Do thoughts sabotage your meditation practice?

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I went to zen center for five years. We would meditate for a half hour, then do a three minute walking meditation, followed by another half hour of meditation.

Most of us fought for an hour for a few seconds of an empty, focused mind. Counting my breaths did not work for me or anyone but the Zen monk.

Being a visual person, I created a breathing model. It resembled an upright infinity symbol with four distinct parts.

Inhale, pause, exhale, pause. The pauses were the weak link, a sort of door for thoughts to proliferate.

First, I performed exercises highlighting my pauses.

I would take a deep inhale, then pause, a long, concerted pause where no exhaust leaks out. As I resisted the pressure in my lungs, I intently scanned my internal organs for agitation or energy.

Feel your whole chest cavity, give these pauses a purpose, an activity to accomplish.

Our pauses are the doors to our inner world. The pauses are as important as the inhales and exhales, treat them that way.

The mind and body work together like our inhales and exhales work with the pauses.

The breath does not flow without pauses, music is noise without pauses between notes.

The second pause is different from the initial pause.

The first pause is like a balloon we just inflated, the air inside creates pressure looking to be released.

It takes force to hold the first pause.

The pause after the exhale has no pressure to resist.

Our body is truly at a suspended animation, an opportunity to know our inner world.

Know where fear manifests in your body, where anger raises its powerful head, where trauma resides, and where contentment and joy spring forth.

The breath is the tool I used to explore my inner world, the tool used to release body trauma and the tool I used to integrate my PTSD.

Until I gave my pauses the attention they needed my meditation practice languished.

I always broke things down to smaller pieces, then worked on those pieces.

I worked on my pauses exclusively for a while, then went back to meditating with increased focus.

Where do thoughts enter your mind when meditating?

Inhales starts bottom right moving upward. The pauses are the short arches.

Inhale, pause, exhale, pause, one breath cycle

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