"The goal of meditation isn't to control your thoughts, it's to stop letting them control you."
Below is a selection of audio, video, and other resources on basic meditation. Remember, never lose sight of the basics. Bookmark this page and send it to friends. You'll want to come back here time and again to keep your daily practice well-tuned.
How do I sit?
Andy Puddicombe, founder of the Headspace meditation app, explains how to sit when you meditate. Headspace has also partnered with The Guardian to produce The Headspace Meditation podcasts: five free podcasts exploring mindfulness in other facets: mindful eating, mindful commuting, walking, sleep, etc.
Mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), takes us through a 20-minute meditation focusing on the breath.
Free guided meditations from UCLA: Each week has a different theme, and usually includes some introductory comments, a guided meditation, some silent practice time, and closing comments. Presented by the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
UCSD Center for Mindfulness: Guided audio files for practicing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) from the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness.
Basic mediation with Tara Brach: Free meditations that you can stream or download.
Contemplative Mind in Society: Guided practices from from Mirabai Bush, the center's director, Diana Winston from UCLA's Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, and Arthur Zajonc, president of the Mind & Life Institute.
Insight Meditation Society : Selected talks, podcasts, and audio streams, including various lengths of guided meditation.
So you want to start practicing meditation, but need to know the very basics—like how to sit. Mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn offers helpful tips for beginners.
Five Steps to Mindfulness
“Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.” Mindfulness can transform your life. Meditation master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches five exercises to help you live with joy.
Body and Mind Integration
Yoga practice and meditation work extremely well together, say Cyndi Lee and David Nichtern. They show us how.
Is it working?
So you're practicing mindfulness, but sometimes it just doesn't feel like it's working. That's natural. In order to stay on track, says Donald Altman, it's important to stop now and then and recalibrate your thinking. Here's how.
Setting up a Mindfulness Meditation Group
Betsy Nelson on how she did it, why it helps, and how you can too.
Meditation for Difficult Times
- Pema Chödrön on four ways that meditation helps us deal with difficulty
Meditation takes us just as we are, with our confusion and our sanity. This complete acceptance of ourselves as we are is a simple, direct relationship with our being. We call this maitri, loving-kindness toward ourselves and others. There are four qualities of maitri that are cultivated when we meditate:
1. Steadfastness. When we practice meditation we are strengthening our ability to be steadfast with ourselves, in body as well as mind.
2. Clear seeing. This is another way of saying that we have less self-deception. Through the process of practicing the technique day in and day out, year after year, we begin to be very honest with ourselves.
3. Experiencing our emotional distress. We practice dropping whatever story we are telling ourselves and leaning into the emotions and the fear. We stay with the emotion, experience it, and leave it as it is, without proliferating. Thus we train in opening the fearful heart to the restlessness of our own energy. We learn to abide with the experience of our emotions.
4. Attention to the present moment. We make the choice, moment by moment, to be fully here. Attending to our present-moment mind and body is a way of being tender toward self, toward others, and toward the world. This quality of attention is inherent in our ability to love. These four factors not only apply to sitting meditation, but are essential to all the bodhichitta(awakened heart) practices and for relating with difficult situations in our daily lives. By cultivating them we discover for ourselves that it is bodhichitta, not confusion, that is basic.
From Comfortable With Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion, by Pema Chödrön.
Meditation is the New Jogging
- Stephany Tlalka
Self-identified "fidgety and skeptical news anchor" Dan Harris notices something big about meditation: unlikely people are trying it—from U.S. Marines to scientists, doctors, and lawyers. "They know it can help you be more focused on what you're doing and stop you from being yanked around by the voices in your head," says Harris.
He predicts meditation will be the next public health revolution. "In the 1940s if you told people that you went running they would say, who’s chasing you. Right now if you tell people you meditate—and I have a lot of experience with telling people this, they’re going to look at you like you’re a little weird most of the time. That’s going to change."
Harris notes that the benefits of mindfulness are so widespread that what seems to be holding mindfulness back is its ambassadors—often people who brand themselves as "self-help gurus" and make meditation seem like something reserved for yurt-dwelling individuals. See more from Dan Harris here.