Sit comfortably with a straight back. Spend a few moments watching the natural flow of your breath.
Now begin to feel a deep appreciation and gratitude for the cushion or chair you are sitting on and for the building around you, appreciating the space they provide so you can meditate. Silently thank those who made the building and the work that was put into its construction.
Then extend that appreciation to the world around you: to this earth that sustains all life, for the tress, plants, animals, birds, the oceans and fish, the sun and the rain.
Now extend your gratitude to your body, appreciating how it cares for and nourishes you, how it is connected to the food you eat and the water you drink, how it is within this body that you experience love, joy and happiness.
Now bring your appreciation and gratitude to your breath. Become aware of the flow of your breath entering and leaving your body. Spend a few moments appreciating your breath and the life it brings you. Then take that appreciation with you into your day.
Ed and Deb Shapiro are the authors of Be the Change, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World. They are featured weekly contributors to Oprah.com, HuffingtonPost.com and Care2.com. Ed and Deb write Sprint's The Daily CHILLOUT inspirational text messages. They have three meditation CDs: Metta: Loving Kindness and Forgiveness, Samadhi: Breath Awareness and Insight and Yoga Nidra: Inner Conscious Relaxation. Deb is also the author of the best-selling book Your Body Speaks Your Mind, winner of the 2007 Visionary Book Award.
More from Ed and Deb Shapiro:
How meditation can calm your mind
Why meditation is the greatest gift you can give yourself
Is meditation your friend or your enemy?