This is a variation of the “Simple Breathing Meditation” but with an added strategy to help the mind focus.
I find this technique really effective. It’s still about as simple as meditations get, but the extra focus helps limit how much your mind wanders.
As with the “Simple Breathing Meditation“, the basic premise behind this meditation is that the breath is always present whether we are paying attention to it or not. So whenever our mind pulls us away from concentrating on the breath, inevitably we will notice at some point, and are able to easily come back to it.
There’s a point during every breath (whether meditating or not), where the air pauses briefly before reversing direction.
So the simple breathing meditation focuses on the airflow itself, while this medication focuses on the “NOT breath”. That little pause at the top of the in-breath.
It’s phenomenally powerful.
So how do we focus on that pause?
We use a little visualization technique to draw attention to it. I call it, “The Remarkable Bedsheet Technique”.
Why remarkable? Because it’s remarkably simple and remarkably effective. It’s remarkable in its simple effectiveness.
In a nutshell, you picture your breath as if it were a bedsheet being lofted onto a bed.
When you make your bed (I hope you make your bed), when you’re putting the flat sheet on, you loft it in the air and then let it gently float down onto the mattress. It usually takes me half a dozen attempts. My wife, first time every time. She’s that good 🙂
But basically you imagine your breath is like that bed sheet. As you get to the top of your in-breath, just watch it gently hover there momentarily and then follow it as it slowly starts to fall again on the out-breath.
That silence at the top of the breath is the gateway to the stillness you’re looking for. It’s so peaceful. So tranquil. You don’t even need to meditate to find it. It’s there during every breath.
If you haven’t already checked out the Meditation Boot Camp, I highly recommend starting there first to avoid some of the many pitfalls. This meditation assumes you already know how to set up your space, remove distractions, relax your body and get the fundamentals right.
- Set up your environment
- Sit in your favorite meditation posture
- Close your eyes
- Relax your body
- Take a few deep breaths in and out to signal to your body that you’re about to start
- Relax into a slow and natural breathing pattern
- When you’re ready, focus very carefully on that stillness at the top of each and every breath. Hold the stillness slightly and then follow it down into the out-breath. Picture your breath like the bed sheet, hovering motionless and then falling gently.
- Do this for as long as you like (15-20 minutes recommended)
- When you find your mind has wandered, gently bring it back to focusing on that stillness at the top of the breath
- When you are finished, slowly open your eyes and become aware of your surroundings
That’s it. It literally doesn’t get any easier than that. You don’t need anything special. You always have your breathing with you. If you don’t, you’ve got bigger problems.
Tips and Things to Look For
Gentle – I always say this, but be gentle with yourself. This is a new technique and might take some time. Don’t get upset if your mind wanders. Don’t criticize yourself when it does.
Stillness – obviously look for the stillness. The silence. Calm. Nothingness. The void. Don’t watch the breath, watch the “NOT breath”.
Expand the stillness – at each breath, try to notice the stillness a little before the top of the breath and a little after when it’s falling again. See the stillness for longer.
Don’t hold your breath – if you hold your breath, your throat tightens and introduces tension. But at the top of each breath just slow down and let it hover there gently. Your throat should not change shape for the in-breath or out-breath. No swallowing etc. Just relaxed.
Don’t focus on the breathing, focus on the gap – don’t follow the sensations of the air moving in your nose or throat, anticipate the stillness and watch that. Focus only on that.
Hold your body still – sometimes your body will want to float with the sensation. Whilst very pleasant, it introduces a lot of other sensations to distract you. Keep the body still and focus on the void.
Have fun and enjoy.
Leave comments below if you have any questions.