LESSON: Watching the Breath

LESSON: Watching the Breath

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Summary A guided meditation using the breath as an anchor, plus classroom reflection and a nifty handout.
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As the Tibetan teacher Mingyur Rinpoche explains, when you meditate, you are giving your mind a job.

Let’s watch the following video:

Your first meditation session, with Mingyur Rinpoche

Guided Meditation on Breath

Ring the gong 3 times.

Sit comfortably, your body still, keep your eyes open, looking downwards with a soft focus

Bring to mind your motivation for doing this meditation—for yourself, and for others…

Leave your mind just as it is for as long as you can. Rest in the present moment, simply aware of any sights, sounds and physical sensations…

Now, bring your attention lightly to your breath. This is the “job” we give to our mind…

Just breathe as you always do, breathe in and out through your mouth.

Now bring your attention lightly to the sensations of breathing in the tummy, noticing the rise and fall of the tummy with each in-breath and out-breath… if you want you can place your hands on your tummy to notice the rise and fall better…

When you breathe out, let go.

If thoughts come, they come, if they go, they go. It is like the wind which comes and goes, you do not hold onto the wind.

If your mind drifts off, that’s no problem, just noticing that you are distracted and bringing your attention back to the breath, with kindness… whatever thoughts and emotions arise, allow them to rise and settle again, like the waves in the ocean.

Now let go of focusing on the breath and allow your mind to rest in its own natural awareness, leaving your mind just as it is…

Take a moment to appreciate this time you have spent taking care of yourself.

Ring the gong once.

Reflection after the Meditation

How was that? Do you like following your breath? Have you done it before?

Breath is especially good because we always have it with us, and we are always breathing now—not in the past or the future. Were you able to let go of watching the breath at the end and just rest your mind in awareness?

What effect did it have? Do you feel your mind has transformed?

Tips
  • If the mind is wild, lower the gaze
  • If the mind is sleepy or dull, raise the gaze, and alert the body
  • If distraction, boredom, restlessness, impatience or discomfort come up, simply notice it, and bring your attention back to the breath.

 

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