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Intense Concentration on the Breath – Video 2

In this second video, I go over some of what happens as you try to concentrate on the breath and finally are able to. I detail what is perhaps my first strange experience as the mind focused so intensely on one small sense object – the breath going in and out of the nose. It is during the experience of an intensely concentrated mind that you begin to understand how powerful the mind really is.

I had many odd – and sometimes scary – experiences during meditation. None of them were harmful in the long term. I urge you to watch this series of videos if you are beginning meditation – to give yourself a good idea of what is a normal experience. It will alleviate some of your concerns, I am sure of it! Start with Video 1 – Some Basic Meditation Experiences, here.

Video 2 – Intense Concentration on the Breath

2 thoughts on “Intense Concentration on the Breath – Video 2”

  1. Hi Vern,

    at first, thanks for these videos and for sharing your experiences. Really helpful stuff.

    Then again I’m still somewhat confused. You mentioned a couple of times, how many breaths you where counting without a thought. This seems like a contradiction to me (not saying you’re not being honest here -it’s just a problem i have when trying to follow this): when you’re focusing on your breath and not having any other thoughts, how can you still count? I mean, the process of counting is, well, another thought, so you’d not be focussed anymore. Nevertheless I’ve read about this counting also in other instructions. So maybe you could help me clarify this?

    How can you count the breaths with no thought and not think about counting?

    Cheers and best

  2. Hi Mike! Thanks for writing…

    It is very hard to write about this and bring other people into my mind as this all happens. I forget to explain so thoroughly that it can’t be mistaken. I’ll try again to explain below…

    Using counting of the breaths isn’t required. It is sort of like using one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s techniques of saying quietly in your mind… ​”​breathing in, breathing out​”​ or ​”​breathing in I am alive, breathing out I relax.​”​ Counting the breaths is like a bridge to help bridge the gap between thought and non-thought. Thinking one thought – the counting – as one breath​e​s in and out in complete attention to the breath is kind of cheating – but, it’s a good cheating. It allows the mind a very subtle thought toward ​one​ number, the next, the next… and it is very little extra to hold on to with the mind. Like with saying things in the mind with every inhalation and exhalation, it helps to calm, steady, focus the mind​ until it is no longer needed​.

    Now, when you’re able to get into five, six, eight breaths, ten breaths at a time in absolute fixed focus on the small spot in your nose where you feel the air come in and out – the counting part goes away​ naturally​.

    Like you say, the counting cannot be there when thought is not there.​ When you reach a certain number of concentrated breaths you just begin focusing entirely on the breath with the mind – no thought is possible. It’s as if becoming one with the breath. You are the breath. There is no ‘you’ that could count.​

    ​So, the counting just goes away without any thought about it, or you might sit there and try to force the ability to count to come back… and then the thoughtless state does not come.

    I struggled with this a bit when first starting out too – I didn’t know – was I supposed to insist on counting the breaths? Shouldn’t I count to 100 or 500 breaths if I could do it?

    ​You can if you want, but ideally, and to move forward, just let it go like everything. Just let ​the counting go as it ​fades away. ​Counting is just a tool to bring the mind to a very focused point. It’s an extremely subtle technique – this counting – it isn’t said out loud. It isn’t said with authority as each breath happens… it’s less than the tick of the second hand of a silent watch… it’s just noted that you reached the first breath, the second, etc.

    This counting technique is not necessary – you could forget about counting all together and just watch as you string one absolutely focused breath to the next… and again, your mind would enter than thoughtless state around 5 – 10 breaths (that’s where it happened for me).

    Hope that helps! I’ll send you email too to make sure you get this.

    Best of life Mike,

    Meditation for Beginners – A 22-Day Course
    Meditation for Beginners – Secrets of Suc​c​ess

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