Samatha

The first stop on the meditation tour is Samatha or serenity meditation. The goal is to focus on the breath.

So take a seated position of comfort either in a chair or on the floor. Be sure your back is straight, posture is important. I personally roll up a pillow, towel, or blanket if I’m going to be sitting on the floor. It’s good to have your buns higher than your knees to avoid back pain

For hand placement I was taught to place the hands palms up right hand on the bottom left hand on top, thumbs gently touching, the idea being you could slide a piece of paper between them. Honestly the exact placement isn’t really what is important what is important is to place the palms up as this is a “receptive” gesture. Think of it as part of opening up.

Now comes the fun part, the mind and where to place it’s focus. The main key here is to focus on the sensation of the breath and it’s rise and fall. All breathing should be from through the nose. Some focus on the space under the nostrils, some choose the tip of the nose (generally inhalation causes a cold sensation, where exhalation causes a warm sensation), still others choose the rise and fall sensation of the diaphragm (this is my preference as I can feel a rise and a fall specifically). Amongst those 3 take your pick or try them all. Go for what sticks out to you as pertaining to the breath.

At this point some choose to count breaths stopping at 10 and counting over again. I find that too tedious myself but this exercise is about you not me. For the time set a gentle timer, or just wing it. 5 minutes is just the beginning if you feel like you can do more please do.

Inevitably you will ‘lose’ the breath from time to time. Just gently redirect your mind to the sensation of the breath. My master used to say training the mind is like training a puppy at the end of it you want to be on good terms with it. Enjoy!

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