Today we are going to observe our breath. We’ve worked on embodiment, a felt sense of “I”, and now it is time to just observe the breath.
We will do a lot of “just sitting” today. Just sitting means being alert, alive, responsive, creative, and quiet.
The last few classes I gave some directing questions to see what we could notice, to help you on the path to awareness, but today there are no questions, just a guiding statement. I’d like you to follow your breath. See if it fills up your whole body or if it transcends your physical body.
When we breath in there is a pause before we breath out. When we breath out there is a pause before we breath in again. This is called the ‘still point’ in the middle of each breath.
I’d like to you take some time observing this pause. Do not change it or do anything with it. No need to expect it to be a certain length, or even to match. Can you simply notice the pause between each breath? If it helps you to keep your attention focused, you may count each pause. For example, in breath, pause, one. Out breath, pause, two. In breath, pause, three. Out breath, pause, four. etc. When you get to 7, go back to one and start again. I will leave you with a few minutes of silence to practice this, and will ring the bell twice to end.
I will give a short meditation to help those who are new to meditating enter their practice. If you’d like to not listen, please mute my voice. The bell will ring over sound so you will be able to hear it and can then turn on your voice when you are ready.
Make yourselves comfortable, whether by sitting, standing, or lying down. Close your eyes. If you are in a place where you are comfortable making noise, do the following with me. If not, just let out a big sigh. Take a slow, deep breath in. When you exhale, give a big roar like a lion or deep sigh. Great! One more time…
Just relax, let go of your day. Realize that all the stresses you’ve experienced are over, they can not harm you. Release them into the earth around you. The Earth is good at recycling.
I will leave you in a few minutes of silence. [I gave 15 minutes of silence, but you can go for as long as you are comfortable. Don’t be afraid to push your boundary though; the uncomfortable zone is where progress happens.]
Take your time slowly coming out of the mind-practice. Bring your attention back to your body. Deepen your breath. Slowly wiggle your toes and fingers, and when you feel ready, slowly open your eyes. As you are opening your eyes, try to notice how you are feeling.
I would like to ask some questions for discussion.
What did you notice in this practice?
How does the breath feel?
Where do you breathe? Where does it enter? Where does it go? Can you feel the movement within your nostrils, down the trachea, and in your lungs? Do you breath with your nose or mouth or both? Do you feel the movements in your best, back, and abdomen? Can you feel it in your hands and feet?
What part of your body moves with your inhalations and exhalations? Place your hand on your abdomen or chest if you can’t feel any movements sometimes your hands are able to feel more subtle movements.
What is your rate of breathing? How long does it take for you to inhale? Does your exhale match the inhale? How many breathes do you take per minute?
How are you feeling about the last few weeks?
Has your definition of awareness changed doing this exercise?