9 Round Breathing / Clarity of the Mind

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Mandala

Have your eyes either open a little bit or closed, which ever is better for you.

Relax your shoulders, have your hands on your lap with the right on top of the left; two thumbs touching; arms slightly away from your sides, hanging loosely by your sides.

Your mouth and jaw relaxed.

Chin tucked in a little bit.

Place the tongue on the roof of the mouth behind the upper teeth and breathe normally with a natural, steady rhythm.

Now let’s start the nine-round breathing exercise.

Using your right hand, your right index finger blocks off the left nostril while you are breathing into the right nostril.

Just let your breath come in slowly and steadily, pause for a moment, then block off the right nostril and breathe out the left nostril.

Slowly and steadily do the same three times,

in through the right and out through the left.

Focus completely on the breathing, on the sensation of the nostrils as you are breathing in and out.

For the next three breaths keep your right nostril blocked and breathe in through the left and then move your finger to block off the left and breathe out through the right.

So breathe in through the left and out through the right, three times.

For the last three breaths bring your hands back to your lap and breathe through both nostrils evenly, slowly and gently.

Pause for a moment and then exhale through both nostrils, keeping your mind fully focussed on the breath, on the sensations, as you breathe in and out.

Continue to breathe normally and bring into your mind a positive motivation for doing the meditation.

Think, ‘I am going to do this meditation in order to work on my mind, to be a more positive, beneficial person for others, for the world. May this meditation bring more peace and happiness to others, to the world’.

Once you’ve generated a positive motivation bring your awareness back to your breathing and just be aware of each inhalation and exhalation of breath.

Let your attention ride or float on the breath similar to the way you would float on the surface of the ocean where there are gentle waves coming and going.

Stay floating on the surface flowing with the wave, coming and going, flowing in and out, just let your attention rest or float on the gentle rolling rhythm of the breathing.

Now move your attention away from the breathing to the mind itself, that which is aware of breathing.

In other words instead of being aware of the breath, which is the object of your mind, the object of your awareness, become aware of the mind itself, the awareness itself, that which is observing the breath, experiencing the breath.

The mind is like space or like sky, completely clear, not solid, and vast, spacious and unlimited.

Try to get a sense of how your mind is like that, like this clear, vast, spacious sky.

The things that we are aware of, the thoughts, images, memories and so on, are similar to the clouds that pass through the sky.

They’re not always there but they appear and after a while they disappear.

If there are thoughts appearing in your mind while you are sitting here doing this meditation, thoughts, memories, images, or if you hear sounds or feel sensations in your body, think that these are just like clouds, passing through this space or clear sky of your mind.

Let them come and let them go, realise that they are only momentary and not solid, they just come and go.

Let them go and return your awareness to the mind itself, which is like the clear spacious sky.

See if you can get a sense of identifying with this clear space-like nature of the mind.

In other words feel, ‘this is the real me, this is my real nature, who I really am’.

Rather than identifying yourself with the temporary clouds of thoughts and emotions that past through your mind see if you can realise those as mental events, things that come and go in the mind.

They are not you and not who you really are.

Let them go and identify with the clear space like nature of your mind, your awareness, so that you are the sky, not the clouds.

Before opening your eyes mentally dedicate the merit or positive energy for doing this meditation.

In the same way you motivated at the beginning, may this meditation be beneficial for others, may it bring greater peace, happiness, and benefit to other beings, to the world.

So dedicate the effort that you made and the positive the energy you’ve created from doing the meditation to that goal.

This meditation has been made available with gratitude from the Foundation for the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) “How to Meditate” module of their Discovering Buddhism Home Study Program. click here

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