This meditation will take anywhere from five to 20 minutes, or even longer if you wish. We recommend staying in Steps 1 and 2 for one to two minutes each; in Step 3 for three to five minutes; and in Step 4 for five to 15 minutes.
Step by Step
Get into a comfortable, seated position, either in a chair with your legs uncrossed, or on the floor. Adjust your posture so that your spine is upright, yet your body feels relaxed. Rest your hands in your lap or on your thighs, with the palms facing up or down.
Close your eyes and bring your attention to your breathing. Take a few conscious and deep abdominal breaths. Let your exhalations carry out any tension or anxiety you're feeling now, and use them throughout your meditation to expel any tension or anxiety that comes up.
If it is helpful, you may use the affirmations—"I am" on the in-breath and "calm and relaxed" on the out-breath—to center yourself during this practice.
Bring your awareness to your heart. Allow your breaths to massage this area. Notice any specific feelings or thoughts you may have about yourself, people you know, or any particular event. Cultivate a detached and nonjudgmental attitude to anything that comes up for you.
Continue to focus on the heart area while doing the following:
Cultivate a friendly and accepting attitude toward yourself and your friends.Develop feelings of compassion and understanding for all those who suffer.
Be joyful in your thoughts about a particular person who's important to you or a saint or guru you hold in high esteem.
Maintain feelings of indifference and equanimity to anyone who has harmed you or anyone else. Don't get sucked into their mean-spiritedness or harmful deeds.
To complete your meditation, take three to five deep abdominal breaths. Open your eyes and slowly get up.