Thursday, January 26, 2012
Focus Right Where You Are
Focus on your breathing. Not changing anything. Where do you feel it most? Don't get lost trying to quantify more and most, or choosing here or there. Try to simplify and feel wherever you are feeling the sensations of your inhale and exhale just now.
Stick with that for a few breaths.
Notice where you are finding the breath to feel more vivid in your body, and if you've already wandered, come back to the inhale and focus on where you sense breath more fully in your body. Just for now, just right there. Allow your mind to quiet down a little bit.
Begin to find the three-dimensional quality in your breath, just as it is, just where you feel it most now.
Notice how it describes your internal spaces from front to back of you. Spend several breaths on this.
Notice how it finds a way to describe the top and bottom lengths of you. Spend several breaths on this too.
Just come back to where you feel it most. Perhaps that has changed. Don't think your way into this, just notice that you are thinking about where you feel the breath, and come right back to feeling the breath.
Continue to allow your attention to notice the way your breath describes you. I know you cannot notice everything, but imagine that you could! Follow your curiosity into your hip joints, along the back of your rib cage, into the subtle tilting of your pelvis with every breath. Is your inhale grainy or smooth, is the exhale noisy or soft? Are there qualities in this breath, now? coolness or heat, jaggedness or elasticity? Don't worry about using words to describe qualities. Notice what you can and come back to noticing without getting lost in cataloging. If you do get lost in words and trying to find language, just come back to focus your attention on the breath. No big deal. One great aspect of this is that there is another breath right after this one, so nothing is lost. Just come back to your focus.
Seek out any dull areas in your body, where you don't seem to feel any connection to your breath. Pay attention to that space for a few breaths, allowing your awareness of the breath sensations elsewhere to soften, like a gaze that is unfocused.
Restart if you got lost, and notice where you feel the breath now. Perhaps you can move around a little, do a few yoga postures (asana), or walk around a bit for a few breaths. See if the focus of your attention can keep coming back to find where you feel your breath and where you don't so much. After a little moving about, return to a position you can hold for a few minutes, sitting comfortably, or perhaps laying your body flat on the floor. Bring your attention back to where you feel the breath in your body, continuing to explore its three-dimensional qualities, seeking out any areas that feel dull or unmoving.
Even a few minutes of this every day helps support you in physical, emotional, and psychological ways! There is no "goal" or "end" to this; just set aside a little time to get interested first in what you notice, and then in how that changes.
This is one way of meditating. It offers a way to begin cultivating awareness, increase your ability to focus attention even with all the distractions in the mind, and to strengthen the connections between your mind and your body. This definitely helps me to be right where I am, wherever that is.