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MEDITATION CHEATSHEET

Course Summary

Here is a summary of all the tips you have already learned and incorporated in your practice, for easy reference.

I. MEDITATION HABIT

(1) SETUP. Choose an anchor habit, a time and a place to meditate.

The anchor habit can be anything - so long as it's something you do every day.

Once you decide the habit, set up a cue that will remind you to meditate at that time.

While early morning is the recommended time, it’s important to find what time works best for you. It needs to be a time where it’s easy for you to remember to practice, and also a time when you are awake and not tired.

Choose a place that is quiet, and where you won’t be easily interrupted or distracted.

(2) REWARD. Notice how good you feel after practice, so there is a clear reward for your efforts (use this spreadsheet). If that doesn’t work, consider giving yourself an external reward for doing the practice.

(3) RENEWED COMMITMENT. At the end of each day, re-affirm your commitment to practice the following day. Setup an alarm, or recurring calendar event, if needed.

(4) ATTITUDES

Have a never zero attitude. No day is allowed to end without you practicing - no matter what! Don’t break your chain. This is non-negotiable.

No expectation of what should happen - which means no hurry for the results or for progress.

Be patient. Don’t underestimate the importance of small steps.

Master Your Mind: An In-depth 5-Week Meditation Course (https://liveanddare.com/meditation-course) Copyrights © 2015 Giovanni Dienstmann. All Rights Reserved.

No self-criticism, shame or blame. Don’t be harsh on yourself if you forget to meditate, or if you get too distracted during your sessions. Gently re- affirm your intention and persevere.

Learn to enjoy the process. This will allow you to keep a life-long practice.

Remain non-judgmental of your progress, and resist the temptation to evaluate your practice too much.

(5) OBSTACLES. Your mind will come up with excuses to skip the practice - so be prepared to deal with it. You can do the visualization exercise suggested in Day 11 (which is to see yourself facing an obstacle, re-affirm your determination to practice, and feel good after that).

(6) MOTIVATION. Increase your motivation by finding your core values, and then seeing how meditation helps you in what you care about. Here is the simplified two- question version:

(1) What are the three things that you most like to do, think about, dream about, read about, and spend time on? (2) Note down five ways your meditation helps you enjoy those activities more, or be better at them.

(7) TOOLS.

Get a timer. The one I use and most recommend is Insight Timer (available on iOS and Android).

Prepare the place you will meditate. Buy a cushion or bench if needed (see this guide); otherwise, use a comfortable chair, your bed, or a folded blanket.

Master Your Mind: An In-depth 5-Week Meditation Course (https://liveanddare.com/meditation-course) Copyrights © 2015 Giovanni Dienstmann. All Rights Reserved.

II. MEDITATION TECHNIQUES

Breathing Awareness

Breathe deeply and slowly.

Mentally count your breath from 1 to 4, both in inhalation and exhalation.

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This means breathing in you say 1, breathing out you say 1; breathing in you say 2, breathing out you say 2; then 3, 3 and 4, 4. When you arrive at 4, start again from 1.

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If you get lost in counting, always start again from 1.

Alternatively, you can count backwards from 10 to 1.

At the same time, pay continuous attention to the rising and falling of your belly or chest, as you breath in and out.

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A slightly more advanced form of the practice, once you have built your concentration, is to drop the counting, and instead pay attention to the whole movement that breath takes in your body. This includes the rising and falling of the belly/chest (as you have been practicing), but also touches many other areas.

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A more advanced way of doing this practice is to focus on the subtle movement of air as it passes through the space between the bridge of your nose and your upper lips.

Let all thoughts, sensations, and sounds be whatever they are. Don’t fight, and don’t engage. If you get distracted, let go of that, and place your attention again on your breathing, resuming to count from 1.

Mantra Meditation

Let the breathing flow naturally.

Start the repetition of your chosen mantra. Every time you repeat it in your mind, pay careful attention to that repetition. Keep it alive - it must not become mechanical.

Let all thoughts, sensations, and sounds be whatever they are. Don’t fight, and don’t engage. If you get distracted, let go of that, and bring your mantra again in focus.

Chakra Meditation

Choose either the “heart chakra” (the space in the chest where the sternum bone is) or the “third-eye chakra” (the space between the eyebrows).

Bring all your attention to your chakra, specifically to the internal feeling in that space.

Master Your Mind: An In-depth 5-Week Meditation Course (https://liveanddare.com/meditation-course) Copyrights © 2015 Giovanni Dienstmann. All Rights Reserved.

Move your eyes in that direction, as if you were internally looking towards your third-eye or heart center. (This helps still the mind).

If you find it helpful, you can add the repetition of a mantra, or visualization of light, as a support for keeping your attention on the chakra. o For third-eye chakra, visualize a dark blue light or use the mantra OM o For the heart chakra, visualize a green light or use the mantra YAM

If you get distracted by anything, let go of that, and bring your mind to your chakra and mantra/light again.

Loving-Kindness

Think of a time you felt intensely loved, appreciated and accepted. Think of the person that made you feel like that. If helpful, remember the specific times you felt so loved by this person. But don’t let the mind wander too much into thoughts, memories and interpretation.

Shift your focus to this feeling of love itself. Notice how it feels in your body. In your brain. In your heart. In your skin.

Moment after moment concentrate on this feeling, so it grows.

Keep your mind fully engaged with this feeling of love. Keep holding on to it. Repeat internally: “May I be happy. May I be safe. May I be at peace."

If you get distracted, simply come back to the feeling of love.

Once the feeling of loving-kindness is strong you can either:

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Focus all these feelings onto yourself, for healing and self- acceptance.

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Project these feelings to a person you care about.

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Project these feelings to a neutral person.

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Project these feelings to a person you dislike.

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Expand your loving-kindness to encompass all living beings.

When projecting loving-kindness towards other people, imagine that person clearly in your mind - with his/her pains, dreams, wishes. Repeat internally, while holding the feeling of love towards him/her: “May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be at peace."

Focusing on the feeling of love is the essence of this meditation. Everything else is just a prompt for you to find and hold onto this feeling. So experiment evoking different memories, self-suggestions, visualizations, affirmations, and find what works best for you.

You can also use any other feeling, instead of loving-kindness. The principle is the same. Try it with qualities like willpower, patience, grit, self- acceptance, courage, inner strength, joy, etc.

Master Your Mind: An In-depth 5-Week Meditation Course (https://liveanddare.com/meditation-course) Copyrights © 2015 Giovanni Dienstmann. All Rights Reserved.

III. BEFORE MEDITATION (Preparation)

PReGA: Posture, Relaxation, Gladdening, Affirmation.

POSTURE

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Place your pelvis on the cushion/chair in a way that your spine neither arches forward nor backward.

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Keep your spine straight.

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Keep your neck straight by pulling in your chin, and imagining that your head is being pulled up towards the sky.

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Relax your shoulders.

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Close your mouth.

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Touch your tongue on the roof of the mouth.

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Close your eyes.

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Keep the body as still and relaxed as possible.

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Experiment with different sizes of cushions to find your ideal height

in relation to the floor or chair.

RELAX your body and breath

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Take three to five full breaths - breathing in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Make them as long, even, and deep as possible.

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Become aware of your whole body, as a single unit, and tell all muscles to relax, to drop all tension.

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Pay special attention to relaxing the shoulders, jaw, forehead, and eyes.

GLADDEN your mind by:

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Remembering something that you are grateful for;

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Remembering the joy of meditation;

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Feeling good that you are taking time to grow and heal;

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Telling yourself that all is safe and well in this moment.

AFFIRM your intention to be present, focused, and wholehearted in your meditation.

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Don’t meditate as if it’s just another task to check off your list. Sit with

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feeling of “reverence”, as if you are about to start the most

important activity of your day.

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You can use affirmations like this: “For the next 10 minutes I will only focus on my meditation. There is nothing else for me to do and nothing else for me to think about during this time. Mind, please don’t disturb me. I will start concentrating now.

Master Your Mind: An In-depth 5-Week Meditation Course (https://liveanddare.com/meditation-course) Copyrights © 2015 Giovanni Dienstmann. All Rights Reserved.

IV. AFTER MEDITATION (Integration)

Transitioning Out Of Meditation

Once the end bell rings, don’t jump off to your next task.

Instead, breathe in deeply. Wait a few seconds, and then slowly start moving out of your meditation.

Without hurry, gently move your fingers and neck, and then open your eyes. (This helps to carry along the experience of meditation to the rest of your day.)

Bringing Mindfulness To Daily Activities

Sitting for 10 to 20 minutes per day is great for you, on many levels. But if you are seeking deep transformation, growth, healing, or life enhancement, it will not be enough. You need to bring your meditation outside of your cushion.

One way to do that is to get reminded, multiple times a day, to have three deep mindful breaths (check out these tools to help you with that).

Another way is bringing a bit of the meditative state to certain repetitive tasks as you go through your day. For example:

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Walking

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Cleaning home

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Waiting on a queue

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Waiting for the elevator or for the traffic lights

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Eating

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Showering

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Driving

Start by making one of these activities more meditative. You can do this by breathing mindfully, or by keeping the mantra repetition in the back of your mind, and letting go of restlessness and haste.

With time, try to bring more mindfulness into the activities where you are least self-aware - like when having a heated discussion with your partner, or when consuming junk food or junk media.

Master Your Mind: An In-depth 5-Week Meditation Course (https://liveanddare.com/meditation-course) Copyrights © 2015 Giovanni Dienstmann. All Rights Reserved.

Making Your Life More Meditative Two other key habits for strengthening your meditation are:

Observing your mind during your daily activities. Be mindful of what thoughts you are choosing to feed, and what feelings and impulses you are choosing to follow.

Consuming less media, so that your mental energy is less dispersed, and you have less inputs to deal with. You can:

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Limit the types of media you consume. Ask yourself how the things you watch/read/listen to makes you feel, and cut out things that make you feel down. (Read more about it here.)

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Limit the amount of media you consume. Like setting rules of no screens after 10pm, no email before breakfast, or limiting social media to three quick times a day.

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Schedule a one day media detox per month.

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.” – Marcus Aurelius

Master Your Mind: An In-depth 5-Week Meditation Course (https://liveanddare.com/meditation-course) Copyrights © 2015 Giovanni Dienstmann. All Rights Reserved.