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Breath Meditation

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A meditation on breath, the body and energy.

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Choose a Posture you feel comfortable with.
Then relax the body by concentrating on each part in turn, allowing the stress in that area to fall away. (See Basic Relaxation). Spend a couple of minutes on this.

Then when you're ready concentrate on the breath, and simply watch it come and go. Allow your breathing to become regular and a little deeper, but don't force anything. Breathing in through the nose and out through the nose is best, although breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth is fine too. If your mind wanders off in any direction, gently bring it back to an awareness of each breath you take. Spend a few minutes just 'watching' the air going into your nose, and then out of your nose or mouth.

Now feel the passage of air as it comes in through your nose, and follow it down through the larynx and into the lungs. Be aware of the air on the outbreath passing up from the lungs, back into the nose and out again. Just do this for a few seconds. Now centre on the lungs again. Imagine or visualise the oxygen being absorbed through the tissues of the lungs into the bloodstream on each inbreath, with the red blood cells in the blood and their oxygen-carrying haemaglobin molecules being carried along the pulmonary artery to the heart.

Visualise this oxygen-rich blood being distributed from the heart to the muscle, nerves and other tissues throughout the body. Imagine or visualise the carbon dioxide by-product of energy production in your muscles, that goes back into the blood that returns, passing through the heart back to the lungs. Sense the heart beating. Let your heart be relaxed, and efficient. Visualise the body in it's entirety. Think on how the body is a homeostatic system, that is, it balances itself perfectly when allowed to do so. Be aware of the complexity of it's organisation, which nevertheless functions as one integrated unit. Breath is basic. Breath is life. We breathe in and we breathe out. Feel the energy of each breath, sustaining life.

Now I want you to visualise or imagine that along with the air of each breath we take in, there is some kind of subtle energy or life-force, and that just as we absorb the oxygen from the air, so on some subtle level our bodies also store up this special energy. Visualise the body as a whole with the heart at the centre. Try to imagine the field of your body's subtle energy surrounding you like a cocoon of yellow-orange light. Don't worry about whether this is 'true' or not. Suspend your disbelief if ideas of subtle energy are against the grain for you, and entertain the idea with playfulness. OK?. Now imagine or visualise the energy that your body takes from the air moving through this yellow-orange cocoon. Just relax into this. Don't force anything. Just try and maintain a sense of this energy within you and around you. Try and keep a sense of the whole, and let your mind remain merely watchful, calm, and non-intrusive. Now keep in mind the idea that by simply mainaining this awareness, with a calm, positive, and watchful mind, you are 'allowing' this energy to flow more efficiently. Spend a couple of minutes going up from your feet to your head, taking in each area in turn, imagining this energy flowing freely without hindrance, so that you end up at your hands. Sense the energy in your hands. If it's the case that we're talking about something objective here, then be aware of the fact that this is something you can begin to control.

Now slowly come back to being aware of your physical body, and in your own time come out of the meditation. (See Opening And Closing A Meditation)


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Contribution: Richard Ebbs, Leeds, England.

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