Enjoy these two 10-Minute Gently Guided Meditations.
I hope that whether you’re an experienced meditator or new to meditation, you’ll benefit from these 10-minute meditation recordings. All you need to do is hit play!
Here's an all new 10-minute meditation recording for the holiday season, when we need a little extra support to come back to ourselves. In it, I share my poem "You" and invite you to trust your own inner voice. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. I love to hear from you :).
I’ve also created a mindful journaling guide and some mindful journaling prompts that you can also enjoy and pair with the recording. Writing can help our meditation practice and meditation can help our writing practice!
This second 10-minute meditation recording is inspired by the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
10-Minute Meditation Recording:
10-Minute Meditation Script (for second recording): Click Here
10-Minute Meditation: Before You Begin (Some Pointers)
Before you begin, come to a comfortable space where you can sit comfortably with an upright spine. You can sit in a chair if you like, with both feet on the ground. Or sit on the floor with your legs crossed or in a position that works for you.
Make sure that you have your phone on do not disturb. Tell the people around you not to disturb you for ten minutes. And have a piece of paper nearby.
In this meditation, we’re going to be present with our breath. When the mind wanders, bring it back to the breath. But if you find that you are having thoughts that are really intruding on your meditation practice that you return to again and again, jot them down on the piece of paper so that the paper, not your mind and body, can hold the thoughts; come back to the page later. Meditation can be uncomfortable, especially at first. Please read my comments and guidelines below. Don’t get discouraged. The more you practice, the more benefits you will enjoy.
The Benefits of 10-Minute Meditation
I created this 10-minute meditation recording because I know how hard it can be to stop for just ten minutes.
I used to struggle with meditation, with sitting still and sinking into silence. I’d feel almost claustrophobic when I stopped and sat with myself.
And yet, I also had little glimpses that behind that discomfort were new possibilities for greater ease and peace.
Meditation helped me retrain my nervous system. And 10-minute meditations are a great way to develop a steady practice: a little longer than five minutes, they allow you to really sink into the experience without taking a lot of time.
Scientific studies have documented again and again the healing power of meditation, even with a short 10-minute meditation; it not only retrains the nervous system, but leads to less chronic illness, less anxiety, and greater overall happiness.
You don’t need to be an expert to benefit from meditation. And you don’t need to “enjoy” it to benefit from meditation.
Studies have shown that people who practice meditation ten minutes a day, even if they are taught by complete novices themselves and even if they don’t particularly enjoy it, have noticeably better health indices after just a few weeks than control groups who don’t meditate.
10-Minute Meditation: Dispelling a Common Misperception about Meditation
Many people have the idea that when we meditate, we’re supposed to stop our mind and come into a completely clear, blank mind.
But that is not what we are trying to do. We’re not aiming to subtract something or make something disappear. If we have that idea, we can feel like we’re trying to negate ourselves and isolate ourselves, and this in itself can feel suffocating.
Instead, we try to focus and direct our mind. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, we need to pay attention to something. We keep on bringing our mind back to our focus of meditation.
It is natural for the mind to jump all over the place, to fly up into thoughts, worries, out of the present moment, in the past and future and into other people’s business. Our capacity to think is helpful. But it’s also, for most of us, completely overblown and usually out of control. Rather than directing our thinking, our thinking directs us.
So in meditation, we train our mind to focus. People often use the image of the monkey mind that is being trained in meditation. I once saw a documentary about wild monkeys; in one scene, they crawl through an open window into a kitchen–and, boy, what a mess they made! That’s how our monkey mind can function.
But in meditation, we train our mind to stay focused on what is around us. Once we have this capacity, then we can have more insight into what is really important, what really matters.
And, at the same time, through attention, we come to understand that all things are always in relation. Mind and body work together; we are connected within ourselves and we are connected to what is around us. We are never really alone. As we pay attention, we also notice that everything is always fluid, changing. We aren’t stuck.
When we meditate, we have more spaciousness to choose what we focus on and more discernment about how we treat ourselves and the world around us.
10-Minute Meditation: Transforming Silence
As a writer, I’ve found that meditation has also helped me align with my creative self.
I used to encounter blocks when I sat down to write. I experienced those blocks as silencing.
But meditation also transformed my relationship with silence; I no longer experienced it as suffocating but instead as inviting.
That’s because there are two kinds of silence. Many of us with trauma histories (personal, social, or inherited), know the suffocating feeling of imposed silence.
But silence does not need to be imposed; rather it can offer spaciousness, room to breathe, change, develop.
How does that work?
I’ve found that the silence of meditation helps break up those more uncomfortable, stifling silences that I was afraid of when I first began to meditate.
We come to see that those uncomfortable silences are imposed on us. They come from others. But they aren’t ours. And sitting in meditation helps us distinguish what voices we need to pay attention to and what, in fact, we don’t need to pay attention to.
Sometimes, for our own safety, if we live in a totalitarian state or are in a dangerous relationship, we need to be careful about what we say when, but we don’t need to internalize those voices. And when we are mindful of what is really happening in the present, we can make better decisions about how to act and how to move towards greater freedom.
When we are mindful of what is really happening, we also have the tools to stop internalizing those external voices. As social beings, it’s natural for us to internalize the thoughts, emotions, and energies of our parents or our bosses, our co-workers, of the newscasters on the TV, and the people on our social media feeds. But when we meditate, we come into a clearing. We get to stop paying attention to those other voices and pay attention, instead, to our own breath, to the rhythms of our own body. And we notice that there is more space for our own observations, not just the observations and voices of others, to come through. In this expanded space, our own unique insights, interpretations, and voices develop.
10-Minute Meditation: How Writing Can Help
When we meditate, we try to stay focused on the present moment. It’s completely natural for our thoughts to run away from our object of attention, especially when we begin to meditate. So our job is to call them back. We keep calling them back again and again to our focus of attention.
But sometimes, we find ourselves really focused on a thought or emotion that seems important and we can’t or don’t want to ignore it.
Rather than push it out of your mind, listen to yourself in those situations. I recommend keeping a piece of paper or journal by your side when you meditate, especially at first, so that you can jot down the intrusive thoughts that come to your mind so that the page—not your mind and body—can hold the thoughts. Your mind can come back to your breath and to the present for the rest of the meditation. When you’re done meditating, you can look at the page.
Was your thought important? Very often it will not be. Often, it will be something you’ve thought a thousand times before.
But sometimes, you will find that you’ve written down something important. That you’ve had some new insight into. In that case, stay with the thought and write about it some more.
If you haven’t already listened, you can listen to the 10-minute meditation recording below: