In Step 1 of “The Breathing Space”, becoming aware of the present moment in its fullness.
By deliberately adopting an erect and dignified posture.
Whether sitting or standing.
Allowing your eyes to close if that is possible or appropriate at this moment.
Otherwise, keeping them open.
And in either case, resting in an awareness of your experience.
Opening to it and asking “What is my experience, right now”
“What thoughts are going through the mind.
As best as you can, noting thoughts as mental events.
Perhaps even becoming aware of their contents in words.
“What feelings are here?
Turning towards an opening towards any discomfort or unpleasant feelings.
“What body sensations are here right now??”
Perhaps quickly scanning the body to pick up any sensations or tightness
Now in “Step 2”, gathering and redirecting your attention to focus on the physical sensations of the breath.
Just breathing itself.
Moving in close to the sense of the breath in the belly.
Feeling the sensations in the abdominal wall.
As it expands with each in-breath and falls back with each out-breath.
With full awareness — following the breath, all the way in, and all the way out.
Using the breathing itself to anchor yourself into the present moment.
And now in “Step 3”, expanding the field of awareness around your breathing so that in addition to the sensations of the breath it includes the body as a whole.
Your posture, and your facial expressions.
How they feel from the inside.
if you become aware of any sensations of discomfort, tension, or resistance, experimenting gently with breathing into them on the in-breath, and breathing out from them on the out-breath.
Perhaps feeling a softening and releasing with each out-breath.
If you care to, perhaps saying to yourself on the out-breath, “it’s already here. whatever it is, it’s already here. let me feel it.”
And now, as best you can, bringing this expanded, more spacious and accepting awareness to the next moments of your day.
Whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
As it continues to unfold.
When it comes to meditation, mountains have a lot to teach.
Having archetypal significance in all cultures.
Mountains are sacred places.
People have always sought spiritual guidance and renewal in them and among them.
The mountain is the symbol of the prime axis of the world.
The dwelling place of the Gods.
And the place the spiritual leader encounters God and receives his commandments and covenant.
Mountains are held sacred
Embodying dread and harmony, hardness and majesty
Rising above all else on our planet.
They beckon and overwhelm with their sheer presence
Their nature is elemental.
Rock. Rock hard. Rock solid.
Mountains are the place of visions.
Where one can touch the panoramic scale of the world and its intersection of life’s fragile but tenacious rootings.
Mountains have played key roles in our history and our pre-history.
To traditional peoples, mountains were and are still mother, father, guardian, protector, ally.
In meditation practice it can be helpful sometimes to borrow these wonderful archetypal qualities of mountains.
And use them to boot our intentionality and resolve.
To hold the moment with the elemental purity and simplicity.
The mountain image held in the minds eye and body can freshen our memory of why we are sitting here in the first place.
And what it truly means each time to take our seat and dwell in the realm of non-doing.
Mountains are quintessentially emblematic of abiding presence and stillness.
The Mountain Meditation can be practiced in the following way or modified to resonate with your personal vision of the mountain and its meaning.
It can be done in any posture.
But I find it most powerful when I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor.
So that mybody looks and feels most mountain like.
Inside and outside.
Being in the mountain but not at all necessary.
It is the inner image which is the source of power here.
Picture the most beautiful mountain you know of
One that speaks personally to you.
As you …in the mind’s eye.
notice the mountain’s shape.
The steep or gently sloping sides.
Notice how massive it is.
A beauty emanating from its unique signature or form.
Transcending particular shape or form.
Perhaps your mountain has snow at the top and trees on the lower slope.
Perhaps it has one prominent peak.
Perhaps a series of peaks and a plateau.
However it appears, just sit and breathe with the image of this mountain.
Observing it…noting its qualities.
When you feel ready.
See if you can bring the mountain into your own body.
Your head becomes the lofty peak.
Your buttocks become.
Or to your chair.
Experience in your body.
Invite yourself to become a breathing mountain.
Completely what you are.
Beyond words and thought.
Now as we all know, throughout the day.
As the sun travels through the sky.
moment to moment in the mountain’s granite stilness.
Even the untrained eye can see changes within the hour.
And paint the life of his inanimate subject.
Transformed cathedral, river or mountain.
And therefore wake up the viewer’s eye.
The mountain just sits.
Simply being itself.
It remains still.
And as the weather changes moment by moment..
Calmness abiding by all change.
To begin the regular practice of meditation, of looking into ourselves.
Let’s arrange to spend this time on a regular basis in a place where we can comfortably still the body in a time when we will not be interrupted.
Allowing this to be a time in which we set aside the usual mode in which we operate — that of more or less constant doing — and switch to a mode of non-doing.
A mode of simply being — of allowing ourselves to be.
Of becoming aware of our being.
This of course will tend to slow time down and is best accomplished by making this time and coming to sit in an erect and dignified posture.
Either on a sit back chair or on a cushion on the floor.
And as we allow the body to become still — just brining our attention to the fact that we’re breathing.
And becoming aware of the movement of the breath — as it comes into your body and as it leaves your body.
Not manipulating the breathing in anyway or trying to change it — simply being aware of it and the feelings associated with breathing.
And if you feel comfortable with it — observe the breathing deep down in your belly.
The abdominal wall as it expands outwards with the in-breath.
As it falls back towards your spine on the out-breath.
And simply being totally here.
In each moment.
With each breath.
Not trying to do anything.
Not trying to get any place.
Simply being with your breathing.
Just giving full care and your full attention to each in-breath.
And to each out-breath.
As they follow one after the other.
In a never-ending cycle and flow.
Now of course you will find that from time-to-time your mind will wander off into thoughts, fantasies, anticipations of the future, worrying, thoughts of the past, memories, whatever.
But when you notice that your attention is no longer here, no longer on your breathing, and without giving yourself a hard time, just intentionally escort your focus and attention back to your breathing and pick up wherever it happens to be.
On an in-breath or on an out-breath.
And just observe.
And keeping your attention here.
As if you were riding the waves of your breathing.
Fully conscious of the duration of the in-breath and the duration of the out-breath from moment to moment.
And as the tape finishes, recognizing that you have spent this time intentionally nourishing yourself by dwelling in this state of non-doing.
This state of being — intentionally making time for yourself to be who you are.
And you might just want to congratulate yourself for taking the time and energy to do this.
And allowing yourself the occasion to do this on a regular basis.
And nourish yourself in a deep way.
And to allow the benefits of this practice to expand into the active expression of your life in every domain as it continues to unfold.