When you breathe in and out you may like to focus your attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen. Your breathing will then become deeper, and you may enjoy breathing. When you feel that, you may like to smile to yourself. This means you like it!
While we are breathing in and out and enjoying it a lot, we are concentrated; the object of our concentration is the breathing. Our practice may be described as the practice of mindfulness. I am mindful. But mindful of what? I can only pick up one thing at a time to be mindful of. I pick up my breath as the object of concentration; I am mindful of my breathing. It is a very wonderful practice, not only for beginners of meditation, but for those who have been practising for forty, fifty years, or more. So wonderful! So nourishing!
The object of concentration, of mindfulness, is the breath. When we concentrate on the rising and falling of the abdomen, that is also part of the object of concentration, of mindfulness, because it is linked to the breath. Rising of the abdomen means the in-breath and falling means the out-breath. It also means that when we breathe in, we know we are breathing in, and when we breathe out, we know we are breathing out. During the exercise, we identify the in-breath as the in-breath, and the out-breath as the out-breath, like a child’s game. It is very easy. If you enjoy it, concentration just comes without any attempt at getting it. Whatever you find enjoyable, whatever you are interested in, will bring you concentration. So, try to enjoy your practice. This alone will bring you a lot of concentration. You don’t have to fight in order to be concentrated.
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May 1994 Buddhism Now