Meditation is Easier Than You Think


Maybe you’re interested in meditation as a way to relieve feelings of stress, anger, and depression. Or perhaps you’ve heard about some of its many health benefits. You might even be exploring meditation as a spiritual practice to help you connect with the world on a deeper level. No matter where our interest comes from, when many of us hear the word “meditation”, we picture something like a silent monk sitting cross-legged in a temple with a cloud of incense smoke in the background. Or, we might also picture meditation as an intense state of focus that takes years of practice to master. While this is one type of meditation, it is not all that meditation is. At its core, meditation is so much simpler and so much more accessible than those commonly held ideas.

What Is Meditation?

According to Buddhist monk Mingyur Rinpoche, the essence of meditation is simply awareness. He explains that all that is required for us to meditate is awareness of something we’re experiencing. This could be awareness of our breath, which is one of the most common focuses of meditation, but it could also be awareness of sounds, sensations in our body, or even our thoughts. As long as we know that we are alive and experiencing, we are meditating. This means that we can meditate anytime, anywhere, no matter what’s going on around us!

Lost in a Sea of Thoughts

How is this any different than most of our waking lives? If meditation means being awake and aware of anything, aren’t we always meditating? These are great questions because the difference between meditation and most of the time we spend navigating the world is subtle. While all of us will have small moments of awareness and clarity throughout the day, if you pay close attention to your mind, you’ll notice that we spend much of our time lost in thought.

Meditation and thinking are not incompatible, it’s becoming lost in thought which is the exact opposite of meditation. While much of the time when we have a thought, we might grab onto it and dive deeper and deeper into the story we tell ourselves, a meditator would notice the thought, acknowledge it, and then choose to let it go. To a meditator, a thought is no concern. And even if we get caught up in our thoughts, as soon as we recognize we are distracted and return to our present experience, we are back to meditating!

Making a Habit of It

Even though we now know we can meditate anytime and anywhere, it can still be difficult to stay in the present moment and maintain clear awareness throughout the day. That’s why it can be helpful to make a habit of practicing meditation more formally since this can make it easier to bring that spirit of meditation into our daily lives. Here’s a simple meditation you can practice to help you find more peace and stillness within a busy life:

Breathing Meditation

  1. Find a position you can comfortably maintain for at least a few minutes. This could be seated cross-legged on a cushion, sitting in a chair, or even lying on your back on a bed or yoga mat. You can keep your eyes open if you’d like, but most people find it more calming to close the eyes.
  2. Start by bringing your awareness to your breath. Notice where you feel it most (in the chest, belly, or the tip of the nose) and focus on those sensations of rising and falling, expansion and contraction, and in and out. Just let the breath happen naturally, without trying to deepen or lengthen it.
  3. Try silently counting your breaths, up to ten. For example, think “one” on the inhale, then “one” on the exhale, then “two” on the inhale, then “two” on the exhale, until you get to the tenth exhale. Then start from one.
  4. When a thought comes up or you get distracted by a sound or sensation, there is no need to worry! That’s perfectly normal. Simply recognize it and gently return to the breath. And there’s no need to worry if you’re doing things right or not. As long as you set the intention to be present, and as long as you bring yourself back to the breath after each distraction, you are meditating.
  5. Continue for as long as you’d like, but setting a timer for about 5 minutes is great for those just starting.

Meditation at Torus

If you have interest in learning more about meditation, including going deeper into the practice and learning different meditation styles and techniques, we, at Torus, can help! From Community Meditations to Meditation Training to recommended readings, to Yoga (a moving meditation), we’re here to help you live a life full of peace and presence.


Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche (2019, August 5). Meditation is easier than you think [Video].

Written by: Caden Hines, MSW Intern