100 Breaths: Experience the power of micro-meditation
Meditation can seem mystifying and mystical… The benefits unattainable or something that can only be attained after years of practice and patience and… well…real life (for many of us) does not include easy access to that sort of space and time.
In the same way as nearly almost any other thing worth doing (even loving and allowing ourselves to be loved), practice does indeed help. But here’s a secret: hardcore intense practice is not necessary for you to experience some very real benefits of meditation. You can do it right now. No kidding.
Ready? Don’t overthink this, just give it a go- no preparation is required.
Simply watch your next breath come in and release.
Don’t try to change your breath, or force it, or hold it, or prolong it or even examine it. Just witness it. One breath, in and out.
Try witnessing two breaths. Breathe in. Then Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Just witness, don’t change anything except your attention.
Things that help: Closing my eyes often helps me focus, but I just as often practice this with my eyes wide open.
For some of you, it may help to listen or hear yourself count (“1”, “2”, or say “inhale, exhale”). For some of you it will help to watch each number float in during the inhale, and float away during the exhale. For some, feeling your way around a string of beads or knots will help.
Mind wandering? Getting lost? If you lose track, don’t panic. Just begin again at some number near where you think you left off to go wandering.
I find that I often exhale, yawn, or sigh around breath #9.
When I find my mind has wandered off (and it always does), I just bring it back to witnessing my breath, choose a number close to where I think I wandered off… and just simply come back to counting.
A gentle invitation: Today (right now?), start with one breath or two. See if you feel some unraveling, some release, or maybe a moment of unexpected quiet.
Next time, try witnessing ten breaths.
Each time you return to this practice, add a few more breaths—maybe 5 or 10… By the time you reach 100 breaths? Congratulations! You will be doing 10-15 minutes of mystification-free meditation.
Here’s a link to a downloadable version of the piece.
And here is a link to an audio file.
copyright 2013, Kate Johnson