Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ways to Concentration in Meditation

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?


  1. Hi - I just tweeted you about Pema's take on tonglen.

    The instructions that have stayed with me are all about mmmm letting be. Don't pull, don't push away. Thoughts come? Yes, but they go, too! :-)

    "Like the sound of a waterfall in the background."


  2. send love to you

  3. i want to try Bud - dho. Focusing on one breath at a time

  4. Thank you for all your suggestions. The main take away for me is to find what works for oneself. Everybody responds to different techniques. Hence, not getting discouraged if one does not work. The main thing is to keep the mind focused, and with no time to indulge in its usual (unwholesome) fabrications. Such a gift we can give oneself, these moments when the mind is no longer stressed!

  5. I find counting hard, too, but it does provide a good measure of how long it takes the mind to wander off. I don't count often, but come back to it when all else fails. I have a particular route through the body that I use to maintain concentration.

  6. Thanks Peter! And yes, sweeping through the body is another way. Ruth Denison instructs to focus on breath first, and to use the body as an alternate object in the background. Going to the feet or the hands has worked for me in the past.

  7. I agree with this...focus and concentration are the basic thing of successful meditation process. But its not easy to focus and forget all thoughts when you be meditate, you will have to learn about some meditation techniques. If you have no idea about meditation and its procedure then you can visit chamundaswamiji.com