Take another deep breath and, as you let it out, feel that you are breathing out all tension and anxiety so that you become freer and lighter. Enjoy these moments, when you can heal and nurture yourself.
INNER LESSONS: Focusing on your breath can help to bring insights about the essential flux of all things, from the tides of the oceans to the seasons and the natural cycles of life and death.
It is often thought that, in order to meditate, you have to make your mind go blank. This is almost impossible to achieve and, in fact, it is not necessary to try. It is far easier and more effective to give your mind something on which to focus. There are numberous techniques for doing this, some of which will be described later. A very good exercise to start with involves the use of breath.
USING THE BREATH TO STILL THE MIND
- Close your eyes and do the progressive relaxation exercise described in the previous post. Then let the breath fall into its natural rhythm.
- Do not attempt to control it: merely observe. Be conscious of the air entering and leaving your nostrils. Note the rise and fall of your ribcage.
- Focus on nothings but the breath. When other thoughts intrude, dismiss them gently without haste and return your attention to the breath.
- After a while you will notice that something strange happens. You have the sensation that, rather than breathing, you are "being breathed."
Mindfulness of breathing, as breathing meditation is sometimes known, is one of the oldest, simplest, and perhaps most effective forms of meditation. It is meditation in its most essential form. It guides us toward giving our minds totally to the act of listening. Not to the sounds around us, but to the underlying meaning behind all existence. In this open state, the meditator is receptive to enlightenment.
If you have difficulty with this process on your own you can pick up a YOGA CD that walks you through meditation. After several sessions you will be able to do this on your own.