Inspired by my current reading of Joseph Goldstein's "The Experience of Insight", I decided to give his "Concentration Game" a try. It goes like this:
For every breath that you take count one. the next breath, two; up to ten. Not missing a breath. For each out breath, or falling of the abdomen, count one number. If you miss the count because you forget what number you're on-back to one. If you miss a count because your mind wanders and goes off the breath-back to one. Ignore everything else.
As I sat, dutifully counting each breath, mindful mind stepped in also. Keeping track of fleeting thoughts. Thinking. Breath . . . . Thinking . . . Ah! body protesting. Pain in the neck, the shoulders. Throat needing to clear, then forgetting, with breath. Thought, this counting breath is easy. Surprised. Breath, counting. Thought, is that all? Unpleasant feeling. Not sure at first, what's being stirred. Breath, breath, breath . . . Thought, what is the point? Ah, ah! doubt. Knowing mind makes room for courage to keep on sitting, and trust. Counting breath. Simple. Until bell rings.
A delicious convergence of practice, and knowledge of, and faith in Dharma teachings.