The moment of noticing a thought is a very powerful moment. It’s really where the real meditation occurs. That’s because there’s a spark of insight at that point, what in technical terms is called meta-awareness: you’re aware of your thought process, not just caught up in it. Now at that moment, there’s lots of possibilities.
You can touch that thought and gently bounce back to attention on the breath and your body. But you might also say “Oh damn, there I go thinking again, I just can’t get away from this.”
One of the wonderful things about meditation is the fact that it allows for such a monumental amount of failure. Failure is just fine. So, if you’re sitting meditation for 10 minutes and you don’t notice your thought until the bell rings at the end, that’s what that session was about. You learn from it. There will be another one. No big deal.
A 10-Minute Meditation to Focus the Mind
- First, feel your bottom on the seat, and your feet on the floor or the ground, flat, touching the earth. Your eyes can be open or closed, head tilted slightly down. Your shoulders are relaxed, your hands are resting on your thighs and your upper arms are parallel to your torso. Just take a moment to feel that posture.
- Now we’re going to use the breath as an anchor for our attention. We don’t concern ourselves with trying to adjust the rate of the breath, we just come with whatever breath we have.
- One of the first things we notice naturally as we try to pay attention to breath coming in and out is our mind is filled with thoughts. It’s like a waterfall of thoughts. And in mindfulness practice, just notice the thought. Touch it, and go back to the breath.
- As you hear the concluding bell, no matter what’s been going on in the session, you don’t need to evaluate it, just let it go. As you’re hearing the reverberation, open your eyes, and enjoy what’s coming next.
Research On the Power of the Breath:
Your brain is actually shaped by your thoughts and your behaviors, which is why stress can take a toll on brain function over time. While some studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can help boost attention and keep the brain sharp as we age, we’ve yet to understand why that happens. Now, a new study published in the journal Progress in Brain Research, suggests that the answer to that question can be found by simply paying attention to the breath.