Concentration instructions with breath counting

– Sit down comfortably either on the floor or on a chair. Keep your back straight and close your eyes.

– Take a few deep breaths and settle in your seat.

– Now allow your breath to be natural and stay with with the experience of breathing. You might feel it more in the nostrils, the abdomen, the chest, in the sound of the breath, or your whole body. Find which works for you.

– After each exhale count one. That is; inhale, exhale, 1, inhale, exhale, 2, and so on. When you get to ten, count back to one. Repeat this process up to ten and back to one during the course of your sit.

– When your mind wanders, just notice it and gently bring your attention back to the breath. If you lose count, go back to one.

– Similarly, whatever feeling, emotion or sensation arises, good or bad, just notice them and redirect your attention to the breath.

A FEW NOTES:

1. Observe each breath with a sense of curiosity. Is it long, short, shallow, or deep? How long is the pause between breaths? Every individual breath is unique. Think about that. Can you figure out what is different in each one? Make it a game.

2. Let go of your expectations of what meditation should be and what you want from it. Even if it feels like all you are doing is bringing your attention back to the breath without anything “happening”, you are doing it right.

3. Treat each breath as its own meditation. Assume your meditation ends with each breath and starts again with the next one.

4. Make the breath your main focus. The counting is only there the help keep track.

5. And finally, the simple instructions above can be made even simpler:

Forget about meditation. You are just sitting there, breathing, and knowing that you are breathing. That is all.

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