Varuni Sinha

Welcome to a short guided meditation. A simple way to start your day with a tiny dose of progressive relaxation. Let’s begin. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. With every breath, I will give you a step. Climb each one at a time. The sound of air folded into a rhyme.

Breathe in, breathe out. Now shut your eyes, wash it all out. Shut your eyes, let it all out. Shut your eyes, breathe it all out. Focus in on how your lungs expand. Focus in on how your lungs contract. Don’t just focus—feel. Feel, how your lungs release the oxygen inside. Moving from one chamber to another. As you shut out anything, everything outside.

But not everything. Do you hear that ring? Do you hear the relentless backlash of the world you are trying to leave trying to break in? Don’t be caught off-guard. Simply trust the flow. Breathe in, breathe out. If any sounds distract you—do not resist. Let them flow gently into the background. Notice these sounds like a saint upon a mountaintop. A dispassionate receptacle, never too attached. All you’re doing is giving your restless monkey brain a banana to peel. One banana at a time.

With the next breath let’s do a quick body scan. As though you’re a doctor examining the human body with a stethoscope. Feel the throbbing in the head as you do so. The throbbing in the heart, the throbbing in the stomach, the throbbing in the root, the throbbing that binds you and me, and everyone in this world. Breathe in, breathe out.

With the next breath bring your attention to where you feel the circulation. Is it in your chest, on your shoulders, inside your belly? If you don’t feel anything at all—place your hands on your belly. Feel how it moves. Expanding and contracting. Expanding and contracting. The belly is the world inside which you breathed for the first time. Crawl inside of it like you are a newborn child, learning the ropes of this new sensation, pulsation, vibration, duration.

Now count. Yes, count like a child. One, Two, Three! All the way to “ten.” Breathe in is “one, ” breathe out is “two.” Just like that, all the way to ten. Let’s begin. Breathe in, breathe out. Get closer to each breath now. Taking in the essence of a flower. Moments before it mixes in the air. Or tracing the circulation of the tiniest molecule of wine. Ready to slide down your throat. Into the esophagus, into the stomach, into you.

Each breath has depth. Some touch and go. Others sink deeper in. Feel how far they go. Try to map their quality inside your mind’s eye. Not just any eye, the eye between your eyes. Now for a minute, do nothing. You heard me right—do nothing. Let your mind do whatever it wants to do. Let it wander, let it think, let it feel, let it reel. Just sit back and observe it, like it is a Sunday matinee. And you are in the audience eating popcorn. Eat your popcorn but do not intervene.

For a few moments now, let your mind do whatever it wants to do. Do not be afraid. ’Cause this exercise at the very core is about facing your fears. If that doesn’t work—imagine a fall—a trust fall. You are falling inside of you: just that you’ve got your own back all along. Then at the count of three bring it all in. One, two, three! Bring all your attention to the sounds in the background. The places where your feet touch the floor. The smell, perhaps, of the air around you. Or the taste of something, whatever it is, inside your mouth. We are coming back now. Into the physical world. Open your eyes slowly when I tell you, while breathing it all in.