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mindful minute

We are freed and imprisoned by our thoughts

Tag Archives: breathing

Breathing Meditations

Written by Mark Fontaine

The purpose of breathing meditation is to calm the mind and develop inner peace.

A Simple Breathing Meditation

First, stop distractions and make your mind clearer and more lucid.  Choose a quiet place to sit in a comfortable position. You can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other comfortable position.  You can even sit in a chair.  Keep your back straight and this will prevent your mind from becoming sleepy.

Sit with your eyes partially closed and turn your attention to breathing.  Breathe naturally, through the nose.  Become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and exits the lungs and nose. Try to concentrate on that sensation to the exclusion of everything else.

Your mind may be very busy.  You may even feel that the meditation is making it busier.  Remember, you are simply becoming more aware of how busy your mind usually is.  Resist the temptation to follow different thoughts as they appear.  Remain focused only upon the sensation of breathing.  When your mind wanders, immediately return it to breathing.  Repeat this cycle as many times as needed until you have settled on breathing.

Benefits of Meditation

If you are patient, your distracting thoughts will subside.   You will experience inner peace and relaxation.  Your mind will feel lucid and spacious.  You will feel refreshed.  You will likely stay with this state of mental calm for a while.

Although breathing meditation is only a beginning stage of meditation, it can be powerful.  You will be excited to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling your mind.  You will learn that you don’t have to depend upon external conditions or medications.

Much of our ill health is caused by stress.  Ten or fifteen minutes of breathing meditation each day will reduce this stress.  You will be better equipped to deal with difficult situations.  You will feel warm towards other people.  Your relationships and general health will improve.


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Written by Mark Fontaine

Want a good night’s rest?

Do you have a nightly struggle to capture and control sleep? Has dozing off become a complicated process?  The problem is not sleep but seeing sleep as a mysterious biological process subject to disorders that require intervention. This promotes anxiety when sleep fails to arrive on time. We know how important sleep is and how bad a lack of sleep can make us feel, yet it is difficult to change our habits.

Insomnia is a manufactured problem. The journey back to the time before sleep was made problematic requires patience to trust ourselves.

The pressure to sleep often comes from worries about tasks to be completed the next day. There is no “do” in sleep. Your mind may insist you “do” sleep as though it were an action that can be done at will. This is simply not a physical reality.  Trust your own experience that sleep is simply an end of “doing”.  No skill or effort is involved.

One must see through the haze of constant thinking. We may create pressure to “achieve” sleep, yet the nature of rest has nothing to do with achievement.  Think beyond categorizing consciousness as awake or asleep, and trying to achieve one or the other.

Observe your attempts to obtain sleep.  Surrender to the fact that there is nothing to “capture and control.”  Take deep breaths in and out through your nose.  Focus on your breathing.  Count the number “one” with each inhalation and the number “two” with each exhalation.  Repeat this process over several minutes until relaxation sets in.  Clear your mind and only think of counting each inhalation and exhalation.  Acknowledge any thoughts that come to mind and then gently let them go and once again concentrate on your breathing.

Sleep is a natural part of the rhythm of consciousness.  Reflect upon your own notions about the experience of falling asleep.  One must allow efforts to sleep to subside.  Only then, the fight of trying to sleep looses its grip and is replaced with a willingness to let each moment flow naturally without interruption. 


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