This is a first method of meditation that you can use in order to become aware of who you are. You can do it anytime, anywhere! You don’t need beads, you don’t need ashrams, you just need your breath!
In your imagination, see the air going in and out of your nose. Notice the breath going in. Notice the breath going out. And notice the little transition point between the ingoing and outgoing breath. Keep your awareness focused on your breath. Let the thoughts come and go. If you notice feelings in your body, just let them go. Notice the thoughts, let them go and come back to your breath. Let the thoughts go, like leaves floating on a stream. Thoughts! Let them come and go and bring your awareness back to your breath – deeper, deeper, quieter. Follow the breath carefully. Follow the breath, the moment of turning – the out breath, the moment of turning. The silence in the room – notice it. Come back to the breath. The breath is the focal point. It is the primary object. The rest of the universe comes and goes. Problems come into the mind. Notice them. Bring your awareness back to the breath. Stay right in this place, in this moment, in the now.
With this exercise, follow your breath to quieten your mind. Breathing in and breathing out of the heart to deepen your receiving of love and developing deep compassion, you become an environment of quiet – of love, of presence. Have compassion for yourself, allow yourself to be beautiful and all else will follow.
Focus your attention in the middle of your chest. Now, just as if you had two nostrils attached to your chest, breathe as if you were breathing in and out the middle of your chest. Let your nose breathe in or out the oxygen and imagine that your chest is simultaneously breathing in a very soft, very delicate mist. Breathe in… breathe out… When you breathe in, imagine the mist pouring through your body. Let it pour up into your head – into your arms, into your torso, into your legs and, when you breath out now, breath out all the heaviness – all of the tightness, all of the guardedness, all of the disappointment, all of the pain and then, once again, fill the breath with this very, very soft mist – letting it wash through you, just as if it were a “drain cleaner”, cleaning through all the tubes. When it dislodges something – a sadness or fear – just breathe it out. Breathe deeply and then, once you have loosened some of the stuff that holds you back from knowing who you are, you can, in this moment, then become like a director of energy and take in this fine mist and breath it out and send it towards those beings who suffer, whether their suffering be physical, psychological or spiritual. Just as if you were surrounding them with a loving space that says “do what you must do, but know that I am here with you”. Use the power of your own thoughts and the openness of your heart to give love to all beings. You can get it so that every in breath is a blessing you receive and every out breath is a blessing you transmit…
By Wendy Sheppard
Article first published, Complete Yoga, October Issue, 1991