While meditation may seem like something soft and squishy, it really does have the potential for giving the individual a lot of power in honing attention and increasing a certain richness in life. However, starting a practice may not be the highest priority because until a benefit of something is really felt, there is an important part of us that does not recognize the potential and, therefore doesn’t care to follow through. It’s like the difference between reading music review and listening to the music itself.

The single-breath meditation may be a good way to recognize a small bit of the potential found in meditation.

Meditation comic

 

My latest, greatest definition of meditation is as follows:
 

Meditation begins in a regularly practiced focus.

 

In other words, if you focus on an object with some consistent frequency, you are beginning a meditation.  What type of meditation may depend upon the object in question.  It could be something concrete like a ball or a leaf or something abstract like an emotion or a concept.

Why would a person do such a thing?  For the same reason one runs in circles around a track or lifts a heavy weight repeatedly. It improves not only the capacity to do that task, but it also improves general fitness and the ability to do other things.  A jogger running a track improves endurance through many changes in the body including increasing the capacity to process oxygen and metabolize the body’s fuels, improving the flow of the circulatory system, etc.

In meditation, one sharpens our most basic tool of attention.

Finding the time for even a five-minute breathing meditation can be difficult (though I think very important).  Until then, however, why not try something that takes the space of only one breath?

 

The single-breath meditation

The single-breath meditation is just that. It is a sustained focus upon one breath.

Just sit up straight to allow a good flow of air into your lungs, allow your breath to move on its own, and concentrate upon your breath from the beginning of an inhale to the end of an exhale.  If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the focus.

If you decide to try it, give it a go for a couple of weeks – maybe two times per day. I’d be interested to know what you think.