I invite you to make yourself comfortable, sitting on a cushion on the floor or in a straight back chair – in a position that reflects wakefulness and dignity. If it is comfortable for you, I invite you to gently close your eyes and if not create a low gaze on the floor. I invite you to drop your shoulders and let your upper body be supported by the stable base of your pelvic area. You may notice how your head and neck are balanced on your shoulders, and you might also be aware of the points of contact with cushion or chair you are sitting on. Notice if there are any points of pressure. If you are sitting in a chair, you might notice the contact between your feet and the floor. Notice how you are being supported by the earth.
When you are ready you can become aware of the fact that you are breathing. Notice where you feel the breath most in your body. It might be the passage of air in the nostrils or the rise and fall of the chest or belly. Wherever it is, let your attention be drawn to this sensation in your body and use this as an anchor for this practice. Notice the breath in and the out breath out. Our life begins when we take our first breath in and we end our life when we take our last breath out. Life is every breath in between. Notice the passage of air in and out of your body and the presence you have when you focus on this. Let each breath come of its own accord, there is nothing you have to do, just notice, moment by moment by moment.
You may rapidly discover that it is not so easy to keep your attention on the breath. It doesn’t take long to realise that the mind has a life of its own and it will inevitably take you off into the past or the future, planning or worrying, liking or disliking, impatient or bored. It is natural for the mind to wander – it is not that you are failing at meditation if your mind doesn’t stay on the breath. It’s not a matter of making your mind go blank but rather to become familiar with the workings of your own mind. You do not need to stop your thoughts or judge them. You can let them be and keep focusing your awareness on the breath.
Bring your attention back to the place where you feel the breath most in your body. Notice how this feels. Each time your mind wanders bring your attention back to the breath and begin again, and again and again. Each time for the first time. Each moment the only moment. Our lives are unfolding here and now and only here and now, no matter what our thoughts are telling us. This present moment is all that is real. The rest is something that we create in our mind.
As you sit here in this moment, you might feel that you are sitting with the qualities of a mountain – fully present in the body, stable, and grounded. The mountain rises from the earth and is of the earth, just like you. Feel your breath enter and occupy all of the spaces in the body. Draw your attention to the fact that every breath in is a new beginning and each out breath a complete letting go. This is presence.
When you are ready, I invite you to gently open your eyes and come back into the room or space where you are sitting. You may want to take a moment to notice how you are now feeling in your body.