There are many meditation techniques, but few that I’ve come across that are as helpful as this one, which is my morning meditation and it only takes 4-minutes to complete.
This morning meditation is best done outside, but can be done indoors. There are four positions and you only need to spend about one minute in each position.
This first audio clip offers preliminary instructions.
This second audio clip guides you through the Four Directions Meditation
Start by facing toward the south. Look straight ahead and think of the south—the source of heat—as representing the caldron of life, the chao, commotion and uncertainty. Just notice all that is—birth and death, opportunity and tragedy, good fortune and lost chances. It is all out there.
Notice the energy of chaos, commotion and uncertainty in your head, and then notice where you feel this in your body.
Turn a quarter turn to face the east and think of the east as representing the new day. The sun rises, a new dawn, a new beginning. Many things—especially human interactions—that we did not handle as well as we would have liked, we can redo. We can create new beginnings for ourselves, every day, every time we speak.
Rock from one foot to the other and notice the weight of your legs as gravity pulls you toward the ground. Feel your feet on the ground. Drop your shoulders. Notice the weight of your arms hanging from your shoulders. Relax your neck and begin to notice the weight of your head.
Close your eyes
Notice the warmth of the sun, the coolness of any breeze
Notice any sounds that come your way
Notice any smells and taste in the air
Open your eyes and notice color and light and shadow and movements
Turn a quarter turn to face the north and think of the north as representing certainty. The North Star is consistently in the same place and can be used to help us find our bearings. Facing the north, think about what you are certain of. What do you know to be true in your life? Think of people who you know you love. Think of those things you most deeply value.
Recall a time, a reference point, when you were most centered and calm. Perhaps this was in nature. Find that center in you now.
Turn a quarter turn to face the west and think of the west as representing the setting sun, and think of the people you know who have gone before you. They may still be alive or they may be deceased. When you think about them, become aware of the wisdom that you gained from their presence in your lives. That’s not to say they were necessarily wise; the question is, “what have you learned from them?”
Bring these lessons into you now and acknowledge this wisdom as your own.
Turn back to the south, the position in which you started. Take a minute to acknowledge the possibilities of life, realizing that today is a new beginning, considering what it is that you most value and know to be true for yourself, and remembering the lessons you have learned. Consider all of this while looking to the south.
Feel yourself grounded, strong, and calm.
Align Intentions and Actions
When you feel complete, if you choose, clasp your hands together in front of your chest, in the prayer position. This position, to me, is a simple representation in which one hand represents my intentions and my other hand represents my actions. I am bringing both hands together as a gesture to align my actions with my intentions.
There are several meditation techniques, but this one in particular helps us work with the uncertainty of life, start fresh each day, acknowledge what matters most to us, and learn from those who have gone before us. Very few meditation techniques provide this kind of holistic perspective of mind and body—and in only four minutes. I find this meditation to be a consistently helpful morning meditation, but also useful to do at night, under the stars, using the North Star to guide me.
South — Chaos / Uncertaintly
East — New beginnings
North — Knowing what you value
West — Wisdom gained from those who have gone before you