“The mind naturally thinks…it’s just what the mind does.”
The focus in this meditation is on how to improve our concentration in staying with the present moment through staying with our breath.
I know that oftentimes in meditation, while I’m trying to find my calm, I’m present for the most part, but sometimes I lose my train of thought. I forget about the breath and I escape it. And I think about things that are happening in the day or about things that happened yesterday and about things that still have to happen tomorrow.
But I come back.
In this meditation, we’ll be using a technique known as labeling. We will learn about the practice of labeling the breathe–so when your mind starts to wander, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong. The mind naturally thinks about the past & it thinks about the future. It’s just what the mind does.
This constant mind chatter, in Buddhism, is known as something they called, “the monkey mind.” In meditation, we want to learn how to work with the monkey mind.
So instead of trying to force the monkey to stay still and not jump around, we’re actually going to give the monkey something to do. And this is going to be the technique of labeling or using a short mantra or a short phrase that we can repeat in our mind.
So what this is going to look like is— as you breathe in, you just quietly say in your mind, rising, when you feel the belly rising. You’re just labeling things. And as you breathe out, you can quietly, in your mind say, falling and then feel the falling of your belly and falling of your chest. When you do this labeling of the breath to improve your concentration, we want to make sure that the most of our attention is still in the actual here & now.
So let’s get started.
Go ahead and take a deep breath in through your nose.
And then just releasing right out of your mouth.
Finding your calm.
Your comfortable place.
Just taking a few moments to settle in and just find your zone.
And you can close your eyes if you feel comfortable too, or you can keep them open, but just not really focusing in on anything because we are very visual beings and if we’re trying to meditate and something captures our eyes, we will most likely become drawn to it and divert away from the meditation. And the point is to be here now. So if you do decide to keep your eyes open, just downward gaze preferably, or again, you can close your eyes, start by taking a few deep breaths, just to relax the body and relax the mind.
Just breathing in deeply and then breathing out slowly, breathing one more deep breath, counting to four in your head. One, two, three, four, and then breathing out one, two, three, four.
And just allowing your breath to return now to its natural state, letting the body breathe itself, and then spending a few moments again, just inviting the body to soften, to relax, letting go of any, to do list, letting go of any agenda.
Really giving yourself permission to be here.
Then when you are ready, you can bring your attention back onto the feeling of the breath. Once again, practicing the mindful breathing techniques.
Connecting with wherever you feel the breath the most, and just noticing the movement of the breath, noticing how your breath changes over time. Here you can actually start to practice the labeling technique, just saying the short phrase to help you stay focused on the breath. As you breathe in, just quietly in your mind, saying one word– rising, and then actually feeling the rising of the belly or the chest or the in breath at the nostrils. And then as you breathe out just quietly in your mind saying falling and then feeling the falling of your belly or the chest or the out-breath of the nostrils. Breathing in–rising, breathing out–falling, rising, falling
Again, whenever your attention wanders away from the breath. And whenever you notice, just acknowledge that the attention has wandered and gently bring your attention back here to the breath, without any judgment or self criticism, just practicing acceptance.
And then once again, reconnecting with the breath and the phrase is breathing in rising and breathing out, falling just, and as you repeat those words, really see if you can keep most of your awareness on the physical sensations of your breath. Just letting the words be very quiet and soft voiced in the back of your mind. Just something to keep pointing your attention to the breath, breathing in and just noting rise, breathing out and just noting fall with the noting practice. We’re just giving the monkey mind something to do, something to keep it busy. And then we just keep bringing our attention back to the present moment.
Just observing what we’re experiencing, just noticing where our attention is, right here, right now. Wherever our attention is, we’re just going to notice and acknowledge it. Why not allow it to be there? Then we’re going to invite our intention back to the feeling of the breath and the body. And we’re just going to feel the rise and the fall of our belly or our chest or the air that’s coming in through our nostrils, using the words or phrases to help you stay connected — rise, fall.
Really don’t worry too much about what is distracting you, whether it’s a sound in your environment, or a thought, or emotion, pain in the body, whatever is distracting you, just acknowledge it. And then, and then let it go. Inviting your attention back to your breath, breathing in, breathing out.
And thats it. Thank you for practicing along with me.