A talk on mindful breathing by Tara Brach:
Letting this be a conscious pause, bring your presence and attention to right here. I invite you to bring a listening attention to the heart. Sometimes, we haven’t really visited or connected with our heart, in hours, days, or sometimes longer. So just check in and sense the mood, the emotion, and the fault sense in the heart area.
With a deepened listening, you might sense what your purest intention is for being here tonight.
So you’re listening to what really matters to you and what your heart cares about.
One of the most direct portals into presence is to awaken a relaxed awareness of the body. So let’s just scan through the body and take some moments to relax in the areas that feels obviously tired or tensed.
We might notice the area around the brow and the eyes are just softened there. Let the brow be smoothed. Relax in the jaw. Relax in the tongue— right at the end at the root of the tongue to sense what happens when you let the tongue just rest in the lower palate. Slight smile at the mouth.
Bringing the awareness inside the shoulders and sensing if there’s any tangles or tightness that might want to nap fully. Loosen, and soften there. Letting the hands rest in a very easy effortless way, softening the hands. Feeling the sensation and aliveness inside the hands. Sensing an openness in the chest.
Feeling the chest in the inside out of the heart area. Feeling the life that’s there. Scanning down, loosening the belly and softening the belly. See if you can let next breath be received in the softening belly. This breath— now, this one. And again.
Relaxing deep into the torso. Right down the legs. See if you can let go of any tightness you’re holding. Through the feet, from the inside out. Tingling or vibrating that’s there.
Now, widening the lengths to feel this whole body simultaneously. Sensing the body as you feel the sensation. Noticing within that feel of sensation, the particular stream of the breath— very receptive to sensing the movement of the breath as if you’re listening to, and feeling the breath. For some, it may be the sensations in the nostrils. Feeling a flow there, a swirl.
Perhaps, cooler when it comes in. Warmer, when it goes out. For others, it might be the movement of the chest. The rising and falling. Perhaps, expanding and settling at the abdomen.
Some might find that they’re feeling the whole body breathing.
Letting your attention rest with the breath forever is the most prominent and most distinct for you.
Sensing how much you can actually relax with the experience of the breath.
Feeling the breath in your whole awareness. Moment to moment.
So there’s a sense of both relaxing, resting in the breath, and also an interest to what it actually feels like as a play of sensation.
At some point, you’ll notice that the mind’s drifted. Just to really appreciate the moments of noticing as moments of awakening.
When you realize that you’ve been off in the future and the past just to pause and take a moment to re-open the census, listening to the sounds that are actually right here other than the voice in your mind– and re-opening and relaxing in the body so you can feel the aliveness that’s right here.
Relaxing your heart.
Opening to whatever inner weather or whatever mood might be here. Without rushing.
Gently relaxing back into the presence within the movement of the breath.
Letting the breath be a kind of home base to continue collecting your attention.
Letting the breath be the place that allows you to know you’re right here, moment to moment.
Make sense if it’s possible to relax just a little bit more.
Resting the attention in this life breath. Very intimate, close, and attention. Perhaps noticing the beginning of the breath. The ending of the breath. There’s a pause between breaths.
It’s quite natural for the mind to leave presence again and again. And each time we notice it’s an opportunity to plant a seed of kindness and acceptance as we gently re-arrive again. So rather than judging, if you feel the mind is scattered, let every re-awakening deepen that sense of friendliness, patience, kindness, and gently reconnect again minding softly in this next in-breath and out-breath, rising breath and falling breath. Appreciating that you’re here again.
In this last few moments, bringing you whole heart and mind, to rest in the life breath– moment to moment.
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Find more exercises about mindfulness meditation techniques here.