A simple, effective meditation routine

Thu, 02 Jan 2020 00:00 UTC by garethbrown

When I started experimenting with meditation several years ago, the biggest barrier to entry was a feeling like I wasn't doing it right. Like something specific was supposed to happen if I nailed it, or some clear outcome was to be apparent. Like it was something I could achieve.

Based on all of the reading I've done (reading list at the end of this post) and practice with what is effective for me personally, I can tell you that 95% of what you'll read about meditation is unnecessary. I want to set out here the complete essentials for effective meditation, with none of the rubbish you don't need.

Note that I am not a self proclaimed expert on mediation, it is something I have worked in to my routine and I feel helps me personally. I'd like to share with others how simple it can be, because it really is an effective way to balance your thoughts and feel better within your self which many people could benefit from. Better control over and understanding of your thoughts can lead to a happier, more productive life with less anxiety and procrastination.

A simple meditation session

A simple mediation session can look like this.

  • Find a quiet place where you are comfortable and will not be disturbed for the period of your meditation session.

  • Set a timer (just on your phone if need be). Between 10 to 20 minutes is a good starting point.

  • Sit comfortably with your legs crossed and back straight, use a cushion if it is more comfortable. Rest your hands in your lap or on your knees, whichever is more comfortable.

  • Close your eyes (or leave them slightly open, looking at the ground just in front of you if this makes you sleepy).

  • Focus on your breathing. Don't try to modify it, just observe.

  • You may want to start with a mental body scan from head to toe. Mentally note any areas of tension or discomformat and continue.

  • Your thoughts will interupt your focus on your breath. This is normal and an expected part of mediation. Simply bring your attention back to your breath and let the thought go. Repeat as new thoughts arise.

Why we use the posture described above

Because comfort will help you focus, and a straight back will help you breath and prevent any injury from sitting for long periods.

What to expect during and after your meditation

Not much. No visions, no epiphanies, no trancendence to a magic realm of mysticism.

After a few days of practice, what you may notice, is a calmer and more serene disposition within yourself, which over time, may help you to live a happier life with a greater sense of fulfillment.

Useful resources

Mediation timers

Based on my useage of a few meditation timers over the last few years, I have found I just a simple, reliable mediation timer with a few key features. Nothing more. The one that I am currently using on my Android phone is Meditation Timer by Harish Kumar Chauhan. This app provides a timer, the option set up a few timer profiles for different lengths of meditation and the option to change interval sounds and chimes. It does a good job of providing just what you need for effective mediation assistance and not much more.

Reading list

This is the reading list that contributed to my understanding of mediation. I'm putting this list here not because that you need to read all of this, or because I consider the content of all of these books to be correct or useful, but to give you some possible starting points, if you want to expand your knowledge and experience on the subject of mediatation.

Buddhism Plain and Simple (Arkana)


While it really doesn't matter too much what you sit on so long as you're confortable, I found this cushion to have a good firmness and weight for a comfortable meditation session CalmingBreath Zafu Meditation Cushion.

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