We introduce counting the breath today. I like the simplicity of it, once again nothing I need to do or to remember, just count. Again, my mind wanders just like anyone else. It’s having these tools to use to bring the attention back to the breath. I use all of these tools still after many years. Each meditation practice session is unique in and of itself.
This is another technique to assist us with our concentration. It’s fairly simple, yet it works. As we settle into our posture, we allow the attention to be guided to either the nostrils, the chest or the belly, and then on each exhale we count. Inhale, exhale, ONE, inhale, exhale, TWO, and so on until you reach TEN and back again at ONE. The important thing to note here is that this is not a contest to see how far you get number-wise, it is merely a tool to use for our concentration.
Since this is a tool, keep with the quiet counting, returning to the breath if the mind has wandered with beginning again at ONE. Many students of mine find this as an easy way to focus.
If you need a little assistance with this practice, I did offer this practice in my 21 Day Meditation Challenge last year. You can view the video here.
As you are meditating, you will come across different occurrences. One such is drowsiness which is very common. If you become drowsy, you can do several things: pay attention to where you feel the drowsiness, return your attention to the breath, open your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths, adjust your posture, or get up and walk a little. All of these ways can assist you with the drowsiness.
Let me know how this week goes for you and with each practice that I post. You can join me in my mindfulness classes or if you would you like personal meditation instruction, I am happy to assist you through these practices. Contact me.
Recommended reading for Week One of the Challenge is pages 37 – 47 and pages 64 – 74 in the second edition of the book, “Real Happiness”.
Supportive guided meditations by Sharon Salzberg are located here.