begin by relaxing and focusing on your breath. Naturally let thoughts come into your mind. Observe each thought - when something calls your attention, focus on it. Ask why did this come to your mind? How do you feel about it? how important is it in your life? Analyze with positive and curious questioning - there should be zero judgement. There are several kinds of this meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trgVYgwianc
Listening to Silence - https://tricycle.org/magazine/listening-to-silence/
3 Part Breath
Meta Meditation (Loving-Kindness)
Transcendental Meditation (TM): Mantra based
10% Happier with Dan Harris (podcast + guided meditations)
Pinch me living positive affirmations on youtube:
Shinzen Young on youtube:
Tao of Pooh
Teachings of the Dalai Lama
So many Ted talks on happiness (or related topics)