Following is a very good and informative article on breath meditation by Betsy Rabyor.
Posted on March 25, 2014 by betsy rabyor phoenixtools.org/breath-meditation
Instructions for Breath Meditation
- Find a quiet place as free of distractions as possible, no telephones, computers or TV. Nature is great if you can do it there.
- Sit or stand comfortably in a relaxed manner, then close your eyes. With standing your energy is highest, sitting it is lower and lying is lowest. Lying is often not recommended because one has a tendency to fall asleep. The most important however is that you are comfortable and let go of controlling your body completely and are relaxed as possible. Sitting with straight spine and with crossed legs is helpful to open channels in legs and spine, but realize if you are not used to this it can take some time before this is comfortable for you. You can lie down to meditate if you are too tense while sitting, or do it in a warm bathtub if your mind is especially active, as can be with anxiety. Later you can progress to other positions, as it suits you. If you have a lot of stress or body tension, it can be beneficial to do a walk or some exercise before doing the meditation session to release built up tension.
- Then simply put your focus on FEELING your breathing on any point you like along the channel of breath moving in and out of your body, but stick to one focal point. Some like to put the focus on the breath as it comes in and goes out the nostril, others in the lungs as they expand and contract, others in the diaphragm area or belly. The main thing to know is that ‘breathing’ happens automatically and it doesn’t need ‘your mental help or assistance’, that’s why it’s such a good focal point – it doesn’t need your assistance at all – you can totally let go of trying to control anything. Keep your focus on the FEELING of your breath moving in and out, which doesn’t need your thoughts or mind. Don’t try to manipulate or change your breathing or try to make it someway it is not naturally. When you do this, then you are using your mind to make it be different that what it is, and it’s exactly the opposite of meditation. In true meditative state you do not use the mind. Keep it simple by keeping your focus on feeling your breathing happening in your body, which is the focal pointin this meditation.
- Now it will happen in your session, that you will get distracted from feeling your breath and when that occurs what has happened is that you are likely busy thinking. It is possible you can do a meditation session, thinking the entire time and not even realize you did that until it’s over. All of this is normal and totally okay. You only need to be aware that ‘thinking’ has happened. Don’t analyze your thoughts or it will trigger more thoughts and you will get caught in a circle of thinking. To stop thinking, you only need to set your attention back on the focal point, even if you can only hold it for a few seconds this is good. Don’t be critical about yourself on how you are doing. Again this is thinking and will trigger more thoughts and strong reaction of feeling inadequate or that you are doing it wrong, etc. Drop all this! Non-stop mind-chatter is the state where we all start and it takes some time for thinking to subside and for you to be able to hold the focal point longer. The more you practice, the better you will get at noticing when thinking happens and you lose focus. You ability to direct attention away from thinking and not clinging to thoughts and reset your attention back to your focal point will get better over time as well. To help let go of your desire to think, it can help to give yourself a reminder: I am aware I was thinking. Right Now is NOT my time for thinking, I’m meditating NOW, there will be plenty of time to think about ‘this issue’ later. If something comes up that you feel you need to think about, like an insight or something you don’t want to forget, write it down on a piece of paper so you can think about it AFTER the meditation is done.
- You repeat like this the entire session. The most beneficial length of time for meditation is 45 minutes to one hour, because at the 45 minute mark this is state of maximum vibration increase and where the strongest healing reactions happen. Meditation is best done twice per day, before starting one’s day and before one goes to bed. To get a result from meditation, you must do it frequently, at least once per day. Think of it more as ‘preventative medicine’ you do each day, like brushing your teeth, for your mental health and well being, see it as a lifelong practice. Also please don’t give up when you first start, because you find it difficult to do. This is normal, and one will want to stop it. Stick with it at least twice per day for one month, and you will for sure get a result and then want to continue on with it.
Benefits of Meditation
The benefit of practicing meditation is becoming more aware of oneself and becoming more efficient with the use of your essential energy. You gradually learn to focus better and not waste time with distractions or useless turning around in circles doing things, which aren’t really essential, meaningful or that which make you happy. You also will become more insightful and creative. The other thing to know is that when you meditate, when your mind is resting, then you are healing, this happens all by itself. Basically, when the mind rests (just like deep sleep), neurons in the brain are enhanced, repaired and rerouted to more efficient patterns. Later these changes will be reflected in the body as the cells replace themselves, and you will see the signs of healing happening. Healing or transformation of the personality is happening with the meditative state, and the newest aspects you’ve accumulated in your personality will be healed first, and the first last at the end of this process. Thus one can expect that the first things to be healed are often beliefs, concepts, or intellectual aspects, then followed by emotional aspects and finally by physical aspects. With enough time spent in ‘effective’ meditation (seconds of no-thought), it will eventually result in a complete healing of all systems of your body, no matter what kinds of mental, emotional or physical problems you currently have. Healing happens slowly, as it took much time to build up the state of personality you have in your body, which is ultimately the cause of all your problems, it will take some time to transform that old structure to the new and healthy one. Be satisfied with your daily progress, growing takes its time and can’t be forced or go as fast as you want it to be. Just know you are healing, each time you meditate. Don’t get trapped into the desire to be somebody or to develop super powers or get mesmerized by ‘healing reactions’, which happen during this process. As your central nervous system is being changed in the brain, this can cause reactions that seem ‘unearthly’, with seeing of images, visions, or seeing sparkly lights or hearing tones in the ears, etc. These are simply side-effects or symptoms of healing, and one should not try to make them happen, thinking that by doing so, one is getting somewhere or developing into another kind of entity… This kind of want is a desire of the ego to get confirmation for a new kind of spiritual image. If you think this might be happening, drop all that, reread the instructions, keep it simple.
Regular Practice Will Get Results
To get a result you must practice regular and it takes some time to get used to doing the practice. The thinking will come in heavy at first and every excuse will be given to say this is not working or this is not worth it, etc. Stick with it twice a day if possible for at least 3 weeks, and then it might become a habit you don’t want to miss. Slowly, you get results. When you start to get results, then you will know why you want to continue to do it. But before that happens, it’s sort of like ‘forcing yourself’ to do it. Keep it simple, just do it.
Why does meditation practice remove stress?
The reason meditation practice reduces stress is because stress is caused by thinking. It’s like you think all these things – re: all you have to do, and you don’t have time to do it, then there’s a conflict, the muscles hold tension with energy charges built up for action but you can’t do it, thus you accumulate stress. Thinking goes a lot faster then what you can physically do, so the more you think things should be different than what they are, which is most of the time with thoughts, then the more stress you build up. As you learn to become more aware of thinking and emotions and body tension from continued daily practice of meditation, as you get better at tuning into what happening inside you, you will start to learn more about your basic make-up, personality, awareness and body and how all of you works. This is known as ‘self-knowledge’, which will allow you to take get insights and realize steps in rising awareness or ability to be consciously present to what is happening ‘right now’. Eventually you will get better at accepting what is happening ‘right now’ and learning to respond to it as needed, versus spending so much time thinking about the past or the future which is not here. So you see, with regular meditation practice you will stop building up stress in the first place, you will become better able to catch that over active thinking pattern when it happens and be able to ‘set it aside’ and simply breath – even during the day – thus you will also grow in your ability to focus your essential energy and control everything about your life. .
It’s a very important life skill to learn how to control the reactions of thinking and emotions and physical actions. All that a human can do, the first thing that always happens is thought, this precedes all else, so becoming aware of thinking is paramount to have true will power and focus and control of yourself. When one’s thinking is overactive, usually certain thoughts are repeating of a certain nature, which create an emotional energy in the body according to the underlying nature or tone of the thoughts. Thinking is part of the nervous system and is what allows us to act, so just prior to a movement in body, energy is built up in the appropriate muscles as an electric charge to allow us that movement. So think, emotion, then act. When one is thinking, one is building emotional energy in the muscles, if one doesn’t act upon that which is set up, and then this is ‘stress’. Basically charges are in the muscles, but it is not released through action. By learning to only think when needed – when one needs to take an action, then one becomes more energy efficient, not building up unnecessary energy in the body when it’s not needed.