In their words: Renate Ogilvie & Five minute meditation
You don’t have to believe in karma and rebirth to be relaxed, kind and aware. It’s our natural state, and you can regain it through training the mind in meditation. The Buddha himself was not a Buddhist, so what he offered was for everyone. The Five Minute Meditation is for people with extremely busy lives. It’s short because we are not monks and nuns. Of course, feel free to extend it.
Basic Breathing Meditation
All meditators meditate in this way, either to stabilise the mind before other techniques, or as their main practice, sometimes for many years. It is simple but not that easy. If you manage to watch the breath for just a few seconds without getting distracted by thoughts, you are doing very well.
Step One: Make time
Make sure you won’t get disturbed. Turn off your mobile and unplug your landline. Five minutes is possible. If not, take a serious look at your life.
Step Two: Find the right place
Sit in a place that feels right and stick to it. Use a rug or bath towel if you sit on the floor and don‘t use it for anything else. Place enough cushions to support you so you can sit with crossed legs.
Step Three: Correct posture
Sit in a way that is most comfortable. Lotus is best. Also good: sitting on a chair or supine on your back with your hands by your side (don’t fall asleep). Crucial: straight spine to allow your spiritual energy to move freely. Then: place the right hand palm up in the left hand. Keep the eyes either completely closed if the mind is very active, or slightly open if you are sleepy. The mouth should be closed, but the jaw relaxed. Keep the tongue behind the front upper teeth to stop saliva accumulating.
Step Four: Watch the breath
Take one or two deep breaths and completely fill the lungs. Release the breath into its natural rhythm, allowing it to happen, not doing it. Become completely aware of the breath and follow it: in breath, out breath, in breath, out breath. Count if it helps.
Step Five: Release all thoughts
Notice thoughts as they arise – neither suppress them nor get entangled in them. Release them and turn your attention back to the breath. Do not strain. Allow the mind to be neutral, free of comment or judgment.
Step Six: Dedicate the merit
At the end of the meditation dedicate: ’May all beings being happy!’
Step Seven: Reconnect during the day
At your desk, when you sit in a bus, walking in the street etc., breathe and watch the breath, releasing all thoughts.
Meditate regularly, but stick to five minutes until you really want to extend. Meditation should be your private luxury, not a chore. The best time is in the morning, but any time is good.
Remember: whenever you meditate thousands the world over are doing the same. Rejoice!
Renate Ogilvie is a psychotherapist, international lecturer in Buddhism and consultant to the Bhutan Nuns Foundation. She will be presenting a session and leading a post-conference workshop at Mind & Its Potential in November.