Mind and body matters
For a long time, I meditated for about 15 minutes. I thought it was sort of the minimum one needs to do to get its benefits. But I also do yoga for my back before meditating, so the overall time was on the high side, in my view.
So I started looking for ways to get the effects of meditation more quickly without losing any of its goodness (see my series of essays on this at the end below). I tried several things and settled on this 3-minute technique which I must share with you. Please try it out and let me know if it works for you.
I assume you are sitting in a meditation pose with your eyes closed. You’re going to judge when a minute has passed; no timers. Trust me; you’ll soon become quite accurate.
1 Minute Plain Awareness
Listen to the sounds from near and far. Observe your breaths in and out. In your mind’s eye, visualise at this moment — yourself meditating in your room — friends and family doing their thing in their homes somewhere — people around the world sleeping, waking, and going about their business. See our planet from space spinning and going around the sun, a speck in the vast galaxy and universe.
Be aware of all existence without any analysis, purely as an observer. For just one minute.
1 Minute Mental Ritual
My ritual is to imagine a horizontal plane descending and ascending through my kneeling body. I start it from the top of my head and slide it down slowly and continuously, making a cross-section through my head, neck, torso, buttocks, thighs, knees, legs, ankles, feet and out my toes. Then I make it return the same way upwards and finally out the top of my head. I imagine the changing cross-section views of my body and organs or a glowing outline where the plane intersects the surface of my body. I try hard to keep my focus on the shifting intersection plane unbroken, which keeps any other thoughts from coming in. I repeat this up-and-down movement of the plane three times, which makes about a minute for this mental exercise.
You can make your own ritual, as long as it is slow and easy to repeat daily.
1 Minute Blankness
Gaze at the black blankness in your eyes. Don’t discern anything separately, think, or feel anything. Intently empty your mind. You’ll inevitably feel certain sensations. A tension, a strain behind your forehead, a feeling of disembodiment, an upward lift in the waves of your brain. Don’t fight them, don’t try to hold on to them. Let them come, stay or go. But fight to keep the blankness. Thoughts will start, but with practice, you’ll vaporise them before they form. Poof. Total control of your own mind.
Being able to achieve blankness is the height of free will, way above Plain Awareness and Controlled Ritual. A minute of it feels like an eternity.
How it works for us
3-Minute 3-Part meditation does this for our normal life.
- The first minute — plain awareness — calms the mind, gives it perspective and detachment, and recharges it.
- The second minute — mental ritual — builds steely concentration to complete chains of thought.
- The third minute — blankness — develops the ability to dismiss unwanted thoughts and emotions at will.
These three minutes a day can give us the best from our brains.
It’s the ability of the pre-frontal cortex. All hail and give the meditation floor to the PFC.
A minute is a long time! Sixty seconds of any of the three parts feel like a long time if we’re doing it right. Especially blankness. Pause reading and try to be blank for ten seconds now. Totally blank. Now tell me, how long did that seem like? So, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of true focus. It can work wonders in a shockingly short time.
You may take 5 minutes in the beginning to achieve a minute of each step. So overall, it may take around 15 minutes for you to be satisfied you did a proper minute of each. But it’ll come down over a few weeks or months. I do my 3 minutes in about 4–5 minutes now.
One big bonus is that we can do this almost anywhere and anytime we have five uninterrupted minutes. After all, what does it take to enter awareness, do our mental ritual, and be blank , for a minute each? Nothing except our mind and will.
Give yourself the gift of 3-Minute Meditation today. It’s a gift for life.
Read my other stories on meditation.