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MIDL 10/52: Expanding The Whole Breath

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In MIDL Mindfulness Training 10/52 you develop your awareness of the expansion and deflation of your whole body as it responds to breathing. At first this perception is most clear as movement in the shoulders, upper chest and upper back area but gradually it expands until your whole body is experienced as breathing itself. This then creates the foundation from which you can 'open' and allow yourself to 'feel' your relationship towards any experience that arises within the field of your six senses with the expansion of each in-breath. Submit Your Question

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Can't Feel Expansion

Your Question: I enjoyed the section "softening into the hearts centre" but my logical and reasoning mind prevents me from feeling and experience the expanding of breath in the whole of my body(doubt in the teacher arises). What should I do?

Stephen Procter: Observe and Soften into the experience of doubt, it is now your meditation object.

In regards to the expanding breath there is nothing mystical here. Breathing in meditation has nothing to do with the process of respiration, it has to do with our experience of breathing.

This can be experienced in two ways:
1. As the conceptual breath moving into the body on the in-breath and moving out of the body on the out-breath.
2. As the non-conceptual expansion of the body as it fills on the in-breath and the deflation of the body as it empties on the out-breath.

** Be aware of your shoulders, chest and upper back now. Take a big breath in and notice as your chest fills it has an expanding outwards feeling. Notice as your breath goes out your shoulders, chest and upper back drop as your body deflates.

This expansion and deflation is natural and is happening throughout the day, what changes the way we experience the breathing is the concept that breathing moves in and out, instead of the experienced reality that the body moves out and in.


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Breathing Into Extremities

Your Question: I have some trouble breathing into my extremities, but I have a whole week to work on this.

Stephen Procter: There is no need to breathe into your extremities. During this exercises we are not trying to breathe into all parts of our body but rather developing awareness of the breath as it is naturally experienced throughout our whole body. However breathing appears to you if exactly how it should be, your task is just to cultivate the awareness of it.


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Meditation is Too Slow

Your Question: Just doesn't do it for me. Too slow I guess. My breathing became restless. Thanks for the meditaton though.

Stephen Procter: What does 'too slow' mean? Does your breathing become restless - or your mind?

Breathing is used as a tool in mindfulness meditation to observe the mind - it is used because breathing directly reflects our state of mind. The quality of our breathing and the sensations within it change to reflect our relationship to whatever we are experiencing now. If it is through aversion then our mind will become restless and as a reflection our breath will appear 'restless'.

It is through observing and Softening Into these points of change - into the restlessness, not trying to escape from them, that deepens mindfulness practice and leads to peace in everyday life. What you experienced during this particular training is exactly what was meant to occur - you got to observe your habitual way of reacting to an experience within your life that you found unpleasant - the desire to run away.

I encourage you to go against this desire, it is time to decondition this relationship, instead go back to MIDL Mindfulness Training 1/52, do not rush your progression, but study and investigate each guided meditation - take at least 1 week practicing each step. In this way your sense of Investigation, Mindfulness and Concentration will be trained as well as your skill in Softening your relationship towards experience, so that you will find this exercise easy - timeless and interesting.


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