Meditations & Visualizations

The Centering Breath

This breathing meditation is a good starting point for anyone wishing to slow their thoughts and still their mind. To find a quiet peace. It is one of the basic forms of 'Calm Abiding' meditation practice.

Sit comfortably in a straight-backed chair or cross-legged lotus-style. Back held straight, head held chin up, facing forward. Eyes closed. Hands typically rest one on top of the other on your lap. Ensure your space is quiet and free of interruptions.

Begin by consciously relaxing your joints and muscles from head to toe (or from foot to head, depending on your preference.) Be sure to relax your jaw! Keeping your mouth slightly open as you breath will help.

Now focus on your breath. More specifically, focus on the sensations of breathing in and breathing out. (Common instructions are to feel the cool air coming in through your nostrils, then feel the warm air going out through your nostrils.) Keep your focus on this in and out - remaining aware of the physicality of your breathing.

Be sure to breathe deep, slowly, avoiding shallow rapid breaths. Feel the air coming into your belly first, belly expanding, then the air filling the chest. Breath out in an opposite manner: air leaving chest first, then slowly expelled from you belly. This will result in deep, full-lung breathing.

If your mind strays, begins to chase a thought about the day's activities or some annoying person or a song or whatever, simply catch yourself and let the thought go. Bring your attention back to your breath in and out. Do not chastise or judge yourself for losing focus on the moment's breath. That only creates a new cascade of thoughts and emotions. Realize that every human mind, even a well-trained one, can sometimes scurry away without warning. That's Maya at work.

Continue this 'Calm Abiding' breathing meditation for 5 to 10 minutes or longer as you feel drawn to practice.

For many, it seems there is a "Catch 22" when it comes to clearing one's mind - with such an endless rush of thoughts, emotions, reactions and so forth it's seemingly impossible to figure out how to shut everything "off."

One method that works for many is to quietly tell themselves as they breathe: "...breathing in... ...breathing out... ...breathing in... ...breathing out...", following their breath. By engaging your language centers with this simple task, it helps to quiet other mental flow.

The practicing of 'Calm Abiding' breath before ceremony, ritual journeying or visualization meditation practices will be of significant benefit to your session. (Try counting 50 of these breaths to slow down your brainwaves and place you into a light trance state.)

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