We all have within us the ability to experience joy, if only we remember to look for it. The meditation below is one of my favorite tools for clients experiencing anxiety or depression. I recommend keeping a journal nearby, so you can write down thoughts, ideas, and commitments to yourself when you finish.
- Sit comfortably, with your spine erect and the crown of your head floating up toward the ceiling. Sitting either in a chair or on the floor is fine, as long as you are physically comfortable.
- Allow your eyes to close, or if this is too challenging, keep your eyes at “half mast” gazing quietly at a place below and in front of you.
- Notice your breath—without intentionally trying to change it. First notice the warmth and coolness of the breath as it enters your nostrils. Notice the movement of your rib cage and belly. How does your spine move with each breath? What other sensations can you feel?
- After you feel comfortable and relaxed, ask yourself the following question:
- What brings me joy?
- Don’t try to audit or evaluate the answers that come to you. You may hear words, see images, feel sensations, or experience emotions. Allow whatever you experience to float across your consciousness.
- After a few minutes, change the question to:
- How can I invite more joy into my life?
- Again, there is no “right” response. Sit quietly with whatever comes to your attention.
- If your attention wanders at any time during the meditation (and it will!) simply notice it, then invite your attention back to the sensation of the breath. When you feel ready, ask yourself the question again.
- Continue this meditation for 10 – 15 minutes. Note any thoughts, ideas, or personal commitments in your practice journal.