Today I’m going to share one of my favorite mindfulness scripts. You can use this script to get started with your own meditation practice. It is very easy and relaxing.
The directions are in bold. Below each of the steps, you will find a scientific explanation for why that step matters, and some tips. You might also like to read my guide, How to do meditation at home.
Mindfulness Meditation Script
1: Sit comfortably with good posture
When meditating it is important to sit with good posture.
Actually, this is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make when meditating. They ignore their posture. Don’t. Your posture has a big impact on your practice. Why? Because of the mind-body connection.
Elizabeth Broadbent PhD says that sitting with good posture “Increases your persistence at an unsolvable task, and makes you feel more confident in your thoughts”.
This is backed by scientific research from San Francisco State University.
2: Close your eyes either completely or three-quarters
For our basic meditation, we will be focusing on the breath. You have two choices. You can either close your eyes completely or close them three-quarters, so there is still a slight opening.
This can make a big difference. When we close the eyes, we obviously stop visual information, which can sometimes help us focus. However, some people find that closing their eyes completely makes them enter a dream-like state where they get lost in thoughts.
In the book Heart of Meditation, Lama Shenpen Hookham explains that closing the eyes completely causes us to enter “a kind of inner world that you have to leave as soon as you stop meditating.”
That is why you might like to leave your eyes ever so slightly open. You can try both methods and find which one works best for you.
3: Focus on breathing. Optional: Use Square Breathing
Focus your mind on your breath as it moves through the space just beneath your nostrils. Observe the breath mindfully. That is, observe it in a non-judgmental way so you are simply watching it.
If you struggle to focus, I recommend using Box Breathing and counting the breath. Breathe in for four. Hold for four. Breathe out for four. Hold for four. And so on.
Counting breaths helps us to focus when we meditate. Plus, research shows that counting breaths improves mood.
When you meditate on your breath you will begin to relax. You will reduce amygdala activity, reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, and promote parasympathetic nervous system activity according to Mladen Golubic from Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
4: When your mind wanders, accept it and gently return to the breath
Let’s discuss mind wandering.
This is very important. In fact, this is why a lot of people think they can’t meditate. They notice that their mind wanders when they meditate. And they think this is wrong. They believe that the mind should be completely still when meditating. In truth, it rarely is.
Let me say this loud and clear: It is not wrong for your mind to wander. It is natural. No one has perfect focus. And the goal of meditation is not to have a perfect mind. So, when your mind wanders, just return your focus to the breath.
5: Do not control anything. Just observe
The single most important thing for beginners to understand is that meditation is not about controlling the mind.
Meditation is about observing and understanding the mind. As Vipassana meditation master S.N.Goenka has said many times, when we understand the mind, we become less reactive to it. When you understand your mind, you will stop being so affected by thoughts and feelings.
The key is to understand the mind, not to control it.
To understand your mind, simply observe it. Watch as thoughts come and go. Tell yourself what is happening in your mind. For instance, “I’m focusing on my breath… Now my mind is wandering to a thought… I became lost in that thought but now my mind has returned…”
When you describe mental processes in this way you will start to understand the mind.
This is the most important thing to understand about meditation. It is not about controlling the mind. It is about observing it.
5: Aim for ten minutes a day
I usually tell my students to meditate for twenty minutes a day. However, I know that many absolute beginners struggle to meditate for that long. And so, I will advise you to meditate for just ten minutes a day.
You really don’t need to meditate for too long to see benefits.
Richard Davidson [founder, Center for Healthy Minds] says that just eight minutes per day is enough to see benefits. I say aim for ten. Either way, the point is that you really don’t need to meditate for too long to see real benefits.
How did you get on with our basic meditation script? I hope you found it relaxing. And I am so happy you’ve decided to start meditating.
If you meditate every day, you will calm your mind and feel so much happier. And all it takes is ten minutes.
If you would like to get the most out of meditation, book an online meditation lesson with me today. You can also use my other meditation scripts for even more benefits. I particularly recommend my script for relaxation.
Giving Is Caring
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison