Breathing meditation

When you first attend your local Kadampa meditation class you will learn how to stop distractions and make your mind clear and more lucid – this can be accomplished by practising a simple breathing meditation which is described in The New Meditation Handbook by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:

We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through our nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils.

This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.

At first our mind will be very busy, and we might even feel that meditation is making our mind busier; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath.

If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.

If we practice patiently in this way, gradually our distracting thoughts will subside and we shall experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and we shall feel refreshed. We should stay with this state of mental calm for a while.

The New Meditation Handbook by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

This initial stage of meditation acts as a basis for practicing more advanced techniques which will be introduced as the classes progress.