This article is the first part of my forthcoming book, Sit, Breath - Mastering Meditation.
Sit, Breathe - A Nuts and Bolts Guide To Mastering Meditation
This book is for you:
- If you’ve been told, or read that meditation would be good for you and you are curious
- If you’ve always said that you want to learn to meditate, but never got started
- If you’ve tried to meditate but it’s not gone so well, and you’ve given up
- If you do a bit of meditation but you are confused by all the different approaches.
Sit, Breathe is a “nuts and bolts” guide because it deals with the basics in a no frills way . Like an old-fashioned Meccano set, it allows you to build a meditation practice in your life one nut and bolt at a time. The book shows you, step by step, how to do a specific, simple type of meditation. I believe this is the most useful and meaningful type of meditation for most people.
The book covers:
1. What meditation is, so you know what you are getting into
2. Why meditate, so you are clear about your motivation
3. The benefits and challenges of meditation, so you know what to expect
4. How to learn to meditate, the attitudes and techniques that make learning easy and pleasurable
5. How to create space and time in your life for meditation
6. The three elements of meditation, body, breath and mind
7. How to sit comfortably when you meditate
8. How to breathe when you meditate
9. What to do with your mind when you meditate
10. Dealing with problems such as your mind wandering, drowsiness and strong emotions
There is a chapter on each of these points and each chapter ends with a short practice. The time for the practice is typically short, five to ten minutes. The first few practices (chapters 1-6) are introductory. They give you a feel for the experience of meditation and help to establish useful habits. The exercises in chapters 7 to 10 are the actual meditation practice.
Who am I?
I am Nick Hudis. I love meditation and have been meditating since my teens (I'm 58 now). I’ve been fortunate to receive instruction in meditation from some great teachers in different traditions both Eastern and Western.
I can’t imagine life without meditating. For me meditation is both a useful life skill and a way of life. I appreciate the freedom, tranquillity, relaxation, clarity, purposefulness and pleasure that regular meditation brings to my life activities. But for me, there is something deeper - the quest to explore and experience the essence of being, the call to answer the questions, “who am I?” and “how do I exist?” Meditation is my constant guide on this quest.
I’ve worked, since the early 1980s in the fields of natural health and personal development. These days, I work mainly as a counsellor to men (Although this book is for men and women!). In that time, I have taught the meditation techniques in this book to people of all backgrounds in classes and workshops and in one to one sessions.
I am not a master! I have not lived in a monastery. I have not done punishing, long meditation retreats. I have not received esoteric initiations from gurus in mountain hermitages. I am an ordinary, reasonably happy, reasonably balanced man who loves work, loves to spend time with my partner, and friends and enjoys outdoor pursuits, martial arts, making music and fine tea and good food.
The question I am asked most often about meditation is, “Do you meditate every day”. If I answer yes to this question, people look at me with awe as if I am a master of self-discipline and mind control.
But alas, no I do not meditate every day. Life gets in the way and sometimes I just don’t feel like it. The truth is I meditate most days, sometimes for as little as one minute, sometimes for an hour or more. To me this relaxed discipline around meditation works well for me.
Enough about me. Let’s get started. Here is your first practice... your first nut and bolt. This simple practice will take you no more than two minutes.
1. Take a brief stock check of how you are at the moment. How does your body feel? What is your mood? What thoughts are uppermost in your mind?
2. Now, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, Shut your eyes and breath simply breathe in and out slow, deep and soft (breath through your nose if you can). Keep on breathing like this for what feels like a minute or so.
3. Do this without any preconceptions about what you are doing, or why. Have no expectations about what the outcome will be and make no judgments about whether you are doing it correctly. Just do it.
4. Now stop and again with no preconceptions about how you ought to feel, take another brief stock check about your body, feelings and thoughts.
5. That’s it. Do it as many times as you remember in the coming week until the next instalment of the Sit, Breath programme.
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Who Am I?
I am Nicholas Hudis an author and mentor dedicated to the path of self-cultivation. After 25 years as a therapist/coach, I see that the need is not for therapy but for cultivating the skill to live wisely, ethically and purposefully. I am no "sage" but the wisdom of Confucius, the Buddha and the Stoic philosophers guides me on a daily basis. My desire is to share this inspiration, through my writings and personal mentoring, and make a difference to your life too.