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This is a technique much used by Zen Buddhist meditators.

Adopt the usual position.

First, let the breath come naturally without trying to influence it. Settle yourself on yourself.

  • To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
  • The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
  • Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.

Never count higher than “five,” and count only when you exhale. You will know your attention has wandered when you find yourself up to “eight,” “12,” even “19.”

Try to do 10 minutes of this form of meditation.

Variations

In the second stage you subtly shift where you breathe, counting before the in-breath, anticipating the breath that is coming, but still counting from one to ten, and then starting again at one.

In the third stage you drop the counting and just watch the breath as it comes in and goes out.

In the final stage the focus of concentration narrows and sharpens, so you pay attention to the subtle sensation on the tip of the nose where the breath first enters and last leaves the body.

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