The 44: Tips for Breath Meditation
So you’ve been doing Practice 1, breath meditation, for a couple days now … you might have some difficulties, or wonder why it’s important.
I’d like to share some key ideas and tips about breath meditation with you today, and encourage you to keep practicing.
First … why is it important? Because:
- You’re developing an awareness of your thought patterns (mind keeps jumping around, for example, or you have negative thoughts about yourself)
- You’re learning to stay present with something happening in the current moment (in this case, your breath) instead of daydreaming
- You’re learning to notice when you’re daydreaming (getting lost in your thoughts)
- You’re learning to come back to the breath when you notice the thoughts
- You’re learning to be non-judgmental of yourself when you wander, and to be gentle in getting yourself to stay and to return
- You’re learning to sit with discomfort and frustration and disappointment and whatever else comes up for you while you meditate, instead of avoiding it
Those are huge! If you don’t work on these things, you will have a harder time with all future training, so stick with it. You’re training your mind, and this is crucial to this program.
OK, with that in mind, here are some tips:
- If you are wondering if you’re doing it right, or doing it wrong … don’t worry, you’re fine. It’s normal to feel uncertainty (notice how that feels!) but there’s no wrong way to do it. If you’re doing it, you’re fine.
- If your mind keeps wandering and you’re getting frustrated … that’s normal. Don’t worry, that’s how everyone’s mind works. It’s good to notice how it’s going, and develop awareness. You’re slowly training your mind to stay a little longer, and to be gentle with yourself, but you won’t ever be “perfect” at it.
- Don’t worry about the length of your meditation. Two minutes is fine when you’re just starting, and five minutes is great too. For those who want to challenge themselves a little more, you can do 10 minutes, but for the purposes of this program, there’s no need to do that or go beyond 10 minutes.
- Be gentle. Don’t judge yourself. If you do judge yourself, don’t judge yourself for judging yourself. :)
I hope these are helpful. The main idea is, you’re doing just fine. Don’t let yourself be discouraged, don’t put off the practice, and just keep going!