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My Meditative Moments

The Fickleness of Breath Awareness

by meditative - May 20th, 2016.
Filed under: Mindfulness for Parents & Children.

Bodhi-SuperHero What happens when we observe our breath- when it becomes the focus of our attention? Do we notice our breath becoming deeper and slower? Does the space or gap between our “in-breath” and our “out-breath” tend to grow longer? When our breath begins to slow and deepen- how then does our mind and the rest of our body feel? Does our body seem to relax as our mind begins to quiet and focus with greater concentration on the breath coming in and going out of the body- either in the rise and fall of the belly (abdomen)- or in the movement of air flowing in and out at the tips of the nostrils?

How about during times when we feel distracted and unsettled? Is it difficult for us to stay focused on the breath, with strong thoughts or feelings invading our awareness? When particularly distracted, we may notice that our mind doesn’t seem to settle and quiet all too well- and that our body doesn’t seem to want to relax. With this kind of awareness, we may also notice our breath to be rather short, fast, and shallow (for e.g. breathing out and into our chest rather than our belly). Our body may feel tight and fidgety like when we are worried or upset. This is natural for us to be this way when we are thinking about something that may bother us. When we are thinking or feeling a certain way about something that may be upsetting or disruptive, it can be very difficult for us to stay focused and to concentrate on our breath. Once we recognize that we are paying attention to something else, we can still gently shift and bring our attention back to the breath. It is here- the act of noticing our absence from paying attention that we experience a moment of mindful awareness.

The breath is a wonderful way to bring our attention to what is right here and right now… it is always present. The more we practice, the more we can see how our mind can affect the way we breathe and the way we pay attention.

When we can routinely REMEMBER to bring our attention back to our breathing, again & again… the “fickleness” of breath awareness becomes the “mindfulness” of breath awareness. “Meta-Awareness”- this awareness of our awareness is a super human capacity inherent in both children & adults.


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