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What is meditation?

“Meditation” has been defined simply as “controlled thinking.” It began millennia ago as a means to tap into the mysteries of Creation and the limits of the human heart and mind. It is still used in spiritual practice for these purposes.

In recent year we have uncovered many other benefits of meditation. These include stress/anxiety reduction, lessening of both emotional and physical pain, sleep improvement and increased self-awareness.

For us, meditation can serve as a way to “center” ourselves before ministering to patients and families, as well as a means to provide the above benefits to our patients.

Before we use this practice we should be aware of our comfort level with it and our patient’s likely receptivity to this therapy. We should keep it as simple and brief as possible, taking into account the recipient’s ability to breathe, sit or lie still, relax, etc. Assuring them that the way they are most comfortably able to do this is the most acceptable.

Meditation on Breath

This simple guided meditation can be used for relaxation, anxiety control, pain control and other conditions as needed by the guide. It can also be used by the clinician to center, calm and prepare for patient interactions.


Just settle in to wherever you are seated/lying down. Allow your weight to be held gently by the bed/chair/etc. If you wish you may close your eyes. Allow your breathing to just be natural and as comfortable as possible. The way you are breathing is just fine. Be comfortable. Notice any areas of your body where there is pain, discomfort, tension, etc., and just allow these to be as they are without dwelling on them. Let us stay in this quiet calmness and peace for a moment.

(1 – 5 minutes)

(If appropriate) Now breathe a little deeper, relax a little deeper. Take a big, comfortable breath, hold for a moment, and breathe out slowly.

(Have them repeat this two or three times)

Focus on your breath. (If possible)

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. (If patient has any difficulty, just assure them that the way they are able to breathe comfortably is the best way for them.)

We are just going to dwell in this quiet and comfort for a little while. (After a minute or two, you can have them repeat the breaths.)

OPTION: If dealing with pain or anxiety:

  • Where is that pain/anxiety in your body?
  • Can you visualize it?
  • What color is it?
  • How big is it?
  • What shape is it?

As you breathe in imagine white light coming to that area, surrounding and entering the problem. Exhale, and imagine the pain/anxiety is breathed out and vanishes.

(Judge how long you should do this. It’s usually not additionally beneficial to do this more than one-half hour.)

To complete:

Let your breathing return to normal, focusing awareness on your body sitting/lying down. Move your fingers, other parts of body, and (if appropriate) open your eyes.

(Assess for effectiveness of this practice)

Meditation Websites/Apps