There are 40 techniques of concentration training and this teaching will deal with one of these namely, the mindfulness of breathing.
The development of concentration through mindfulness of breathing (watching the in- and out- breaths) is a very convenient practise because by nature everybody has to breath in and out. It can be used all the time and anywhere when it is needed as long as one is constantly aware of the process.
Basic Exercise in brief
- Try to find a quiet place which is conducive to peace. It is helpful to have the right atmosphere but if this is not possible, it can still be performed.
- Find any posture which enables the body to relax and which is the most comfortable for a long periode of sitting. It should enable us to breath comfortably. The best posture is cross legged or sitting upright with the right leg on top of the left one and hands on the lap, right one on top of the left with thumbs touching, or the right fore finger touching the left thumb. If this is not possible one can sit upright on a chair or take any other comfortable posture. However if the sitting brings any tension, it will not be the right practice and it should be corrected before continuation. Eyes can be closed or opened as long as one is not distracted. One should look downwards with opened eyes.
3. Breathing Exercise
- After sitting comfortably one should take deep long breaths to fill the lungs then breath out slowly several times. At the same time try to develop the feeling that the body is not solid and the head is light until the mind is reasonably peaceful, then breath normally but with awareness of the in and out breathing. When breathing in and out deeply, be aware that one breathes in and out deeply, when breathing in and out shallowly know that one breathes in and out shallowly. Do not control the breaths, but be mindful of them.
For a beginner counting the breath will help to control the mind and stop wandering thoughts.
If the mind is very restless, start to count the breathing in pairs. In- out-1, in-out-2,.. ., up to 10, then reverse the process in-out-9, in-out-8, . . ., down to 1. Or try to fix attention at the tip of the nose where the breath touches without following the movement of the breath through the body but be aware of the in and out breathing.