Breathing Meditation

A Simple Breathing Meditation

Watching the breath can teach us a lot about the mind, and develop a reflective clarity that we probably don't otherwise possess.

Contemporary mindfulness practice is the modern term for breathing meditation, and for cultivating greater clarity and presence during everyday activities.

A sharp mind is an essential instrument for contemplation.

Preparation

  • Choose a time and place where you will not be disturbed.
  • Set a timer and duration: 5-10 minutes is a good starting point. More does not necessarily equate with better, depending on your objectives.
  • Sit with a straight back and relaxed posture, in a chair or cross-legged on the floor - whatever is most comfortable, stable and relaxed.
  • You may close your eyes, or simply rest your gaze on the floor in front.
  • Take a few moments to reflect on your reasons for sitting, to set your intent.
  • Consider doing a short Relaxation Meditation prior to beginning the breathing meditation, to settle the mind-body.

Instructions

  • Bring your attention to your breathing. One of two places of focus is recommended: the air moving in-and-out of your nostrils, or the rise-and-fall of the lower abdomen.
  • Rest with wakeful attention upon the breath.
  • When the attention shifts to a thought, sense perception or anything other than the breathing, return to the breath without judgement. If there is judgement, return to the breath without judgement of the judgement!

Finishing

  • Be gentle when you arise from meditation.
  • See if you can observe your thoughts and sense perceptions in this way in your daily activities.
  • Reflect on your experience. What did you notice about the mind? What did you notice about your behaviour? What was interesting during this sitting - was anything interesting? Was there boredom, discomfort, agitation? Were you relaxed? Did it differ from your previous meditation? Where were you whilst you were observing all this?
  • When you sit again, try variations in your concentration or intensity. Observe the difference (if any) it has on your experience of meditation. Is there a tendency to fall asleep, or become agitated?

Guided Meditations

There are guided audio meditations available on the Internet. You can listen to these on your computer, phone or audio player. Using a guided meditation can help you when you are new to meditation.

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