Gil's talk last night was the second one in a series of three on concentration. Amongst many other things, Gil talked about counting breaths as a way to develop single pointed concentration, counting until ten, one number for each breath, and then starting over. If the mind gets lost on the way, simply start over from one. I have tried this method and found that it does not work so well for me. I become too preoccupied with keeping track of the number, and gather some unwanted tension in the process. No, better for me instead is one of these two methods:
First is not counting, but instead focusing on the rising and falling of the abdomen, sometimes saying silently and softly to myself 'rising', 'falling', 'rising', 'falling', etc . . . This, I got from U Pandita. When the pause is long between the out and in breaths, I may even insert a 'pausing' in there. This way, the mind's got no opportunity to branch out and fabricate.
The other way is simply to say one on the in breath and two on the out breath, with each breath.
How about you? What do you do to still the mind?