Oakville Zen Meditation

#358 Breathing: a miracle moment 8/8/21

Breathing: A Miracle Moment

First, we sit comfortably on a cushion or a chair. Then we keep your back erect without straining or overarching and keep your chin horizontal. Close your eyes. If not, gaze gently a few feet in front of you w/o staring. Aim for a state of alert relaxation. Take three or four slow deep breaths, feeling the air entering your nostrils.
Then let your breathing settles into its natural rhythm, without forcing or controlling it.
All you have to do is just to feel breathing, as it happens, nothing more.
Notice where you feel your breath. Perhaps it’s predominant at the nostrils, perhaps at the chest or abdomen. Don’t modify it.
Become aware of your breathing sensations. If you’re focusing on the breath at the nostrils, for example, you may experience tingling, vibration, or cold and warmth. You may observe that the breath is cooler when it comes in through the nostrils and warmer when it goes out.
If you’re focusing on the breath at the abdomen, you may feel the in and out movements.
Don’t analyze them, simply feel them in a mindful way.
Let your attention resting on the feeling of your natural breathing, especially by focusing on your exhale. (Notice how often the word “resting” comes up in this instruction? Breathing should be a restful practice. You don’t need to change it or “to do it right”.
You may find that the rhythm of your breathing changes. Just allow the change whatever it is.
Sometimes people get a little self-conscious about watching themselves breathing and they start hyperventilating a little, or the opposite, holding their breath without fully realizing what they’re doing. If that happens, just go back to your natural breathing.

Many distractions will arise:
Thoughts, images, emotions, aches, pains, wandering in the past or future.
Just be aware of them, then let them go by going back to your mind anchor that is your breathing.
You don’t need to avoid your thoughts or analyze them.
Accept them as they are and refocus on your exhale breathing, over and over and over.
Meditation is moving the mind back and forth from breathing to thoughts.
By doing so, you are taming your mind progressively. It is a sort of mental workout.
You don’t have to get mad at yourself for having thoughts, they will happen many times during meditation. Just acknowledge their presence and let them go one by one. When you notice that your mind is wandering, just take him back to your exhale.
The magic moment:
The moment you realize you’ve been distracted by thought and you are going back to your exhale breathing is a magic moment.
It’s a chance to become different by simply learning to letting go the intruder rather than being his victim as we are too often and, at the same time, being in the present moment.
By doing so, you are controlling your mind, forcing him to re-focus on his anchor that is your breathing. At this point, the thought evaporates because the mind cannot have
two thoughts at the same time!
You may have to let go of wandering thoughts thousands of times during meditation and it is just fine. There are not thousands of roadblocks to your practice, just the opportunity in controlling your mind thousands of times. That’s life: starting over, one breath at a time w/o being discouraged since the overall beneficial effect of meditation is cumulative with its practice.
Finally: counting your exhale from 1 to 10 then 10 to 1 is an excellent adjuvant when concentration is lacking. Thank you all