Meditation 1: Knowing Impermanence through the Senses

We'll start with a meditation led by Martine. You may be familiar with bringing your attention to the breath to settle the mind and heart. In this meditation, we're going to use that steadiness, that calm, as an anchor, a resting place from which we can observe the arising and passing of sensations—their transiency—without getting lost in them!

Meditation 1: Knowing Impermanence through the Senses

The posture

Find a comfortable posture. You may be sitting in your chair or on the floor. If you need to, you can lie down. Whatever suits your body. Gently, try to have the back relatively upright so that there's a feeling of elongation toward the sky.

Then we settle in the body. The shoulders are relaxed. The hands can be on the side, or in the traditional posture, or they can just be resting on each other.

Coming to the breath

Then you can gently rest your attention on the breath. With the breath, you can experience change in the sensation of air coming in a little cooler and coming out a little warmer. As we are aware of the breath, we are also aware of the changing nature of the breath.

Noticing physical sensations

As you sit here, you might experience a sensation, maybe a sensation in the belly, in the back, or on the face. Just be aware of that sensation and notice when it goes.

If the sensation is continuous, then go inside the sensation and notice that actually it changes within itself.

Noticing sounds

Now bring your attention to sounds. You hear sounds. How long does a sound last? Be aware of sounds arising and passing away. If a sound continues, go inside the sound and notice that it changes within itself.

Noticing taste

Now being aware of taste. You might have a taste in the mouth. Does it remain the same? Does it change? Does it disappear?

Noticing smells

Are you smelling something? If there is a smell, does it come and go? Does it remain the same? Does it change?

Noticing thoughts

Now, being aware of thoughts. What are you thinking? Is it something you've thought before?

If you come back to the breath, being aware of the breath, does the thought go? 

As you try to be aware of the breath now, does an image appear, or a memory, or a word? Can you let them pass by, coming back to the breath, being present to the thoughts without grasping at them?

Attending to the breath, noticing sensations come and go

Being aware of the breath coming and going: a little colder, a little warmer. The breath is changing, the breath is in a body, which is also changing. Sensations are coming and going. You're in an environment where sounds, smells, tastes are coming and going. Being aware of change. Being aware of the liveliness of this experience. Being present to change with brightness, with calm, with friendliness.

You can continue to practice if you wish, or you can stop here.