This is a great breathing meditation for beginners. Usually, meditating on the breath is not interesting enough to hold our attention, but this meditation makes it much easier. When we’re trying to establish one pointed concentration we need to have something to keep our busy – and often distracted – mind captivated. This calm abiding meditation technique, called Qualified Rounds of Breath, allows us a bit of creativity so we can make the breath more interesting.
When we meditate on our breath, our biggest obstacle is thinking about other thoughts. Since our thoughts are often so fascinating, especially compared to the plain and humble breath, thoughts always triumph in this battle for our attention. But this technique will help us to hold our attention on the breath much longer, as it uses our very tendency of having thoughts to its advantage. This is also an extremely therapeutic meditation technique as it allows us to breathe in something new and breathe out something we really need to let go of.
Science has been making major leaps in its understanding of the health benefits of meditation. Not only has meditation proven to be able to slow people’s heart rate and reduce their blood pressure, but the power of positive thoughts are also thought to have an impact on physical matter. The studies of Dr Masaru Emoto is an example of this.
Irrespective of its health benefits, I fell in love with this meditation technique as soon as I tried it. Although I often love to go back to the simplicity of the Theravada method of just concentrating on the air coming and going out of your nostrils – I usually find that this is my go-to meditation technique, especially when my mind is particularly busy or I have something I personally need to let go of. And if I find that I am still not able to achieve good concentration with this technique I will often return to meditating on the body (as taught in a previous episode), since that can be even more grounding.
Lastly, as I mentioned at the start, this is a great meditation for beginners as it helps us to combat the influence of distracting thoughts so we can stay with the breath for longer. But once we’ve achieved some stability in our meditation and gained some mastery of our concentration, which comes from having done repeated sessions, it is recommended to use a more simple meditation technique that has fewer elements to it. This may include meditations such as the Theravada meditation technique of simply being aware of the breath, or meditating on an object in front of us, like a single flower. These meditations will allow us to ‘laser beam’ our concentration, so to speak, so we can access deeper levels of consciousness, which is necessary to achieve one-pointed meditation and gain the ultimate realisations that only come from deep meditation.
You can find a complete collection of my videos on Buddhism and meditation at The Enthusiastic Buddhist Society.
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