The secret of effective meditation is in proper breathing, and that’s for good reason. It brings about stillness of the mind, and results in the focus necessary in meditation. Here, I will discuss two core meditation activities: Breathing Awareness meditation, followed by Stillness in the Breath Meditation.
For both exercises, it would be preferable for you to assume a sitting position. By sitting upright with your spine as straight as possible, you can bring alertness to your mind. At the same, it’s important for you to be comfortable and be in a complete state of relaxation.
Breath Awareness Meditation
1. As you sit comfortably, close your eyes and take a moment to just be. Take everything around you in—from the sounds to the feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations you’re undergoing. Just observe and allow yourself to feel them, without doing anything except settling down.
2. Focus on your breath, and notice the air go in and out of your body as you inhale and exhale, automatically and without effort. Do not even try to control it; just let it flow through.
3. In the process of being aware of your breathing, let go of what you’re feeling, physically and emotionally, and simply let them fade into the background.
4. By repeating this process cyclically, you will notice the natural tendency of your mind to hold on to negativity and let go of your thoughts and feelings. When this happens, what you need to do is try this meditation.
Stillness in the Breath Meditation
1. A variation of the Breath Awareness meditation, this technique requires you to do the mentioned meditation for an extended period of time, except for a certain variation: notice the gap between the exhalation and the inhalation. Just before you inhale or exhale, there’s a certain gap, a “still point”.
2. This still point is helpful whenever you find your mind wandering away in that you can use it to bring yourself back to the meditative process.
3. Once you get used to this meditation technique, you will find that the gaps are not an independent experience, but a continuous activity that’s essentially and necessarily a part of the meditative process.
There are several meditation techniques, but these two are definitely a great place to start. In fact, if you find that you are pressed for time, both techniques will certainly be of good help in bringing you back to stillness and peace of mind.