Back to the Breath

27th July 2019

This was our fourth session at Broad Oak Village Hall

We revisited the framework for thinking about ourselves and considered the body in more detail.

We practised Sitting Meditation and Walking Meditation.

and then we had tea… 

Practise Again..

This is the 15 minute sitting meditation we practised.

And all NEW, the meditation on audio file to download.

If you are finding the practise again section helpful you could hit this button too.

Stop

As soon as there is stopping, there is happiness. There is Peace.

TNH


Some ideas about focusing on the Body

The meditation brings awareness to the Body in six sections.

“6 that sounds complicated!”

It seems a bit foreboding but it is not really that challenging. Lets break them down into chunks. 

Prepare

This may seem like it is not part of the meditation at all but like all first steps it is very important.

We are trying to transition from ‘Crazy awake and running around the world’ mode to ‘Sitting and meditating’ mode. And we only have one minute to do it!!

The key parts are 

  • Focus (dont think) on breathing & calm down.
  • Let your body finds its own place of rest. You dont have to make anything happen.
  • Check you are safe and comfortable; you will be here for 15 minutes
  • Keep that back straight – Don’t slouch. I am not being a fitness trainer, it is just more comfortable in the long run.
  • Commit yourself to spending the next 15 minutes in awareness.
    • If there is a lot buzzing around your mind you can say ‘OK I promise I will get to you but I need the next 15 minutes to myself’ 

Contact

Eyes close – we really are going to start meditating….

Quick check-in with the breath – In breath; Out breath “Oh yes I remember this…”

Tip of tongue to top of mouth (weird cat man picture) – Saliva blah blah..

Focus on your bum (you heard me) or the soles of your feet. “Yep, I am definitely sitting in this chair…”

If thinking is bothering you you can even think about the soles of your feet or your bottom. Remember, we can only really think about one thing at any given moment.

Connect

Hearing (it is a perception but we are using it here) dominates but also smell (even a bad one) and touch, air movement on your skin.

  • We are placing ourselves in a wider world.
  • Not the entire universe just this space around us.
  • Getting the feeling that we are in a context, part of our surrounding enviroment.
  • We are going to be meditating in that space.

Scan

Returning to the body we are going to look at it in more detail.

Check-in once more with the whole body and get a feel for it ‘status’ (not very good word sorry)

Am I stressed, excited, sad, tired…etc? One word is enough. It is a snapshot.

Then start at the top of your head and move down checking each part out without getting stuck.

You could say “Hello eyes, Hello nose..” as you go, it might take a while but that works.

Often early in your practice you zoom down. That is fine just go back and zoom down again.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Breathing pt 1

Focus back on the breath. The sensation of the breath. Wherever feels OK. Sometimes the tip of your nose as the air comes in, sometimes the back of your throat, the middle of your chest, your diaphragm, tummy…  Try different places out if you want, something will work.

If it is really hard put the palm of your hand on your tummy and feel your arm/hand moving in & out.

All that you are focused on is this sensation. In and out. Just that, nothing else (I have made my point)

Breathing pt 2

So you breath in and out for a bit practising focusing and awareness.

You could remind yourself that this is the go to place if you get lost later.

Then allow your breath to calm down. It will get a tiny bit deeper and a tiny bit slower.

Try not to intervene and make it do this.

If it doesn’t get deeper or slower don’t worry, maybe you are calm enough.

Whole Body

Finally we are aware of our entire body as one unit and we let that calm down too.

Don’t slouch 🙂 Back straight

It is OK if this bit ‘feels’ nice. It might feel odd to relax if you have been tense for a long time.

Similarly you might find it hard to relax your muscles and that can be frustrating.

Don’t give yourself a hard time. If not on this out breath, maybe the next, you never know. It can be an exercise in persistence. Be patient with yourself.

That brings us to the end of the Body.

“The more you practice the easier it gets”


How we look at ourselves

Play Video

The Model

This film (it’s a bit long at 30 minutes, sorry) explains the first part of the techniques and ideas we are learning for our sitting meditation.

It is helpful as a recap or an introduction.

This might seem a lot to it at the beginning but with regular practice it will become very familiar. 

Remember just like swimming we are not gong to dive in and do lengths on day one. There is much kicking and paddling to do first.

This framework is based on 

‘The Full Awareness of Breathing’

breathe!

you are alive

is a very easy to follow explanation of the sutra.

Buy it here

and

The Empty Meadow

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from Amazon

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