Awareness of the Natural Breath Meditation
In this style of Meditation, you will be taught to meditate on the ‘natural breath’. This means the ordinary, uncontrolled breath that is with us all the time. Observing the natural incoming and outgoing breath brings calmness and tranquillity to the mind while simultaneously sharpening its ability for awareness and concentration. In this fundamental and vital training, we train the mind to observe inwardly in order to bring about transformation. The benefits include greater cognitive control, emotional resilience, less reactive tendencies, feelings of great peace, contentment, abundant joy and happiness. The training in this technique mitigates stress and makes the mind more efficient, balanced and harmonious. Meditation on the natural breath is central to Yoga and Buddhist systems, as well as to contemporary mindfulness models.
There is no liking or disliking for the natural breath. We cannot choose how we would like the next breath to be and this fact helps us to develop non-attachment. The breath is always with us but does not belong to us. We do not have a feeling of ownership over our own breath and so we do not try to hold on to it. The breath comes in to give us life and then goes away again. In turn, we learn to simply observe it as a natural changing phenomenon.
This technique develops great levels of self-awareness as well as awareness of the world around us. Awareness in turn leads to empathy and a greater understanding and wisdom.
We cannot observe a past breath or a future breath. Our breath is always in the present and so the practice develops present-centeredness. Mindfulness in the present brings full appreciation of every moment. Usually, our mind is running in to the past or the future, but the breath trains the mind to be in the here and now.
The breath is constantly changing as one breath flows out and another flows in. This is significant as it reflects the changing nature of everything in existence. Each breath is new and different. Everything we experience in life is undergoing continuous change and therefore working with the breath trains us to respond with equanimity to the phenomenon of change.