Mindful Breathing Meditation

Before anything else, I want to remind you that I'm just a lay, secular Buddhist practitioner. I'm also pretty new to all this. My experience is of about 1 year meditating daily, so I'm by no means an expert.

Still, I wanted to share with you the few, simple tips that have helped me stay constant.

That's the more general framework, now for the way I meditate. I do a form of Mindful Breathing Meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably, but in an active position. The classical lotus posture (Padmasana) is only viable for a few lucky ones, so look for a posture that keeps you comfortable but doesn't let you fall asleep. I usually do the burmese posture (Muktasana), with a cushion to keep my hips higher. Use a chair or back support if needed.
  2. Close you eyes, and focus on your breathing. Try to keep your awareness in your nostrils, in how the air goes in and out.
  3. Do not try to control the breathing, just observe it.
  4. Let go any thoughts. This is the biggest misconception: it's almost impossible to avoid the arisal of thoughts. It will happen, is part of the natural flow of meditation, and it doesn't "invalidate" your practice.
  5. What we do, instead, is acknowledging them, and letting them go. A pretty useful exercise is to visualize yourself next to a river. Any thoughts that appear are part of the flow of the water: they pass close to you, but if you acknowledge them without engaging, they will soon pass and leave you quiet again.

That's pretty much it. You can time yourself (I'm a fan of singing bowls meditation timer videos, but there are also a lot of apps) or just do it for as long as feels alright. Keep doing it, and you will find that the ability to calm the mind is just invaluable.

I hope that all this helps any of you, or at the very least, encourages you to try.