Photo: Ronan Temple Lang
The goal of this 30-day course is to help you find a deep sense of peacefulness in just a moment—anywhere, anytime. The first exercise, however, takes a full minute.
The reason to start with a minute, rather than a moment, is that a moment goes by so quickly you'd have to be a master just to notice one. A minute, however, is like a moment with handles on it. You know where it begins and ends, so it's easier to grasp.
As the course progresses, you will learn how to make the Basic Minute more flexible and practical, with exercises like the Portable Minute, the Emergency Minute, the Bonus Minute and the Surprise Minute.
I'll also share with you some of the spiritual philosophy behind these exercises, showing you why it really is possible to meditate quickly and how miraculous a moment can be. You'll gradually learn how to reduce the length of the Basic Minute, one breath at a time, until you can get the same sense of peace—that once took you a whole minute—in less and less time, until you can do it in just a moment. With a moment of meditation, you can experience peacefulness wherever you are—and stillness even when you're on the go. But for now, you'll start with a minute.
The only equipment you will need for the Basic Minute is a timer. A kitchen timer is ideal, but you can also use your phone or you can download a free desktop timer online. You may think it's silly to use a timer for just one minute, but for this exercise, it's essential. A timer helps you take this exercise seriously, and it also helps you to forget about time—while also ensuring that you don't drift off.
Try to do the Basic Minute in the same place and at the same time each day. But if that's not possible, don't worry about it. Just do it at least once a day.
You can certainly do the Basic Minute several times a day, but please never do it for longer than a minute. The Basic Minute is supposed to teach you how to find a deep experience of peacefulness in a very short amount of time and to convince you that it really is possible to meditate quickly. So if you do it for longer than a minute, you're cheating. (If you're experienced at meditating, I'm sure you will find the Basic Minute valuable too. But please don't tack it onto any of the other minutes of meditation you do. Treat it as a separate thing, complete and perfect in itself.)
Of course, I don't expect you to eliminate all your stress in this first minute. More likely, you will experience a small, subtle change in your state of mind, a little shift toward peacefulness, a tiny gap in your mental chatter. You might not even notice it at first, but afterward you might notice that you feel slightly refreshed. If you keep practicing the Basic Minute, your experience will definitely deepen and you will become more aware of what is happening in it.
Please be patient. You are going to stick with this same exercise every day for this first week, because it's so important that you feel truly comfortable with it before moving on. Each day this week, I'll expand on these basic instructions, answer your questions and help you understand the Basic Minute more deeply.
Time to get started! Get the instructions for the Basic Minute