Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Mindfulness of Breathing

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Introduction

hands and waterIn the mindfulness of breathing meditation practice we use the breath as an object of awareness. We follow the physical sensations of the breath as it flows in and out of the body.

This meditation practice isn’t a breathing exercise. We allow the breath to flow naturally and are simply aware of it. So there is no control over the breath.

One of the first things we learn when we try to do this meditation practice is how distracted our minds are! All sorts of thoughts and feelings flow into our awareness, and then we find we’ve forgotten all about the breath. This is a good thing to learn. If we don’t know this we can’t do anything about it.

Most of what comes into our minds is not very useful, and often it’s actually bad for us. For example we find ourselves worrying or getting angry, or putting ourselves down.

The simple principle behind this meditation practice is that if we keep taking our awareness back to the breath — over and over again — then our mind gradually quiets down and we feel more contentment.

Usually we do this with the eyes shut, to minimize distraction.

You’ll need to know how to sit effectively, so you can either go to the meditation posture guidelines or, if you already know how to sit, then go directly to the meditation practice.

Use the links on the left to navigate round the practice. If this is your first time practicing the Mindfulness of Breathing, then start with stage one.

Comments

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Comment from Maria Heeley
Time: October 11, 2011, 10:16 am

Thanks great help

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Comment from James P.
Time: April 17, 2012, 7:07 pm

Hey Bodhipaksa, I was wondering if you knew about the Benson Relaxation technique? He calls it a relaxation response but is this a form of meditation just it not being called meditation? I’ve tried the breathing technique but it can get really complicated for me. Benson’s technique does tell one to realize the breathing but says to say “one” after each breath with a relaxed body and mind. I found it quite useful but is it transcendental meditation?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: April 17, 2012, 7:15 pm

Benson’s technique is not TM — just a simplified form of mindfulness of breathing meditation combined with a sound repeated, internally, as one would a mantra.

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Comment from Chris S
Time: June 20, 2012, 2:51 pm

I am researching begining meditation and I am glad I found this wesite. I have tried counting my beathing to 100, my arms tingled and i would drift from thoughts back to counting my breaths and I felt very relaxed and clearer minded afterwords. Should I count quietly or silently?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: June 20, 2012, 8:35 pm

It’s best to count inwardly, and it’s also more useful to count your breaths in 10s to stop the counting becoming too automatic.

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Comment from zainab kamara
Time: May 16, 2013, 6:29 pm

i felt a bit of relief i was all stress out but when i did the breathing exercise i feel that calmness in me

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Comment from Suyog Shrestha
Time: October 17, 2014, 12:35 pm

I feel more and more relaxed and the positive evergy is flowing like a water.
Questions:
Is it that if we meditate for longer time it would be more helpful and fast to get into the trance state?
When do we get into the trance state or deep relaxation state?
Is it really safe to meditate at home because if we got into the deep relaxation state or trance state what will happen. Will we freak out ?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 23, 2014, 11:21 am

The term “trance state” is very unhelpful, Suyog. Meditative states are “flow states” where meditation becomes effortless and enjoyable. It sounds like you may already be there. It is possible to go deeply into those states, and all kinds of things can happen when you do. The important thing is just to accept and enjoy whatever’s arising, as best you can.

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