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Meditation Is Not About the Breath

Cory Muscara



Cory Muscara



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Meditation Is Not About the Breath

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hey, welcome back to

your Daily Mindfulness.

I think when a lot of people think

about meditation or what it's all

about, they know that it has to

do with focusing on something.

And often the first thing that

comes up is the breath and they

think, okay, so meditation is

all about focusing on the breath.

And I want to challenge that here.

There is something to being able

to stay present to the breath and

following the breath and learning

about the breath, seeing that it comes

and it goes, it arises and passes.

And that's teaching us about

the nature of experience.

That it's impermanent.

It shifts.

There's a new beginning moment to moment.

So we can learn that by

focusing on the breath.

But in my experience, meditation is much

less about what we're focusing on and

much more about working with the mind that

pulls us away from what we're focusing on.

And I'm sure you've experienced this

in your own meditation practice.

You tried to maybe attune to the body.

Or even right now, as

you're trying to focus here.

We can do it.

We know how to pay attention.

We know how to be aware.

We've all had moments of that.

But where the real practice comes in.

Is when the mind starts pulling us away

or when all of the thoughts and the mental

chatter and the judgment or the sensations

or the emotions, the inner and outer chaos

of our lives create some tension that

makes our attention go someplace else.

So when we're talking about meditation,

even if our anchor point, our stability

point is something like the breath or

the body, or perhaps even a mantra, it's

important to keep in mind that it's not

so much what we're focusing on, but how

we're working with all of the things that

are pulling our attention away from that.

And each time the mind

wanders, it's an opportunity.

That's our practice.

That's when we get to see how the

mind seduces us into wanting to

pay attention to something else.

How two minutes into being with the

breath, the mind goes, ah, this is boring.

I should check my phone instead.

We're learning all the ways that that

actually comes up in day-to-day life.

In a conversation with

someone, while we're trying

to do work, we get distracted.

The mind tells us we should

be doing something else.

But it's just like a jumpy little

chipmunk going from one thing to

the next, to the next to the next.

The more we can spot that, the more we

can practice not getting caught up in it.

And the more we can practice and

train bringing the attention back,

the more we develop that inner

stability, that inner strength and

that more grounded quality of peace.

That's what we're working with.

And it happens when we work with the mind

that's wandering away from this moment.

So we'll continue to explore this as we

always do in our meditation practice.

But keeping in mind also

as you go about your day.

As always thank you for doing this

practice because it's not easy.

It takes some work, but it's a powerful

resource to develop in your life.

And I'm proud of you for

continuing on that journey.

I'll talk to you soon and take care.

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