Of course this works with any meditation support - not just the breath. You can use mantra or sound or a visualization. The main thing here is to use some support to help us stop telling stories about our thoughts and feelings. Just notice, accept without judgment, let go, and bring the mind back to the present moment. "Let go" does not mean "hide from"!! Perhaps in this case, a better expression for "let go" is "let be". Just let the feeling be but don't get involved with it or invested in a particular outcome about it.
To practice mindfulness meditation and to live a mindful life, we must first open ourselves to the realization that we try our best to hide. A feeling arises - terror, say - and instead of living with it we create a whole tapestry of thoughts about it. That's hiding. Our prolific minds keep creating diversions for us. When we are stuck in our suffering, we are still lost in our concepts, as in this case, the concept of the story of our life. All we do is recite the story over and over again. So how do we come to rest? We cultivate mindfulness breathing. We become aware of our breath, we enter into the present moment, and we stop. Then we have the opportunity to recognize our thinking and identify our thought or feeling. Being aware of our difficult thoughts and feelings in this way is not the same as being stuck in our suffering. We can do this anytime, anywhere, not just during formal sitting meditation. Try some abdominal breathing, restore your stability and mindfulness, and then allow the difficult thought or feeling to reemerge. Your relationship to it will already have changed.
Monday, November 07, 2005
More about concepts
Here's another excerpt from Beginning Mindfulness by Andrew Weiss: