Happy New Breath

January 1, 2017

woman in water

Every breath can be the beginning of a new year. One breath at a time can seem a long time for people in recovery. Many people are afraid to connect to the subtle sensations in the nostrils and on the upper lip, that we label as the breath. Connecting to the subtle sensations of breathing means we have to slow down and become aware of our body, thoughts and feelings.

Those of us with addictions are often trying to flee the body, feelings and thoughts. Instead of coming back to the body, we are trying to have out-of-body experiences, get high, have altered states, and not be in touch with everyday reality.

The Buddha taught … Read more »

Meditation should be more mainstream

November 4, 2013

Thomas Pollick, The Daily Northwestern: The first time I really learned about meditation was during my sophomore year of high school in an Eastern Religions class. A Buddhist speaker came in to talk about his experiences. Following the talk, I asked him how I could incorporate meditation into my everyday life. He said that every day right after I get up, I should sit on the side of my bed for five minutes and focus on my breathing.

That’s all it was. Just five minutes, focusing on my breathing. Contrary to what I expected, there was no talk of spirituality or references…

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Mindfulness: Week 3 – The amazing three-minute breathing space

August 24, 2013

John Alex Murphy, The Province: Week 3 has been a breakthrough week for me. When I started my eight-week mindfulness meditation course, I suspected that it would eventually help alleviate my chronic pain. However, I did not expect that help would come as soon as this, and in such a dramatic fashion.

First, a quick update on my ongoing struggle with scheduled daily meditation times. I have decided that it actually worked better for me to not have a schedule. This past week, I have been doing my daily meditations when the need arises and when time allows. It’s working fine so I will …

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Exploring the breath as an adventure of discovery

October 18, 2011

One of my Skype workshop participants recently wrote with a request for advice, which (slightly edited) was as follows:

I am aware during my meditations that sometimes my awareness of the breath is quite superficial, distant and coarse. And I suspect that part of the reason for this distance is that my brain filters out the finer physical details of the experience, and just works with the coarse-grained concept of the breath – which is basically a fixed construct in memory rather than a direct experience of change happening now. I’d appreciate any tips on how to deal with it.

Here’s my reply (also slightly edited to include one point I forgot to mention, and … Read more »