Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Leader Resource 1: Beauty Meditation

  • Arrange the room so participants can sit comfortably in a private space.
  • Before you start the meditation, set a timer for ten minutes. Otherwise, keep an eye on a nearby clock.
  • Throughout the meditation, speak with a clear, soft voice. Alternate your spoken instructions with periods of silence, which meditation requires.
  • Gather the group in a circle. Tell everyone to sit in a comfortable, yet alert position. Explain that staying alert is an important part of meditation and prevents meditators from falling asleep!
  • Invite participants to close their eyes and rest their hands on their thighs or fold them on their laps.
  • Guide participants to notice the sound and feeling of their own breathing. Count slowly for the group, "In, two, three, four... . Out, two, three, four." Explain that the breath is the "home base" to which everyone can return when his/her mind drifts off in thought during the meditation.
  • Instruct participants to direct their breath into each part of the body, in turn, until the body is fully relaxed. Begin at the top of the head, then guide participants' attention to the face and its muscles, the shoulders, the arms, the hands, the fingers, the belly, the sacrum (the small of the back), the thighs, the shins, and finally the feet and toes.
  • Invite participants to observe their own thoughts by letting each thought go, "seeing" it pass by as a leaf would float by on a river. Invite participants to just notice. Just breathe. Just witness.
  • Tell participants that meditation offers an ideal time to experience one's own awareness. Invite participants to notice, one sense at a time, what they
    • hear
    • smell
    • see in their mind's eye
    • feel inside their body: sleepiness or wakefulness; congestion or clear breathing; aching in their extremities, back, or knees; the rise and fall of their shoulders or belly as they breathe; hot or cold
    • feel outside their body: their clothing; the surface they sit upon; the temperature of the air
  • Encourage participants to focus on their bodily experience, not on what is happening in the room.
  • Sit in silence for at least five minutes. Occasionally remind participants to return to their breath.
  • When time is up, gently invite participants back to open-eyed awareness.