"Described by ""Time magazine as the ""most American form of meditation, is a basic primer for anyone who wants to start meditation, but doesn't know where to begin. "
"Library Journal...Davich's little guide to meditation is indeed humorous, wise, effective, and resolutely nonsectarian... " -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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November 20, 2005
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Excerpt from 8 Minute Meditation by Victor N. Davich
JUST ONE BREATH
WHERE YOU ARE
Welcome to the start of the 8 Minute Meditation program.
Anytime you start something new, questions, doubts, and hopes usually arise. Perhaps you hope that when you sit down to meditate, you'll suddenly become "enlightened," whatever that might mean to you. On the other hand, you might have already decided that meditation is just one more exercise in futility, like the diet you tried last month that didn't work.
All this is, of course, normal, and completely to be expected. And the best way to deal with both positive and negative expectations is to drop them completely. Instead, decide that you will approach this meditation program one minute of meditation at a time.
Today is Day One. By this time next week, you'll have meditated 8 times?which adds up to almost an hour. So ask yourself, Can I devote an hour of my life to see if I can change my life?
Sure you can.
WHAT YOU'LL BE DOING: WATCHING YOUR BREATH
The 8 Minute Meditation program commences with the simple yet powerful technique of watching your breath.
I once stayed with a Zen master at his mountaintop monastery in California. His sole teaching instruction was "Just notice breath."
When I heard that, I figured meditation was going to be super-simple, a real no-brainer. So I told him I wanted something a little more challenging, more macho. The master smiled knowingly, patted me on the shoulder, and told me to just follow my breath for three breaths. I sat still, closed my eyes, and began.
By the end of my first breath, I had planned the menu for a dinner party four months in the future. By the end of the second, I was figuring out how to make sure my Honda passed the California smog check. And by the end of the third breath?well, you get the picture.
Following your breath may sound simple and easy, like child's play. But, thanks to our constantly Roving Mind, we're anywhere but here. My friend Josh Baran calls this "living in the elsewhere and 'elsewhen'."
But forewarned is forearmed. When (because there is no "if" about this) you are meditating and suddenly find yourself mixing up a batch of brownies or deciding whether to eat Chinese or Italian tonight, just realize that you have strayed off. Then, without judging yourself a "bad" meditator, gently return your awareness to your breath.
This is what breath meditation is about: watching your breath, straying off, realizing it, and gently returning. Over and over again. Like I said, meditation is a practice.
And don't worry, I'll be giving you a lot more detailed meditation instructions than that Zen master gave me.