10-Minute Meditation Guide (If We’re Being Realistic)


Today, you’ll be doing a 10-minute body awareness meditation. By the end of your session, you should:

  • Be able to notice your body.
  • Have a completely empty mind.
  • Have prepared a casual flex (to be shared with family and friends) about how you meditated this morning.

To meditate, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Find a cushion. Which is to say, remove an expensive cushion from your couch and place it on the floor.
  2. Tell any disapproving family members that this is a necessary evil*.

*Due to the possibility of pinkeye, avoid pillows if possible.

3. Once you’re seated on your cushion, cross your legs into a lotus pose. You don’t have to do this, but yes you do.

4. Set your timer for 10 minutes. (This probably should’ve been step one. Get off your cushion and go find your iPhone*.)

*Who are we kidding? You’ve been on Instagram this whole time!

5. Close your eyes.

6. Take a deep breath in through your nose, out through your mouth.

7. As you breathe, start to notice your thoughts. Let each thought drift by like a cloud.

8. Understand: thoughts will come. That is how the brain works. The goal of meditation is not to have no thoughts*.

*Also understand: You won’t actually believe this—or any advice you’re given about meditation—until you’ve been meditating for at least 5 years.

9. Keep noticing your thoughts. David from work? Again? Why does he always pop into my mind?

10. Keep noticing David from work.

11. Next, notice your reaction to what you’re noticing; this is called an attachment. David from work is… a real asshole. You know this now, thanks to meditation.

12. Like a cloud, let David, what you noticed about David, and your reaction to what you noticed about David, drift by.

13. Take another deep breath in through your nose, out through your mouth.

12. Once you start getting frustrated that thoughts keep coming — and you will — open your eyes and check your timer.

13. At this point, there will be 9 minutes and 22 seconds remaining.

14. Notice your reaction to this. That was only 38 seconds? I thought I was almost done!*

*You might think this stops happening as your meditation improves, but it does not.

15. Take a deep breath in; through your mouth this time. Preferably, one of frustration. Cough loudly.

16. Soon, cortisol* will start flooding through your body.

**Cortisol is the stress hormone associated with the “fight-or-flight” response. Our ancestors used it to run from lions; we use it to gauge potential road rage situations.

17. Settle back in. Continue letting thoughts drift by like clouds. Clouds. Think about clouds. What type of clouds can I name? Stratus? I think that’s one. Hmm. Nimbus, maybe? Why does Nimbus remind me of Harry Potter?

18. Catch yourself thinking about clouds. Notice your reaction to this.

19. Think: There’s no way I’m doing this right. This is perfectly normal. Let that, too, drift by.

20. Recall a YouTube video on meditation you watched two years ago. Remember how the instructor advised you to focus your breath on one part of your body, like your nostrils or belly.

21. In the middle of your session, decide to nix whatever the hell you were just doing in favor of this form of meditation.

22. Decide where you’ll feel the breath: Nostrils or belly?*

*I suggest you pick your nostrils**z Speaking from experience, focusing on your belly is a good way to notice things you don’t want to notice about yours.

**But not your nose. Ha!

23. Take short breaths in. Feel the air pass through your nostrils. Notice how your breath shortens, how you start to relax.

24. Continue to relax. Allow your breath to continue to shorten.

25. Due to a lack of oxygen, you will, soon, panic. The resulting sharp inhale will interrupt everything*.

*At this point, the cortisol will return.

26. Open your eyes. Check your timer.

26. At this point, there should be 8 minutes and 47 seconds remaining.

27. Think: How is that even possible?

28. Think: Maybe I’m just not good at meditating.

29. Close your eyes and take a deep breath.

30. Halfway through that breath, decide that meditation is dumb, that people who meditate are stupid, and that it “doesn’t work for you”.

31. Open your eyes. From a lotus pose, check Instagram.

33. After what will feel like 30 seconds of scrolling, the timer you forgot to cancel will beep.

34. Pretend that doesn’t bother you.

35. Return your cushion to the couch, but be sure to put it back only halfway. This will upset members of your household to no end.

36. As you walk into the kitchen to make coffee, think: Harry’s broom! That’s where I know Nimbus from!

37. To conclude your session, delete the Headspace app from your phone. You won’t be needing it.

Congrats! You’ve completed meditation. You’re now ready to start the day.

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