Finding a Meditative State through Breath Work.

Via on Mar 24, 2014

Buddhist_monk_meditation

For Part I of this article, read here.

In Part 1 I left off with:

This is the state that everyone wonders how to get to in meditation.

Easier said than done, right? Well there is no wrong way to meditate. As a meditation guide and energy healer, people often like to confess that they “can’t meditate,” or are constantly lost in their thoughts.

You’re not alone! My practice ebbs and flows. But by understanding the layers of our being and how they relate, I believe that we can find more compassion for our practice and a better understanding of what is happening while we meditate. Some days I get lost in my my thoughts (mental layer). Other days I spend most of my meditation really focusing on my emotions (energy layer). On lucky days I get lost in my bliss layer and it feels delicious!

But no matter the process, the longer I practice the more I settle into that layer of nothingness, the fully embraced spirituality at my core. Even if it’s just for a split second, it’s worth it because everything is alright with the world in that one moment and there is nothing that can take that sense of peace and belonging away.

It’s what keeps me coming back for more.

So don’t get frustrated if you think you “can’t meditate,” or if you have no idea what people are talking about when they say they do. Hopefully this article allows you to realize that it’s not some elusive totally unapproachable idea; we all have different ways of going about it.

If the mental layer excites you more, perhaps start off your meditation by repeating a mantra over and over again. A personal favorite of mine is Aum Mani Padme Hum.

If the belief layer is your vibe, affirmations can be a great place to begin.  An affirmation is a positive statement in the present tense about what we are actively creating in our lives, i.e., “I open my heart and mind to receive the power of the Universe; I use my will to create the best possible life for myself and others.”

If you feel your emotional layer is what needs tending to, then a great exercise is to pick an emotion that you’ve been experiencing as of late. Breathe into that emotion and allow it to surface, really feeling it. Once you’ve explored that emotion, decide what is the exact opposite of that emotion and breathe into that opposite, totally embracing it. Once you’ve explored the opposite emotion, go back and forth between the two, until you find that perfect, centered balanced stillness within.

For me, it simply starts with the breath. Once you begin with the breath you can delve into any of the other layers as they present themselves, or as needed. Choose what works for you. And every day, every meditation, can be different. So use your intuition to choose what you need in any given moment. And if you notice yourself getting distracted by any one layer, smile at your awareness of it, and then just come back to your breath.

“Inhale, I know I’m breathing in; exhale, I know I’m breathing out.”

In my experience, this is truly the gateway.

Here’s an exercise to further delve into, become aware of, and connect to our breath. Allow yourself to take a few moments for each part.

Find a comfortable place to sit or stand. Allow yourself to close your eyes.

Simply begin to notice your breath and how it feels to be in your body. 

No need to immediately try to change anything. Let go of any judgement. Just relax.

By bringing your awareness to your breath it will gradually become slower and deeper.

 

Move into a place of compassion, of simple awareness for your body and your breath.

Notice how you’re breathing, what you’ve been experiencing lately. Take as long as you like.

Now begin consciously breathing deeply into your belly.

Feel it rise & fall, place a hand there if it helps to bring awareness to it. 

 

Now breathe as if filling up a glass of water from the bottom to the top…

And then pour it all out—top to bottom.

Breathe into the belly… into the ribs… and into the chest… feel your collar bones expand.

And then release it all—let it all go.

 

Pause gently at the top of your breath in your fullness.

And again at the bottom of your breath in your stillness.

Simply notice what arises and let it flow. Breathe it in and then release it.

Stay as long as you like, until you find a balanced place of calm and a sense of release.

 

Finish by saying thanks in whatever ways work for you. 

 

No matter what state I’m in, I feel that some simple breath awareness is continuously the most beneficial part of my day. It grounds me and helps me to realize that I’m alive, the ruler or my own destiny. It’s relaxing yet stimulating and brings me to a blissful state of balance.

Most simply stated: It’s empowering and makes me feel free.

Whatever layer works for you in meditation, let’s all connect at that space—and enjoy!

 

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Editor: Travis May

Photo: Wiki Commons

About Jessica Cartwright

Jessica Cartwright’s life work is to bring out the spiritual warrior within us all, and to help others recognize and achieve their Personal Legends through the teachings of yoga, travel, guided meditation journeys, energy healing, and all forms of personal exploration. Through her organization, Viva My Yoga, Jessica offers bilingual (spanish/english) yoga, works with many non-profits, and helps organize yoga retreats in her hometown of Bozeman, Montana as well as internationally. Connect with Jessica in nature or on Facebook and Instagram. Let your light shine bright & enjoy!

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