Meditation: What is it?
Part Two: Breath
May all be well in your world.
In the Part One, I shared the following metaphor about our mind.
“Imagine a glass of pure water (absolute nature). Add some dirt (thoughts) and stir. As the swirls, what is the state of the water?
Cloudy and dirty.
As the water slows and settles, what happens? The pure, clear, and innate nature of the water returns effortlessly - so to our minds through meditation.”
This being the case, the question then arises, what meditation techniques assist us in encouraging our “dirt” to settle?
There are several methods I will share in forthcoming blogs. Today, I would like to start with the most “anytime, anywhere” technique – awareness of breath.
Breath is fundamental to our existence. We can go a week without water and a month without food before death ensues. Our breath? At about four (4) minutes, its’ primacy is clear. On the wave of breath, the surrounding life force feeds each and every cell in our body.
Training in the mindfulness of breath best begins in a quiet, peaceful, and uninterrupted location – phones down and tv off.
Later, as our mindfulness of breath becomes a new and healthy habit, we can practice in the noisiest, most crowded of situations. For starters, though, I encourage you to find create a tranquil place for training.
As you sit quietly, feeling relaxed and open, give attention to your breath; you will see it has four (4) phases. They are:
2. a switching point;
3. exhalation, and;
4. a switching point back to inhalation.
Inhaling through the nose, become aware of the coolness that ensues as air passes from the sinuses, to the throat, to the lungs, to the blood and then to every cell in the body.
With the tip of your tongue placed gently behind your top row of teeth, note the switch as inhalation capacity is reached and exhalation begins through the mouth. Follow it from your toes to your nose.
Train in this simple technique until you gain a sense of this innate process. Then, when comfortable with this new found mindfulness of breath, add a count.
First, allow your inhalation to arise effortlessly and circulate inwards. Mind simply is - open, free of thoughts, non-focused and nakedly aware.
Then, as the exhalation begins, bring focus to the word ONE. Gently allow the word ONE to escape your lips. Focus on the word ONE and rest entirely, and one-pointedly, on it as the sound of ONE rides the wave of your out-breath to the switch.
Then, allow the inhalation to arise effortlessly as your mind floats free of thoughts. Your relative mind expands in a state of open awareness.
As the switch to exhalation occurs, focus on the word TWO. Feel it resonate in your body until the next switch.
Again allow inhalation to occur without your conscious awareness, uttering THREE as the exhalation transpires.
Keep repeating this cycle linking mindfulness with breath. And, count.
Seek to do this training, from 1-10, without the interruption of even a single thought (other than your mindfulness of the out-breath count). Once comfortable with this training, here is a fine challenge to accept.
Every time you recognize a thought interrupting your count, return to ONE and start again. While sounding simple, you may find it otherwise.
Throughout this training, I encourage you to be kind to yourself and welcome any frustrations that may manifest. Allow yourself the space to train free from negative judgments and mental chatter. Simply put - relax. It is all good.
‘Til next time, be happy.