Samatha Meditation (Mindfulness Meditation)
This is an ancient technique that works wonders in our modern world. Not only does it help us to relax, but it brings clarity to our busy mind. The two breathing exercises shown in this video are what are commonly taught when people come to learn meditation as a tool for increasing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a hot topic at the moment and is being taught everywhere from schools to businesses, it’s no longer a practice exclusive to monasteries and temples. People are deriving the great benefits of mindfulness, specifically by practicing mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation, more commonly known in Buddhism as Samatha or Calm Abiding Meditation, is a technique practiced across all schools of Buddhism, though it is more favored in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Regardless of your religion or beliefs, this simple meditation technique focuses entirely on one’s breath and can therefore be practiced by everyone.
When I first began practicing meditation, it was the power and benefits that came from this simple meditation technique that literally changed my life. Suddenly the mental fog that seemed to be the natural state of my mind completely lifted, and I felt this immense peace and spaciousness. Every part of me seemed to exude the inner peace that I was feeling. Even my partner at that time, who I was in the middle of an emotional breakup with, looked at me curiously and asked, “What happened to you?” And I said with all honestly, “For the first time in my life I feel calm.” This calmness and happiness continued to increase the more I explored the practice of meditation and the Buddhist teachings, which is why I’m such an advocate for teaching these meditations today. I hope you enjoy this guided meditation video and derive the same benefits (and more!) that come from practicing meditation and mindfulness.
Other Meditation Techniques
In respect to alternatives to the counting technique that I explain in this video, you can also mentally label the breath by reciting ‘In’ and ‘Out’ on the inhalation and exhalation. So you just mentally recite these words as you breathe in and out. This can sometimes be a more relaxing form of meditation as the counting technique might make us slightly anxious as we aim to get to 10. The counting technique is meant to increase our concentration; it’s not designed to make us stressed, but since some of us are very goal-orientated, we might find this technique (without counting) more enjoyable.
Or if you are inclined towards the Buddha’s teachings, you might try mentally reciting the word ‘Buddho’. Remember the name, Buddha, means to be awake, aware and enlightened. To mentally recite the word ‘Buddho’ is to enliven these characteristics within us. The instructions for practicing this technique are: On the inhalation you recite the first syllable, ‘Bud’, and on the exhalation you recite the second syllable, ‘dho’. I learnt this technique many years ago from an article by Ajahn Chah, a wonderful Buddhist teacher of the Thai Forest Tradition. You can read his talk, titled ‘Just Do It’, here.