Ashley’s Simple Meditation Ritual

Meditation is simply a tool for connecting with your true self and does not have to be a rigid practice for you to benefit. Learning to focus your attention is rigorous work and you have to be ready to listen to your intuition. Posture and breath are important building blocks to assist you in disciplining the mind, but don’t let them discourage you at the outset. Once you learn to focus your mind, meditation can be done while preparing a meal, doing the dishes or walking the dog.

Begin your meditation practice by keeping it simple. All you have to do is be present. Sit still and be aware of your breath. Breathe and let go. In and out. The involuntary rhythm of breathing acts like a metronome with which to focus our attention. Just feel the breath coming in and going out.

Next, be an observer. Don’t try to think or feel anything. Most important, don’t try to achieve results. The beauty of meditation is that it is the one place in our lives where we can allow ourselves not to have an outcome. Just fully experience the moment. You can only do that by simply being present and observing what comes up inside of you.

When you begin a meditation, the process can feel like a press conference. Thoughts and feelings come rushing forward for attention. Acknowledge them and try to let go. The mind is used to jumping from one idea to the next; it is humbling to realize how scattered and fragmented one’s mind is most of the time. If you can wait it out long enough for the mind to settle down, gradually you will develop increased periods of awareness. Finally, a calm emerges and you can relax in just being present, nothing more, and fully savor the moment. Crossing this gateway empowers you to reconnect with your inner resources of creativity and intuition, transforming your outer world in healthy and compassionate ways.

There is no right way to meditate. Try to set aside thirty minutes a day for your practice. This is usually enough time to get through your random thoughts and ease into stillness. But certainly, twenty minutes or ten or five will reward you. If you cannot sit erect like a mountain, then use pillows or lie down and get comfortable. The most important thing is that you try the best of your intention. Feel good about your endeavor and feel the pulse of each and every moment.


Sometimes the best antidote to our worries is simply to live from one breath to the next. The breath acts as a metronome to center the mind in its stream of incessant thoughts. As your chest swells and your thoracic cage enlarges, oxygen rushes in to nourish the body. At the height of the inhalation, there is a brief pause—stillness—followed by a gush of air leaving the body. The lungs not only exhale carbon dioxide but also release accumulated tension and stress.

Close your eyes and focus on one of your favorite images: a tree you love, a garden path, a deserted beach.

Begin your inhalation by extending the diaphragm downwards and breathe in slowly counting to ten.
Hold the breath for one count at the peak of the inhalation.
Slowly begin the downward slide of the exhalation, repeating the count of ten.
Wait for a beat and begin again.
Repeat the cycle 5 times.