Guided meditation for high school students

– [Instructor] Welcome, and
thanks for joining me on this, let’s call it a voyage of the mind. So before we begin, posture and breathing make a big difference in meditation. So if you’re not already
on a nice firm chair with your back straight,
pause this recording and go find a nice firm chair
with your back straight, ideally in a place that’s
kind of quiet and peaceful. So now that you’re there,
sit with your back straight, try to put your feet firmly on the floor. When I do this, I like to
rest my hands on my lap, palms up gently curled,
so really no effort. And now start to slowly
breathe a bit deeper than you were just now and a bit slower. In and out, at your own time
but just a little bit deeper, a little bit slower. If you like, a lot of
folks like to breathe in through their nose, out through their mouth, but the key, once again,
a little bit deeper, a little bit slower. And as you do so, start
to soften your gaze if your eyes are still open, and when you feel comfortable,
gently close your eyes. Now, before we get into the
heart of the meditation, I’m going to give you a few reminders. This whole exercise is about
exploring your inner being. It’s about curiosity. It’s about relaxation. There’s no perfect way to meditate. Sometimes folks think that
they’re not doing it right or their mind is wandering too much. And then it causes stress. And that’s the exact opposite of what you want meditation to be. It should be fun, it could
even be funny at moments. You should be curious. You should be enjoying it. If there are some random distractions, and there inevitably will be, it could be sounds around you, it might be part of your
body that itches or tingles. Don’t let it stress you
out, just accept it. It’s part of the universe. It’s just atoms doing what they do. It’s the universe doing its thing. And no worries if you need to scratch or adjust part of your
body, no reason to stress. Now to add to the idea that this shouldn’t be
a stressful experience, I’m going to ask you to do something that may or may not
feel completely natural. I want you to smile right now. Give yourself a good smile with your eyes closed, just smile. Obviously, we smile when we’re happy. But sometimes, making a smile can actually make us a little bit happier. It can make us a little bit less stressed. So even if you need to force it, smile. And as much as possible, as
we go through this meditation, as long as you don’t have
to force it too much, try to keep a gentle smile
on your face the whole time. All right, now let’s get into it. So, one thing to keep in mind as we start trying to still our minds, is to just appreciate that you’re alive. You’re in this vast mystery we call life and that you’re taking pause to appreciate who you really are. And the beauty of this mystery, this existence, this
universe that we share. So as you breathe deeper and
slower, your eyes are closed. Try to become aware of your thoughts. What are you thinking about? Are they random thoughts,
something you saw on TV? Is it something going on at school? Are you thinking about some
tests you might have coming up? Or someone at your school,
you tend to think about a lot? Just observe your thoughts. Don’t try to fight
them, just observe them. And as you observe your thoughts, start to appreciate that
you are not your thoughts. You are something different
than your thoughts. They’re all in there
in your head with you. But clearly, you can observe them. You can see them go by. Sometimes we can get lost in them. But I think you’re seeing right now that you are not your thoughts, you can actually observe your thoughts. One metaphor that folks sometimes use is that your thoughts are cars on a road or cars on a highway. And oftentimes, we’re in
the middle of the highway and those cars are bombarding us. They’re hitting us, or we
have to dodge them in some way or they’re overwhelming us. And one thing to do to observe them is just get out of the highway. You don’t have to fight the thoughts, those cars will keep on going by. But now that you’re on the median, you’re no longer on the
highway, you can see them go by. And what you’ll often find is when you’re observing your thoughts, they start to slow down. And so if your thoughts
start to slow down, great, really embrace that, start to
realize what that feels like when your thoughts slow down. And then there’s even going to be moments when you have no thoughts. For the next few breaths, try that. Try to have no thoughts. Just breathe in, breathe out. No thoughts. Just stillness. Just your consciousness
here in this universe. No time, no space, it’s all in your mind. No thoughts, stillness. Now as you try to keep that state, your mind will inevitably wander. You’re going to start
thinking about an assignment that you have due soon, you’re going to think about something that you have to do this weekend or someone that you think
a lot about, that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up,
if your mind wanders, just remind yourself,
just gently nudge it back. Try to get back to the stillness. Say, oh, look, I got a
little bit distracted, I started thinking about something. That’s funny. I’m going to get my mind
back to the stillness. I’m going to try to slow down those cars. And so gently breathe in and breathe out. And I’m going to give you a few minutes to just sit there, still. Breathing in, breathing out. Being still with your thoughts. If your mind wanders, no big deal. Just try to nudge it back when you can. And if the silence starts
to get to you a little bit, don’t worry, I will be back
for sure in a few minutes. Now that you’ve had a little
bit of time on your own, I’m going to give you some ideas that just might help
appreciate who you really are. A lot of times we get
caught up in the day to day, we start worrying about test scores or things we have due or
what people think about us. But remind yourself that you are not that. You are not defined by your test scores. You are not defined by your grades. And you are not defined by
what people think of you. You are pure consciousness. You associate yourself with
your body with your thoughts. But they’re part of you, they aren’t you. You’re something deeper and
you’re something far larger. Like the whole universe, if
you really think about it, it’s a construction of your mind. Your mind has set up the
simulation for you to enjoy. In theory, there’s a universe out there, sound waves stimulating your ear. Photons stimulate your eye, air particles bouncing into your skin. But from that input, your mind creates the
reality that you’re in. When you realize that, that everything you see is a construct. It’s a construct of your mind to make sense of all of that information. You realize that you’re a lot more central than you might have appreciated before. And you also realize that the things that you
might have been thinking about things at school, what
people think of you, your test scores, those are nice, you should try to do what you can. But they don’t define who you are. They don’t define your reality. Think about how vast the universe is, not just vast in space, but vast in time. Let put some of our
problems in perspective. 100 years from now, 1,000 years from now, will these problems really
be that significant? When you think about where
you are, on this planet, part of the cosmos, are these issues really that significant? So I’ll give you a few more moments to just think about those ideas, to just think about the
vastness of the universe and what a privilege it is to
be able to participate in it, to see the beauty of it. And how small some of the things that we often define
ourselves by really are. And so now when you get a chance gently with your eyes closed, start to feel and hear the
room around you a little bit, get a little bit more
in touch with your body. And when you’re ready, open your eyes. And take these ideas, take that stillness with you
through the rest of your day. And you should thank yourself for taking the time out
for doing this today. And I encourage you to make it a practice. Some of you might be skeptical, what would a few minute
meditation do for me? But I can guarantee you if
you do it day in day out, if you make a practice
of it, do it regularly. Over a few weeks, a few months, you’re going to notice some changes. You’re going to see yourself
be more open to experience, you’re going to see more
beauty in more things. You’re going to just
have a positive energy that people are going
to want to connect with, that people are going to be drawn to. And you’ll also see
that you’re doing better at some of those things
we talked about before, because you’re not stressed
about them anymore. You’re enjoying them. You’re doing what you can, but you’re not attached to the outcome. You do your best, wherever
the chips fall, that’s okay. If things don’t turn out the
way you want it, that’s okay. You just accept where things are. And then you decide what
other actions can you take. Assemble your actions piece by piece, so that you can get to another outcome. But once again, if the outcome
is what you want, awesome, if it isn’t, accept it
and move on from there. So I’ll leave you in this meditation. Thank you for joining. And once again, thanks for
taking time out for yourself.

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