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Sit Quietly (aka Meditate)

It's taken a long time for me to say it, but I meditate now.

I tried for years. A class here. A book there. A workshop or retreat now and then. I found it difficult and uncomfortable.

So, I told myself that yoga served as my meditation (it does calm the mind) and tried to be content with that.

Then I met John Bruna, who lived as an ordained Buddhist monk for six years, and now travels the country helping people live meaningful lives. Suddenly, I started meditating.

There was something about John's personal story and message, about the serenity that surrounds him, that made me want to do what he does.

John teaches that happiness comes when you live according to your values and beliefs, and that meditation helps you to see and act according to those values.
John Chophel Bruna

He also says that when you cultivate control of your thoughts through meditation, you can control your actions and emotions and respond appropriately to situations despite fear, anger, frustration, etc. It also helps you to focus better on the people and events around you.

These and other teachings led me to keep meditating long after he left. That and the fact that I felt better. Quieter inside. Less irritated. More loving and compassionate.

If you're just starting out, or want a little support, here are a few tips from John:
A short daily practice - even 5 or 10 minutes - produces far better results than a longer practice once a week.
Find a comfortable position. Sitting is best, though you can lie down if you need to. (You do risk falling asleep). I meditate first thing in the morning sitting up in bed. It's warm, comfy, dark and quiet. Perfect.
Screen shot of Insight Timer
on an iPhone
Download the free App Insight Timer. A chime rings at the start of your session and again at the end so you don't have to keep looking at a clock. You can select the length of your session from 1 to 59 minutes.
Pick a length that works for you. I started with 12 minutes and now sit for 15 minutes. John suggests increasing in 3-minute increments with 24 minutes as a goal. You always want to wish you had more time when you finish, he says, so you keep coming back. 
Focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, simply bring your attention back to your breath. If your mind wanders 1,000 times, that's fine. You have 1,000 opportunities to be mindful.
You can do quickies anywhere - in line at the grocery store, at work, in the living room. Three mindful breaths and a smile can transform you!

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