There is no one “right” way to meditate. In fact, the many different sects of Buddhism and Hinduism are mostly variations in their approach to meditation. My personal favorite that I use everyday is called “The View” in Paula Watkins’ “Meditation Made Simple”.
I personally like this meditation because it helps ground me in my physical body while also expanding my awareness of my place within the universe. You really start to get a sense that you’ve been placed specifically in this body, on this planet, for a specific reason.
She prefaces the instructions with a quote from Einstein that nicely encapsulates the spirit of this type of meditation:
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us ‘the universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest–a kind of optical illusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening the circle of understanding and compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
1. Sit in any position that’s comfortable for you and close your eyes.
2. Enjoy three full, slow, deep breaths. Fill the abdomen as you inhale and allow your entire body to soften as you exhale. Then allow your breath to settle into a natural rhythm.
3. Ground yourself here in the present moment by connecting with each of your five senses.
4. Now, in your mind’s eye, visualize yourself sitting in the room you’re in. Take note of everything you can see. Notice the furniture in the room; notice the clothing you’re wearing; and travel around your body to see yourself from different angles.
5. Once you have a clear image in your mind’s eye of yourself in the room, shift your perspective and imagine that you’re looking at yourself from outside or above the building you’re in.
6. Continue to hover and expand your perspective. View yourself in your mind’s eye from an ever-increasing distance. See yourself within your building, within your neighborhood.
7. Keep on extending and expanding your view. See yourself within your community, your city, state, country, continent, and eventually, this planet.
8. Let your awareness hover about this planet. and contemplate the pulsing rhythm of life below and the vastness and interconnectedness of all life. Take a moment to extend your deepest aspirations for the world, for all of humanity. You might say to yourself, “may peace prevail,” “The world is filled with love,” “May all beings be happy,” “We are all connected thru love,” or any other phrase that resonates with you.
9. Travel even further away from Earth, seeing it as one of many within this galaxy. Contemplate the enormity, vastness, and expansiveness of life.
10. When you’re ready to complete this practice, slowly transition back into your body. Gradually return from the cosmos to the Earth, then your continent, country, state, city, neighborhood, building, and room. Take a few moments to expand your awareness back into your five senses: sound, taste, smell, touch, and sight. Feel the presence of your physical body in this room. When you feel ready, open your eyes.