“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind — you are the one who hears it.”
― Michael A. Singer,
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been meditating wrong. I know it is popular saying that there are no wrong meditations, and perhaps that is true, but today I realized I was doing it wrong for what I’m looking to achieve with it. I’m trying to establish a laser focus.
And what happened whenever I meditated, was that I became transfixed in my thoughts, and those same thoughts were given themselves the excuses to keep existing inside my head in the name of needing to be accepted and acknowledged so that they could dissipate.
Of course, they began to dissipate after a while, and some others arise, but I wasn’t concentrating on my breathing, at least not mostly, but on the passing of thoughts.
I’m telling you, the mind is a tricky bastard, and it will control you in ways you aren’t even aware of. Therefore, the power of breathing
The Power Of Breathing
Breathing is a tool for practicing your attention. That’s where its power comes from, through that relationship. Plus, it is possibly the most important bodily process you go through, it literally keeps you alive and jumping. But let’s not diverse topic!
The relationship between breathing and attention.
“Attention changes the world. How you attend to it changes what it is you find there. What you find then governs the kind of attention you will think it appropriate to pay in the future. And so it is that the world you recognise (which will not be exactly the same as my world) is ‘firmed up’ — and brought into being.”
Iain McGilchrist, The Matter With Things
The focus of my meditations is to train my attention. Trust me, it is a muscle, and it is getting weaker by the day, especially if you’re on TikTok. And this really makes me angry, because attention is nothing trivial, and we treat it as such. In fact, attention is as, or more valuable today than oil. You cannot harvest it yourself, of course, but where do you think Google’s money comes from? Exactly.
It is not only valuable, but it is also fundamental for your mental health and your power to contribute something of meaning to the world. The world you see, and experience, is not the world that is, actually, out there, it is the world that you experience through what you set your attention to.
I told you already that the mind is a tricky bastard. It will take over your attention in a blink and make you think that you are the one in control. Most of the time we are not. But it is there, at that moment, that the power of breathing comes into play.
People tattoo themselves stuff to remember their loved ones or a quote that sets their mind right, but we hardly realize that the strongest tattoo we have is our breathing. It is the one constant action that we can always attend to and that will bring us back to what matters, the here and now.
Practice it throughout the day, and see how you get back.
“Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice… No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
The Masters of Their Freedom
We are ultimately controlled by that which bestows what we seek or removes what we don’t want. If it’s freedom you seek, then wish nothing and shun nothing that depends on others, or you will always be a helpless slave. … Most people tend to delude themselves into thinking that freedom comes from doing what feels good or what fosters comfort and ease. The truth is that people who subordinate reason to their feelings of the moment are actually slaves of their desires and aversions.― Epictetus
This is why I sit down to focus on my breathing, purely, for 15 minutes, whenever I have the time to do it. If I can train my attention to stay focused for long stretches of time, I will manage to direct it toward what is important to me.
Control what you can control, your attention, and you will gain your freedom, you will become a master.
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