Find a quiet place where you feel safe and comfortable, and sit cross-legged on the floor with a pillow under you so that your knees are slightly lower than your hips. If you'd rather, you can sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Either way is fine, don't worry too much about the form. As you practice, you'll discover what feels most comfortable for you.
Sit with your back straight, but relaxed and your hands comfortably in your lap or resting gently, but not all the way, let your gaze fall to the floor a few feet in front of you, and allow yourself to smile gently, just a half smile. This naturally helps the face and body to relax.
Now, for those ten breaths...
I'm going to offer you five pairs of lines that my teacher offered me. With each breath in and out, you might like to silently say the lines to yourself. The first pair is:
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
As you say the first line, breath in. As you say the second line, breathe out. Makes sense, right? Then, just repeat those lines until you're ready to move on to the next pair of reminders. After a breath or two, you may feel more comfortable abbreviating the lines and simply saying: in, out.
This exercise helps to put us back in touch with the breath, and to bring the mind and body together. The remaining four lines follow in kind, two full sentences, followed by two words.
The second pair is:
Breathing in, my breath grows deep.
Breathing out, my breath grows slow.
This helps us recognize the natural the natural progression of our breath. It becomes gentle, light, and free flowing all of its own accord as our body relaxes.
The third and fourth lines offer us peace, freedom, and tranquility:
Breathing in, I feel calm.
Breathing out, I feel at ease.
Breathing in, I smile.
Breathing out, I release.
This helps us release any negative thoughts, negative emotions, and unnecessary stress in out bodies and minds.
The fifth pair of reminders brings us back to the here and the now the only place where we can keep our appointment with life:
Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment.
Breathing out, I know it is a wonderful moment.
Five pairs of lines, ten breaths...
This meditation helps bring us tranquility, healing, and relaxation, and continues to offer us those nourishing and refreshing elements long after our ten breaths are over.
No matter what my day is like, how tired, or even how sick I am, even thought I've been meditating for years, I practice this simple meditation every night. It brings me a great deal of comfort, and I have found that by the time I reach "deep,slow," there's always time for more than ten breaths.
What a miracle it is to be alive! And what nobler pursuit than that of learning to be present for ourselves and the world around us.
Thay tells us that the greatest gift we can give is our true presence. Shall we practice gifting each other this treasure? I aspire very much to do so.