In general, the purpose of meditation, with the focus on breathing, is to calm the mind and develop inner peace within yourself. This kind of meditation can be used as such or as a preliminary exercise to reduce our distractions before performing a more evolved and complex meditation. This is then the first phase of the meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and brighter.
To practice a simple breathing meditation we choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. You can sit in the traditional cross-legged position or in a different position or in a chair, as long as that is comfortable. The most important thing is to keep your back straight in order to prevent your mind from becoming slow or drowsy.
You close your eyes and focus your attention on your own breathing. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without trying to control your breath, and try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. Focus on this sensation so that your concentration automatically excludes everything else.
In the beginning, your minds will be very busy, and may even feel that meditation is making your mind busier; but in reality it only becomes more aware of how busy the mind really is. There will be a great temptation to follow the various thoughts as they occur, but one must resist and remain focused on the sensation of breathing. When your discover that your mind has strayed and follows those thoughts, then you must immediately bring it back to the sensation of your breathing. Repeating this as often as necessary until the mind rests on the breathing.
The benefits of this kind of meditation? By patiently practising, your distracting thoughts will gradually disappear and you will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Your mind will feel clear and freshened up. When the sea is rough, sediment is churned and the water becomes dark, but when the wind dies, the mud gradually decreases and the water becomes clear. In a similar way, when the otherwise incessant flow of our distracting thoughts is calmed by focusing on the breathing, our minds become unusually bright and clear. It is possible to stay in this state of spiritual rest for a while.
Although breathing meditation is only a preliminary stage of meditation, it can be pretty powerful. We can see from this practice that it is possible to experience inner peace and satisfaction simply by controlling the mind, without being totally dependent on external circumstances. Much of the stress and tension that we normally experience comes from our minds
When the turbulence of distracting thoughts disappears and our mind becomes silent, there is naturally a deep happiness and satisfaction from within. This feeling of satisfaction and well-being helps us to deal with the hustle and bustle of daily life. Much of the stress and strain we normally experience comes from our minds and many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or exacerbated by this stress.
By doing breathing meditation every day for ten or fifteen minutes, you can reduce this stress. You will experience a quiet, spacious feeling in the mind, and many of our usual problems will fall away. Difficult situations are easier to deal with, you feel warm and good for others, of course, and your relationships with others will gradually improve.
If you are in Madeira and you believe you need more guidance or you feel any particular challenges when you want to meditate you are welcome to try an individual meditation session with me. This can be done outside in the nature (on the beach or in a park) or inside using some helpful musical background that will amplify your ability to focus.