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  1. 1. Mindfulness Mindfulness of Breathing A Meditation on The Breath Developing Concentration Introduction Mind Your Mind Meditation Mindfulness of Breathing Place Posture Relax The Technique Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Battle With the Body Battle With the Mind Levels of Concentration Conclusion Footnotes
  2. 2. IntroductionWe all like the illusion that were in control of our own minds. To have to admit otherwise would seem a great failure. The tPause for a moment and observe your mind. How long is it before the internal dialogue starts up, and your mind starts chaThis mental chatter is a state of distractedness. The mind drifts along on the winds of its whims. It makes it hard to conceMeditation is a practice that can reveal the extent of the problem, and offers a solution.Mind Your MindDo you recognize the feeling of being totally absorbed in something ? Youre so wrapped up in it that you are barely awaprogramming (or whatever) and realise that several hours have passed without you even noticing it.This is one of the most effective states of mind to be in. When you focus on one thing, you can completely push distractiA state of unfocussed distraction prevents your mind from functioning properly. Most of what happens in the soul goesdimly aware of. Naturally we block these things and push them back as they rise up. This leads to nervous tension and thwork freely - and naturally bring things to a resolution.MeditationThe sort of meditation Im talking about is a breathing exercise called Mindfulness of Breathing. It is practising and develto experience the working of your mind - particularly what goes on beneath the surface.I learned the techniques described here with the FWBO, but they are independent of religious beliefs. It is a breathing anpoint of concentration frees up mental processes and will feed into every aspect of your normal life [2].Anyway enough of the preliminaries and onto what this meditation actually is.Mindfulness of BreathingThe point of this meditation is to be aware (mindful) of your breath - the air coming into the body. This is neither as easyMeditation can be incredibly relaxing - but its not about relaxation. Nor is it about emptying your mind as some peopleabout the breath.Mindulness is not a forced concentration - but holding an awareness of something in your mind. You will be able to applPlaceThe first thing to address is the place you will do it, and your physical position. The meditation can take 20 minutes or 40PostureYour posture doesnt matter too much - any position in which you can remain comfortable. Many meditation manuals rebecause meditating can easily send you to sleep [4] .You might want a clock easily visible from your position, so you can tell how long youve been with minimum of disruptioRelax
  3. 3. Before starting I usually do a relaxation exercise. This helps me to focus and clears my mind.Having settled on a comfortable position let your awareness move from the bottom of your body upwards.Start by being aware of the soles of your feet and your toes. If you can, try and feel each toe individually. Next move youTravel slowly up through your body, dwelling for a few seconds on each part. As you do this try to consciously relax yourMove up from your calfs to the back of your legs, thighs and up. As you get to your stomach, back, and then shoulders yoand head.This whole process shouldnt take more than a few minutes and can be amazingly calming.The TechniqueThe actual meditation is divided into four phases. You should decide at the start whether you will do a twenty minute mPhase 1This is a meditation on the breath. It is not a meditation on the process of breathing, or the feeling of the body moving -This is easiest done by breathing through the nose and feeling the breath as it enters or leaves the body.In the first phase we count before the breath. Count (silently in the mind) in the pause between breaths, from one to tenI find in a five minute phase,mon average I count to ten five times.The counting helps centre the mind. It makes it easier to maintain concentration on the breathing.Phase 2When you guesstimate that the phase is over, move onto the next phase. Checking a clock will disrupt your meditation sdistractions and get drawn into concentration - youll wonder where the time went.In phase two, you change to counting after the breath. Breath then count, breath then count.This change helps break the rut and refocusses the mind.Phase 3In phase 3 you stop counting altogether.This frees you up more to focus on the breath.Phase 4In this final phase you focus on the breath at the point where it actually enters the body. This will usually be inside the noThis phase is quite a bit harder than the other phases. It can be one of the most effective though, because it draws your
  4. 4. Battle With the BodySo thats it ? Well, thats the mechanics of it yes. It sounds easy enough, but actually doing it is another matter.When you start meditating - each time, but particularly the first few times - you will start to fight the battle with distractYour body will take great measures to prevent you relaxing. You will feel uncomfortable, and have itches and aches. TryBattle With the MindHaving basically won the battle with the body, the struggle shifts to a far more difficult one - the battle with the mind.When you start to meditate you will realise how distracted your mind is. After a minute your mind will drift off and startThe first thing to say is - don’t worry, this is entirely normal. Were all like this, we all start from the same place, and it doWhen I started to meditate it seemed like I spent very little time focused on what I was supposed to be doing. I would brEvery thought and worry in your mind will rise up as you meditate. Dont feel frustrated or discouraged by this. Just let tIt was about my third or fourth meditation when I felt like it was getting noticeably easier to let the distractions go, andand pushing through.NoteDont worry if you lose count in the earlier phases (or even count beyond ten). Just start again - or from the last numberLevels of ConcentrationThe FWBO categorised concentration in three basic levels. I think this is useful.The first is the basic state of the mind before meditation. This is distraction.Once you have started to meditate, and started to concentrate, you have entered access concentration.This stage is a whole spectrum really, rather than a distinct level.In the early stages you are still getting distractions and thoughts every few seconds. As soon as you realise youre distracAs you concentrate further you will notice the distractions come less often and you notice them quicker. This is still acceThe next level is a distinct level. The FWBO called it dhyana. If you read this article on gnosticism youll see an alternativeThere comes a certain degree of focus when you are able to brush off distractions easily. Thoughts may rise like smoke -