Certainly after all these many years, a busy mind can still happen to me. My mind can be in many places at once! Why? Because the mind was made to think. Because of my years of practice, I have learned how to bring my attention back to the breath. The key word here is “practice.”
Mental Noting is a technique that we use to assist us with our Concentration, this week’s theme.
Our mind is busy, that it certainly is! When our mind wanders in meditation it does not mean that you have done anything wrong at all. It just means that the mind is doing what it is meant to do, that is, think. It thinks of the past and off into the future. Think of your mind as a puppy. You go to walk the puppy and the puppy is all over the sidewalk. That is your mind. Gently your bring the puppy back and we do the same with our attention. Back to the breath.
With meditation, as you begin here your practice these last few days, just set aside at least five minutes a day. You can always increase your time as you see fit. Small, achievable goals work best.
Our technique today involves using a word or a phrase with the breath. As we inhale, we can use, for example, RISING, and as we exhale, FALLING. We use these words quietly toward the back of the mind while our attention remains on the breath. Of course you can use any words that seem appropriate to you, IN and OUT, or LOVE and PEACE. The idea is simply that we are using these words to help with our focus on the breath itself.
The livestream meditation break I offered yesterday was this practice, so you can watch the video here.
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.