Daily mindfulness of breathing will develop your skill in paying attention to your present experience.
The mental skills that you will be training are:
*Grounding, focusing, following, opening, softening and abandoning.
JUST SITTING HERE
Your first mindfulness training is to gently keep the experience of your body as it sits in meditation in mind and to observe every time your attention moves away from it. This will develop your first mindfulness skills of grounding awareness within your body and the ability to observe any habitual movements of your attention.
You do this by bringing awareness to the different sensations within your body, such as: warmth, coolness, heaviness and touch, keeping them gently in mind. Then turning your effort towards observing every time your attention habitually wanders away.
JUST THIS BREATH
Your second mindfulness training is to bring awareness to the flow of breathing within your body and to observe whenever your attention wanders away from it. While your attention was held in a very general way when 'grounding your awareness' in your body, it is now focused more closely in on the experience of each in and out-breath.
To aid in the development of mindfulness and concentration, as your breath comes in, you silently say "in"; as your breath goes out you silently say "out". The important aspect to focus on is the continuous 'knowing' of the experience of each breath and whether it is an in-breath or an out-breath. Whenever your attention wanders, which it will, it is enough to acknowledge it by silently saying "wandering".
LENGTH OF BREATH
Your third mindfulness training is to develop continuous mindfulness and one-pointed concentration, to settle the mental hindrances and to develop clarity of awareness. You do this by intentionally paying closer attention to each breath by experiencing its beginning, middle and end. Rubbing awareness along the length of each breath.
To begin this closer observation intentionally bring your awareness to the moment each in-breath begins. As you do this the middle and end of the in-breath will become clearer to you. You then bring awareness to the moment each out-breath begins. As you do this the middle and end of the out-breath will become clearer to you. You now keep the beginning, middle and end of each breath in mind, experiencing its length.
Your fourth mindfulness training is to develop the MIDL skill of opening to whatever you are experiencing now. Opening to experience means allowing yourself to 'feel' your relationship towards your current experience. This may be dislike, frustration, sadness, joy or contentment. Regardless what you are experiencing this is the time, protected by mindfulness and concentration, to allow yourself to deeply feel it.
To aid in 'opening' to all experience it is helpful to change the way that you perceive your breathing. By widening your awareness to experience your whole body, rather than just your breathing, you will start to become aware of how your whole body 'responds' to breathing. You will notice that as your breath draws in, your body fills and expands out-wards. As you breath goes out, your body deflates relaxing in-wards. Awareness of the expansion and contraction of your body will make you more aware of the experience of your six senses (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind), allowing you to 'open' to them on each in-breath.
Your fifth mindfulness training is to develop the MIDL skill of 'softening into' your relationship towards whatever you are experiencing now. Softening means to turn the physical and mental hardness of resistance into the softness of acceptance. As your breath draws in and your body expands you 'open' to whatever you are experiencing now. As your breath goes out and your body deflates you 'soften into' your relationship towards whatever you are experiencing now. Open, soften, open soften; acceptance.
Once you have developed awareness of the natural expansion of your body with each in-breath and the natural deflation of your body with each out-breath, free from control; you learn the skill of 'borrowing' the deflation of your body with the out-breath. By aligning your awareness with the deflation of the out-breath and softening all effort with the natural relaxation of the body, all mental activity is calmed and all resistance abandoned. This is the foundation of the MIDL skill of deconditioning negative habitual patterns from the mind.
Your sixth mindfulness training is to develop the MIDL skill of abandoning all participation. Abandoning means to give up all effort, to abandon all effort, both physical and mental, towards the experience of all six senses. Like carrying a heavy bag on a long journey and then hopping onto a train, you can put the heavy bag down and allow the train to carry it for you. "I do not have to do anything anymore, just relax". In the same way the momentum of your meditation practice carries you into Stillness through the abandoning of the desire to participate in any of your six senses.
To aid in abandoning you turn your awareness to just the deflation of your body with each out-breath, following it all the way to the end. You relax and wait for the in-breath to draw in again then abandon all effort along the length of the out-breath. You are now very sensitive to mental activity within your mind, abandoning participation within it, allowing the deflation of your body to teach your mind how to relax.
Begin your day with the relaxing guided mindfulness of breathing meditations