Create a time and space by making a willful decision to put aside your tasks and or duties and to step away from areas and situations that are over-stimulating. When possible, use a place that is designed for such a purpose (Sun Room, Private Study, etc.) An outdoor space can be particularly beneficial, but well-designed indoor spaces are also very good.
Assume a posture that is comfortable, but not so comfortable that you want to fall asleep. You might choose to sit upright in a firm chair with feet planted squarely on the floor. It is important to keep the spine as straight as possible. Hands can go in the lap or rest on your thighs, palms up or down. Find what feels best for you. Eyes close at this point. Spend a few moments Attuning to the space via awareness. What do you hear, smell, taste, feel (physically), think, feel (emotionally), sense (spiritually)?
Lower your awareness by first focusing upon breath. Inhale slowly and deeply as you draw in the calming energy of breath. With each exhalation feel the release of tension from the body (If you are particularly tense in body you may include a Progressive Relaxation Exercise here). During your breathing, consider adding a “thought saying” of your choice (i.e., “In with Peace, out with Calm”). You will notice that your breathing becomes slower and more relaxed. This is good. Now, let the breath become more passive as you turn your attention to the next stage.
Manage the mind (mindfulness) by focusing upon a single word, object, or place that is positive and affirming for you. Let this word, object, or place remain your ONLY thought. If you drift away from it, simply come right back to it without any judgment (mindfulness improves over time). Hold this space for as long as you wish. At this point you may choose to engage additional meditative exercises, or you may complete the session by slowly returning to a more alert, but balanced level of consciousness.
© Dr. Michael E. Ludwig, PhD