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Meditation Techniques along the Way

It’s February 16, 2021 early in the morning as I write this. We are in East Texas and the temperature right before sunrise was -4 degrees Fahrenheit. We had eight inches of snow yesterday, which may not sound like much if you are reading this at your home in Alaska, but it’s a lot for East Texas. As a matter of fact both the temperature and snowfall amounts are records for my lifetime, which is a long time.

Millions of people in Texas have experienced power outages and are isolated in their homes.

In other words, we are in a moment of extremes and extremes lead to anxiety.

This is a perfect time to seek refuge in meditation if one is fortunate enough to have a safe spot in which to practice it.

I am about three months into meditation as a lifestyle add-on and am grateful for having discovered it and for the calming effect it has brought me.

I am learning techniques of the practice and some tricks of the trade.

Technique One.

If you haven’t found meditation yet, I recommend you give it a try. If you begin a study of it, you will find that one of the most common suggestions is that you focus on your breathing, counting inhales and exhales from one to ten and going back to one after ten.

That is to say that a session of breath counting in this technique is one to ten, then one to ten, then one to ten again. If you lose count, you start back at one. The reason for this approach is to train yourself to concentrate on the single thought of counting. The simplicity of one-to-ten ness covers up other thoughts that may distract you and thereby keeps you on track to appreciate your breathing, one of the most critical things we take for granted.

Technique Two.

A technique to apply is to time your breathing so that one minute equals ten breaths, five inhalations, and five exhalations. You can get the feel of this timing by watching a timer on your phone and pacing yourself accordingly. You will find that ten-breaths-per-minute is a relaxing and comforting pace.

Technique Three.

Also, if I didn’t mention it, your breathing should always be through your nose, not your mouth.

Trust me on this.

Technique Four.

This one is I suppose an advanced technique, which works for me, but which you may find more challenging than the one-to-ten approach.

Begin counting and don’t go back to one. Count all your breaths from the start of your session to the end. For instance, if you are breathing ten times per minute and you meditate for ten minutes, you should be able to count from one to one hundred. If you do fifteen minutes, you should reach approximately one hundred and fifty.

And so forth.

Don’t let counting your breaths become a distraction. If you lose track, you can always go back to one and refresh the count. But extending the count is relaxing in my experience and it reinforces the notion that your concentration is improving as you continue your meditation practice.

And by the way, the sun is out now and I am in hopes that the thaw is underway.

Please drop me a note in the comments and let me know about your experience with meditation.

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