Take time to withdraw from the world, let the mind slow down and observe with clarity what’s important. Do not be fooled by the senses that offer the illusion of ‘aliveness’ where there is only noise. Behind all senses, behind all thought – there you are.

STEPS TO SLOWING THE MIND DOWN

1) Do a focused breathing meditation. Make an effort to get to ten breaths without thinking of anything else. Saying the statement “I’m right here, right now” over and over again while you take each breath in and out will help bring your focus into the present. If you think of something else start back over at breath number one. If this is your first time it will take some real effort. And you may get frustrated – good – frustration will serve as a fuel for a greater will to focus.

2) When you’ve achieved 10 breaths you can let the thought of counting go, and begin to notice the air moving in and out of your lungs. Just feel the sensations of air breathing in and out of your lungs.

3) After several breaths of just noticing sensations, begin to sense the universe breathing you every time you breathe out. Color the breath in your mind and visualize it filling your lungs and entering the world to be shared with other life – plants, humans and other creatures. Sense the greater connection with all life.

4) Let the exercises go. Notice how much the mind has slowed down at this point. Just relax in the calm. Observe yourself in the present, ask the question “Who am I really?” over and over again. Your mind may begin to drift at this point – do your best to remain aware of where it goes. Notice how you feel – be as present as possible.

This exercise is one form of meditation. As you begin to slow the mind down and train your brain to focus you will notice your effort to meditate goes through the four traditional stages of personal development:

1 – Unconscious incompetence – Sleep walking through life – vulnerable / reactive to environment.
2 – Conscious incompetence – You are aware of what you want to focus on but your mind strays quite often.
3 – Conscious competence – You are aware of what you want to focus on, your mind strays less often.
4 – Unconscious competence – You have achieved a deep level of awareness. Presence is your middle name.