Journeys Through Meditation

Finding Focus and Clarity

“Watching Your Breath – You meditate on your breath in order to give your mind something to ‘hang on to’ when it starts to jump from one thought to another…It has a calming influence on your body and mind and is beneficial for reducing anxiety, lowering heart rate and blood pressure..” – The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding

My newest meditational journey now begins with The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding. This book is a directory of 140 different meditations to help focus on specific areas one may desire to work on in their life. It gives a complete guide to the practice of meditation and can be used in various ways. I chose to work through it chronologically since I am such an asymmetrical individual.

My first meditation was called Watching Your Breath. I was to do exactly as the title implies – watch my breath. I would sit, breathe and think of nothing else. This was not a very easy task since I am typically bogged down with the writer’s mind, and free-flowing thoughts come naturally to me.

Once I began to count my breath, it reminded me of my earlier years in band class. At that time, we were competing to see who could hold their breath the longest and who could belt out a whole note the longest. I loved those days!

Soon, I noticed that my counts equaled the rate of my heartbeat, and I focused all of my attention on counting the beat of my heart as I exhaled. When they say to count your breath, I don’t think they ever considered a band geek’s reliance on the metronome of her heart.

When I meditate, I typically play relaxing music. This gets me in the mood for meditation and calms my brain of its chatter. At first, the music was overpowering, and I could not hear my breath. I could only feel my heart beats. Then, as my mind began to focus, I drowned out all brain chatter and outside noise. Finally, I began to hear my breath, which was an incredible experience. I felt calmer and more relaxed after just 10 minutes of this session. 

The book says I should practice watching my breath each day, morning and evening. I am not that committed of an individual, but I will use it as a warm-up to my other mediations. The focus and clarity that I receive from watching my breath will help me when I enter the varying forms of meditation.