Meditate for Beginners - Breathing (photo: Looking Glass)
Breathing is one of the first important techniques used to meditate for beginners.
It is important because it’s powerful, and it is easy to do. There are many techniques of meditation. And I’ll write about them in due time here.
But as a start, breathing is the simplest one. And it is quite effective!
Breathing works because it is something that comes from the outside, and goes right within your body. So by concentrating on this flow of air, that goes deep within your body, you automatically start to devote your attention towards your inner body.
Breathing is also very natural. It is something that follows you wherever you go. So, it’s an extremely important tool to meditate for beginners. Wherever you are, wherever you go, whatever situation you are in, you have your breathing with you, and by devoting your attention to it you’ll have this mental hook with the meditative state. This will automatically calm you down and bring you back to your relaxed, meditative, state.
What about your breath should you concentrate on?
Most people like to concentrate on the breathing right at their nostrils. This is the place where you feel the air flow most, and so it gets easier to use breathing to your advantage to reach the meditative state.
Then there is breathing frequency. Should it be natural, or should it be dictated by some specific rhythm you impose? Ideally you should go with your natural way of breathing. So, no big inflows and outflows. Inspirations, and expirations. It’s mostly your normal breathing. Just that you concentrate on it.
Going deeper in the meditative state, when breathing becomes natural, it should feel like you are not really breathing anymore. You fall in a trance where you don’t really realize that you are breathing, even though you’re still concentrating on breathing.
It’s good to inhale from your nose, and exhale from your mouth. While doing it, think of inhaling “the good”, and exhaling, expelling, “the bad”.
What’s the point?
Ok. But why all of this concentration on breathing?
The point is that you want to remove your thoughts. Meditative state is defined as absence of thoughts. And this is hard to do.
Most of the time you’ll sit, and thoughts will begin to arrive at you. And instead you want to concentrate on “the now”. Not on the future. Not on the past. Not on other thoughts.
That’s why breathing helps. Breathing is something happening now. In you. Within you. And by concentrating on it you are doing something that will not allow you to be attacked by thoughts, and to concentrate on other thoughts. Those “other thoughts” are the enemy of meditation.