Breathing Meditation

The technique of breathing meditation is very simple: As you inhale, know that you're breathing in. As you exhale, know that you're breathing out. As you rest in the awareness of your breathing, mindfully experience the moment-to-moment flow of sensations as the breath flows in and out of your nostrils, or as your abdomen naturallyrises and falls.

p>The more effortlessly and naturally you ride the waves of your breath, the more effective this technique will be. This exercise is not intended to control or change your breath in any way. It isn't about breathing deeper or slower or trying to manipulate the breath at all, as in some yoga or deep breathing exercises.

In fact, strictly speaking, it isn't even an "exercise" but a simple focusing of awareness into what is already going on naturally by itself.

In essence, we let go of trying to control and allow the power of awareness to do the balancing work by itself. Simply relax into your breath, feeling it just as it is. About 21,600 times a day, you have the opportunity to catch the wave of your breath: mindfully inhaling ... mindfully exhaling ... with a gentle smile and full awareness.

Mindful breathing accomplishes one of the greatest miracles of life -- it brings your mind and body into sync with each other and into clear focus so that your body¬mind-spirit can work together with balanced presence. Since mental functioning and quality of consciousness are so closely related to the way you're breathing, practicing breathing meditation can have a focusing, calming, and vitalizing effect for your whole mind and body.

As a technique for balancing energy, focusing on the rising and falling movement of your abdomen is especially effective. Follow your breath and simply notice the natural rising and falling sensations of the movement itself. In this way, breathing meditation can become a centering pulse of focusing and flowing attention, creating a wave of awareness that you can ride to help steady yourself through every activity of your life.

With breathing meditation as your home base, you can focus your attention and direct it to observe anything or to perform any action with greater presence and equipoise. Each breath focusing ... and flowing. Focusing... and flowing...

[Adapted from the book "Luminous Mind" by Joel & Michelle Levey]

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