September 26, 2012

Meditation Instructions: One of the Simplest but Hardest Things to Do.

Photo by Andra de Keijzer

Meditation Instructions #1:

Keep your attention connected with the very beginning of the inhalation, sensing the physical sensations that characterize the start of each breath.

Become breathing; Become those sensations.

No need to visualize the start of the breath—find the feelings that comprise the inception of inhaling.

Let go of the surface concerns of the mind.

Whenever the mind wanders away, gently come back to the actual start of the breath.

There is no need to judge the wandering mind; when you notice that the mind has wandered, simply return to the breath without evaluation.

Let the beginning of each breath hold you.

As if your entire body was a sensing organ, sense or feel the physical experience.

Simply allow it to be there.

Drop whatever commentary or evaluations you may have about the experience in favor of seeing and sensing the experience directly in and of itself.

Carefully explore the particular sensations that make it up—hardness or softness, warmth or coolness, tingling, tenseness,pressure, burning, throbbing, lightness, and so on.

Let your awareness become as intimate with the experience as you can.

Notice what happens to the sensations as you are mindful of them.

Do they become stronger or weaker, larger or smaller, or do they stay the same?

How do sensations change as you give attention to them?

Be alert for when the focus of your attention moves from the physical sensations to your reactions to the sensations and your thoughts about them.

If this happens move your attention back to the felt-sense of the sensations.

Once a physical sensation has disappeared or is no longer compelling, you can return to mindfulness of breathing until some other sensation calls your attention.

Sensation arise and also pass.

It’s easier to see arising than passing.

Watch the way sensations disperse.


End session.


When you begin moving your body and stretching after you get up from meditation, go slow and listen and look openly at whatever is in and around you.



Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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Michael Stone (Centre of Gravity)

Centre of Gravity is a thriving community of Yoga and Buddhist practitioners integrating committed formal practice and modern urban life. We offer weekly sits, text studies, yoga practice and dharma talks. Retreats, guest speakers, online courses and audio talks deepen the feel. Each week Michael Stone dishes a talk, often on primary texts by Dogen, Patanjali, and the Buddha, that are collaged with today’s headlines and psychological insights to produce an engaged shape shifting dharma, at once historical, personal and political. Notes on these talks by Mike Hoolboom form the heart of this blog.

Michael Stone is a yoga teacher and Buddhist teacher. He travels internationally teaching about the intersection of Yoga, Buddhism and mental health. He has written four books with Shambhala Publications on ethics, yoga’s subtle body, inner/outer pilgrimmages, and the sometimes uneasy blend of social engagement and Buddhism. Please check out the website at www.centreofgravity.org .