We all want more peace, to be able to deal with life without getting stressed, to be more focussed, to be healthy and to have better relationships.
More often than not we look outside ourselves for the answers, we try to change the things we see rather than trying to change how we look at and interact with these things.
We fill our lives with endless distractions having less and less real interactions with the world and more importantly with ourselves.
While all this is going on we have the simplest of tools with us at all times that costs us nothing, that provides a real solution to these and many more issues we face, and in fact without which we wouldn’t be around for very long.
I’m talking about our breath.
Our breath always takes place in the present moment so it’s an excellent tool for meditation, mindfulness or times of stress.
What could be easier than focussing on our breath, something so simple yet it brings so many benefits to our health and our lives if we do it consistently.
Simple breath meditation is used by millions of people throughout the world so will be familiar to many of you but I wanted to offer you another way of looking at it which I think really deepens the practice and the positive effects of your meditation.
To meditate on the breath first adopt a seated position whether on a cushion or on the edge of a chair, keep your back straight and unsupported unless you have health issues in which case sit however is comfortable but avoid lying down.
Take some slow deep breaths in and out releasing any tension you have in your body, on the in breath you might like to think ‘relax’ and on the out breath, you might like to feel the tension leaving your body with the breath.
If you have time you can run through the whole body from top to bottom like this, relaxing and releasing tension as you go.
Once you have relaxed the body simply put all your attention on the breath, you can think ‘in’ as you breathe in and ‘out’ as you breath out or you might like to count the breaths from 1-10.
Your mind will always try to lure you away with all manner of distractions, thoughts and doubts but you just gently bring your attention back to the breath, bringing your focus back to counting or saying in and out as you breathe.
Now imagine that you are a Village Doctor in a remote part of a poor country. You have a huge line of patients waiting to see you that have come from miles around all with different illnesses and ailments, all requiring your full attention as you see one after the other.
This is exactly the same level of concentration you want to give every breath as you meditate, giving each one your total and undivided attention.
By giving your complete attention to your breath in this way you will be completely focussed on the present moment, you won’t be lost in worry about what has already happened or what might happen in the future and it will really increase the benefits from your meditation practice.
Try doing this meditation first thing in the morning as this really sets the tone for your day and when you need to during the day a few deep breaths can take you back to that state very quickly.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If there are things you would like us to discuss or want answers to please let us know.
Jez Stephenson – Head Coach at JPDV