Learning Concentration Practices

Metta Meditation/Loving Kindness Practice                      

Becoming Safely Embodied:  A Concentration Practice

There are classical phrases used in the practice, yet it’s important for you to find the right words and phrases that work for you.  If these classical phrases don’t work, adapt them.  Find something that you know resonates with you, maybe qualities of being that you are wanting to cultivate in your life.   The key is to find something that doesn’t create more stress or upset and gently invites you to return to a more natural state, a state underneath the cloud cover you might be in at the moment.

Classical Phrases:

May I be happy.

May I be at peace.

May I live with ease.

May I be free from suffering.

Benefits:

  • Focusing creates blissful states
  • Mind gets focused, not scattered

There can be drawbacks to any practice so if you find yourself feeling too open, or too receptive then it’s considered skillful means to shift and do something else.  In the case of concentration practices when you are too open then it’s time to close the window a little bit, pull your senses inside.  I’ve found in those instances that you can shift to a mindfulness practice or to use one of the yogic breathing techniques like the Bee Breath I show on a video with LifeForce Yoga senior trainer Ann Friedenheim.  click here to see that video.  The video is long and the Bee Breath is actually the middle part of the practice after the Bellows (Bastrika) Breath.

Drawbacks:

  • Since internal boundaries are relaxed there may be a tendency to feel out of control.   It’s hard to know where I begin and end.
  • Regression becomes more probable.
  • Self-hate can intensify.

Directions:

Find a quiet space in the house and sit in a comfortable position.  Take a few long breaths.  Relax.  Softly focus your eyes on a spot in front of you, or close your eyes if that is comfortable for you.

Find a phrase that feels nurturing and satisfying for you – something that you want to cultivate.  Begin saying that phrase, or couple of phrases to yourself.

Say the first.  Let that settle in.  Then say the next, or repeat the first.  Again, breathe and let that settle in before moving on to the next.

Over and over, for as long a time as you like, repeat the phrases.  Allowing yourself to resonate with these qualities.

Don’t be concerned if you find yourself resonating with the opposite of the phrase (for example, if you find yourself feeling angry instead of happy –).  If that happens, just let go of the practice and come back to it for a shorter period of time the next time.  Start with 1-5 minutes and as it becomes more comfortable more on to more time.

 

Remember, there is no right way to do this. 

It’s a practice to find the softest, easiest, most comfortable way to develop concentration.  Don’t push if it doesn’t feel right.  Just try it again another time.  If you find yourself beating yourself up, for whatever reason, practice compassion!  And focus on your desire to feel good (another kind of concentration practice!) instead of feeling bad!!!

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  1. Concentration Meditation | Meditation-PTSD - February 1, 2014

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