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Basic Guided Meditation

Cory Muscara






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Basic Guided Meditation

In this meditation, we'll practice a 15-minute sequence of breath awareness, open monitoring, and gratitude.


I'm Cory Muscara, and this is a

guided mindfulness meditation that

follows the sequence I outline in

my book, Stop Missing Your Life.

The more you practice this meditation,

the more you are training your

mind for focus, reduce stress,

inner peace and greater presence.

So let's get started.

Find a comfortable posture which could

be sitting in a chair, cross-legged on

the floor, lying down, or even standing.

If you're sitting, you want your

spine to be upright, but not uptight.

I like to think of it as a

relaxed mountain-like posture..

And once you're settled, if

it's comfortable to do so,

you can close your eyes.

If you prefer to keep

them open, that's fine.

Just let your gaze rest toward the floor.

We're going to use the first few

moments of this to simply settle in.

To help with that, we'll

take a deep breath together.

So breathing in through the nose.

And slowly out through the mouth.

Inviting your jaw to soften and relax.

The teeth don't need to be clenched.

Inviting your shoulders

to relax and be at ease.

As well as your hands and your belly.

All areas we tend to hold extra tension.

Just see if you can give yourself

the permission to be here.

So often were running from one thing to

the next, crossing things off our to-do

list, trying to get some place else or

be some better version of ourselves.

But right now, you've allocated

this time for yourself.

Because of that, there's no place

else you need to be, nothing else

you need to do, no problems you

need to solve, and no better version

of yourself you need to become.

So see if you can settle

in to that understanding.

Just allowing yourself to be as you

are right now, without needing to

make the moment better or different.

And from this relaxed awareness,

we're going to guide our

attention to our breath.

This will be the majority

of our meditation practice.

And we use the breath as a way to anchor

our attention into the present moment.

So that when the mind wanders, we can

just come back to some stability point.

In the same way that an anchor

stabilizes a boat, even when the current

and the waves try to pull it away.

If for any reason, focusing on the

breath is uncomfortable or creates

anxiety, you can take your hands,

place them on your thighs and just

move them up and down, feeling the

tactile sensations of that movement.

And you make that the

anchor for your attention.

For the purpose of this meditation, I'll

assume we're focusing on the breath.

And specifically, we're going

to be feeling the rising

and falling of the abdomen.

And notice that the key

word there is feeling.

We're not thinking about the breath.

We're not imagining the breath.

We're dropping into a felt

sense of the body breathing.

Sometimes this can be difficult at first.

So if it's helpful, you can

place one hand on your belly to

feel that movement more vividly.

And just notice what it's like

to feel your body breathing.

You don't need to breathe long and

deep or in a way that you think

is appropriate for meditation.

Just allow the breath to

be at its natural rhythm.

And all you're doing is bringing

a gentle awareness to that

experience as it's happening.

Now you may notice, perhaps very quickly,

that the mind likes to wander, to get

caught up in the future, the past,

ideas, judgements, fantasy regret.

So many different things they can go to.

And our practice is very simply

to notice when the attention has

drifted away from the breath and then

gently bring it back to the breath.

This is the bicep curl for the mind.

Wanders away.

We bring it back.

Wanders away again, we bring it

back, over and over and over again.

To help keep a continuity of

awareness, you can make mental

labels of your experience.

So when you're breathing in and

the belly rises, you can label

that in your head as rising.

When you breathe out and the belly

falls, you can label that as falling.

So rising, falling.

And then when the mind creates a thought,

you could just label that as thinking.

And then come back to rising, falling.

So it would sort of sound like

rising, falling, rising thinking,

thinking, rising, falling.

So see if you can practice that.

I'll give you some time in silence.

Checking where your

attention is on this moment.

Has it gone into autopilot,

consumed in thoughts?

And if so, just gently guiding it

back to this moment, this breath.

Feeling the simplicity of only

needing to focus on one breath.

You don't need to worry about the rest of

the meditation, or getting anything right.

Just be with this breath, rising, falling.

So now that we've attuned to and

stabilized our attention a bit more

in the present moment, we're going

to expand our awareness and do what's

called choiceless awareness meditation.

Instead of just focusing on the

breath, we're going to broaden

our attention to include anything

that arises within our awareness.

This could be sensation in

the body, emotions, sounds,

thoughts, as well as the breath.

You could think of this

meditation as just simply being.

See if you can be aware

of what ever comes up.

And instead of it sweeping you away,

you're practicing staying present to

it as it passes by, coming and going.

So now instead of just labeling, rising,

falling and thinking you might label itch,

sound, thinking frustration, boredom.

Whatever experience you notice,

just give it a little mental label

until it transitions into another

experience and then label that.

It should sound like an ongoing

stream of labeling random experiences.

So I'll give you some time

in silence to try that out.

Remember, we were just watching

all of these experiences come up.

We don't need to make sense of them, we

don't need to try to usher them away,

and we don't need to indulge in them.

The idea is to simply stay

present to the ongoing stream of

experiences that we usually get

sucked into and overwhelmed by.

If you get confused on how to do

this, just become aware of the

confusion, even label it, confused.

Nothing is excluded from your

awareness and your experience.

I'll give you are a little bit

more time in silence to practice.

So before we close this meditation,

we're going to take a few moments

just to reflect on anything that we're

grateful for, that you're grateful for.

And this could be people in your

life, material things you have,

qualities about yourself, or simply

the fact that you're breathing.

Take some time to feel what it's like

to incline your mind toward gratitude.

I'll give you some silence to reflect.

In a moment I will ring a bell

and this will indicate the

meditation coming to a close.

When you hear the sound, just bring

your full awareness and attention to the

sound until it dissolves into silence.

You can slowly start to reorient

yourself to the space around you.

Maybe wiggling your fingers and toes,

getting some movement in the body.

And when you're ready,

you can open your eyes.

So well done.

You just completed 15

minutes of meditation.

And as I mentioned in my book, if you

did no other practice than this each

day, it would go a very long way for you

continuing to build the inner resources

to navigate stress, develop focus,

cultivate inner peace, and really bring a

deep quality of presence into your life.

So great job.

Give yourself a little pat on the back

and see if you can bring this quality of

presence and mindfulness into your day.

As we all know, that's

where it really counts.

Great job and I'll talk to you soon.

Until then, take care.

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