Your Goal: Natural breathing in your body, with calmed directed thinking.
“Always mindful, they breathe in; mindful they breathe out.” MN10 The Buddha.
Back: Meditation 04: Joyful Presence.
Next: Meditation 06: Whole of Each Breath.
Your fifth step as an i meditator is to introduce the meditative skill of passively experiencing the natural flow of your breathing in your body, without controlling or interfering with it in any way, to develop the continuity of your attention and train your mind to let go of control in daily life.
Breathing is a wonderful meditation object on which to develop your skill in mindful observing because it has particular qualities that no other meditation object has:
It is by observing these changes within your breathing as it transitions from autonomous, to stressed and back again, that makes breathing a wonderful object for both tranquility & insight.
Mindful breathing gives access to pleasure.
The natural flow of breathing within your body, when we observed through a mind inclined towards letting go, is relaxed is pleasurable. There is a wonderful gentle stretch of your body that can be experienced every time the breath comes in, and a natural calming release that can be experienced every time your breath goes out.
Finding the pleasure of letting go in all aspects of your meditation is both the key and the path. At first you may find that you can't find the pleasure within these simple experiences: relaxing in your body, relaxing in your breathing, relaxing in your mind.
Accessing the pleasure of letting go.
It is important to understand that the pleasure of letting go by relaxing effort is always available, and at first you will need to train your mind to perceive it.
Just like learning another language at first your mind may not recognise the pleasure of letting go. With gentle practice this perception will change, and your mind will incline towards this pleasure of letting go, causing it to grow.
This pleasure will settle the restless wandering of your mind and bring balance to your effort making awareness of your breathing over a period of time much easier.
This skill of being aware of the pleasure of your breathing will develop your ability to let go of control during mindfulness of breathing, and importantly, in your daily life.
As relaxation of your body and mind grows, you will become aware of the natural flow of breathing within your body. The pleasure of simply being aware of this natural breathing will begin to teach your mind that there is a reward in letting go.
Your meditation is the same as Meditation 04, except you now develop mindfulness of the experience of the natural flow of each in-breath and out-breath within your body.
Step 1: Sit down for meditation on a chair or the floor and gently close your eyes. Develop mindfulness of your body & joyful presence as in Meditations 03 & 04.
Meditation 05 Additions:
Step 2: Become aware of your breathing as it flows within your body.
Step 3: Feel the gentle stretch as the breath draws in, and then relax as the breath goes out.
Step 4: Start to be more aware of how nice this gentle stretch and relaxation feels.
Step 5: Smile with your eyes into your breathing as you would towards a loved one, letting them know how much you care. Feel the gentle happiness of letting go grow within your mind.
Step 6: Apply the GOSS formula when your attention wanders.
Adjust Your GOSS Formula
At this stage, make a simple adjustment to your GOSS Formula.
GOSS: Ground --> Observe --> Soften --> Smile.
The fifth marker of mindfulness of breathing, the natural flow of breathing in your body, naturally arises when the joyful presence of the pleasure of letting go enters your mind.
Meditative Hindrances are signs of an imbalance in either your effort or the structure of your attention. It is skillful to view them as an opportunity for insight into your mind rather than something to overcome.
(06) Directed Thinking, (07) Wandering.
Antidote: Curiosity + the GOSS formula, use awareness of sensations within your body that you learned in Meditation 04 as your grounding point.
Meditation techniques for weakening hindrances:
You can learn these traditional techniques and add them to your meditation.
You are ready to progress to Meditation 06: Whole of Each Breath when:
Control: If you have difficulty being aware of your breathing without your mind habitually controlling it, Meditation: Skill in Allowing will help you weaken this control.
In this simple map you can observe that when practicing Meditation 05 (blue line) the main hindrances to your meditation will be Directed Thinking & Wandering.
The Experiential Marker: awareness of Natural Breathing, developed by Meditation 05 is the method you should use to calm/weaken the present hindrance.
During quiet times you can bring this simple skill of being mindful of your breathing into your daily life to relax your body and refresh your mind.
From the foundation of mindfulness of your body, as you learned in Meditation Skill 01, you can start to observe how the experience of your body changes throughout the day as a direct reflection of your state of mind.
What is meant by 'direct reflection of your mind' is that your current state of mind can be observed by your body's reaction to it.
Emotions and feelings of pleasantness and unpleasantness you experience in your body are reflections of your state of mind.
It is helpful to observe these reflections know clearly how you are relating to things within your life.
Applying your GOSS: ground --> observe --> soften --> smile formula will help to relax any of these resistances and gradually weaken them over time.
From your foundation of GOSS, you can begin to train attention skills learnt in seated meditation, into your daily life.
Meditation 05 in Daily Life: