Stage 4: Mindfulness of Breathing

Written by Tobi Warzinek

This is part four of our free online meditation course in which I will explore classic mindfulness of breathing. If you haven’t done the first, the second and the third meditation exercise yet, you are building a house without a proper foundation. Please make sure to complete the previous techniques before you move on, that way you will learn properly from the beginning.

The Value of Commitment

If you are building your meditation practice well and thoroughly, you can’t ignore the value of discipline and commitment. In this article I will introduce you to a technique that will strengthen your mind greatly. A strong and energized mind gives rise to a wellspring of happiness and happiness is the direct cause of deeper meditative levels.

In this month I want you to focus on committing to the task at hand. This means that you will learn how to strengthen your ability to stay concentrated for longer periods of time. This will also increase mental clarity and inner peace. So let’s start!

Increasing Clarity

When going through the previous steps in your practice, make sure to pay special attention to each step. Make it a point to notice distractions right away and return to the task at hand as quickly as possible. Take your time when practicing this skill. It’s basically about doing each step meticulously until you feel some real progress. This is also the time when you could start writing down a few notes each time after your session has finished. Having such a “Meditation Diary” can be a great way to document your progress and see what helps you to go deeper. That way your practice will feel less aimless and more directed.

Devoting yourself to each step will not only deepen the experience, it will also sharpen your mind and keep you within the present moment. This will make the practice feel more joyful as you are continuously letting go of past and future. Even though this is all about devoting yourself to each step in this practice you want to be careful not to put yourself under pressure. This is not about working at “this” in order to get “that”. It’s all about deepening and appreciating “this” to the point where you forget everything else. By letting go of everything but the task at hand your are freeing yourself from the burden of agitation and time. This is liberating and should be experienced as deeply relaxing and comfortable. And I promise: You won’t turn into a Mindful Zombie!

Guided Meditation

Mindfulness of Breathing | Tobi Warzinek
Time: 50 Minutes

Mindfulness of Breathing (Anapanasati)

After having reached a solid state of silent present moment awareness and all commenting and verbalization has faded thoroughly you are ready to move on to the breath. Now gently bring your attention to the breath. How do you know whether you are breathing in or out? You just know it, right? That’s exactly the kind of knowledge that is required at this step. Just keep recognizing whether you are breathing in or out and stay with this simple recognition.

Go breath by breath, don’t try to “collect” breaths and “stay aware “as long as possible”. Take it easy. If you are forgetting your breath and get distracted by other sensations or sounds, gently come back. It’s also important not to focus trying to exclude everything else. Such an intense focus is impossible in the beginning. It will be a natural result of experiencing deep contentment within each moment. Instead you want to be aiming for bringing the breath more into the foreground. You can accomplish this by gently keeping the breath in mind, while other experiences are going on in the background. Try to keep at least some awareness with your breath at all times.

Next Step of the Meditation Course

This was the fourth step of the practice, covering silent present moment awareness of the breath. Please do this particular exercise for an entire month, following the above guidelines, and let me know in the comment section below how this is working out for you. I want to know – since I wrote this article for you. I hope that this tutorial on how to meditate will help you to get a more solid practice of meditation, because it’s such a wonderful thing to learn! And I am very happy to be putting this out there for you.

Part five is right here Stage 5: Concentration. As usual I hope this article inspires you to continue well with your practice and reap the joyful fruits of commitment and discipline.

More Lessons

Tobi Warzinek - Meditation Teacher

About The Author

Tobi Warzinek has been working as a spiritual guide and mentor since 2009. His journey started in early 2002 when he entered the Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Rabten Choeling. He spent approximately 7 years in the community and studied the Tibetan language, mind-training and various meditation methods. Additionally he trained in traditional monastic debate and Buddhist philosophy. In 2011 he subsequently began practicing within the “Forest Tradition” in Thailand. Altogether he has dedicated his life to the exploration and refinement of introspection throughout the past 18 years.

The Comment Section

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2 thoughts on “Stage 4: Mindfulness of Breathing”

  1. Great stuff! I’m wondering what the 3 month cycle looks like? 1 month of breath, then what’s next? For now, I’m trying a new meditation technique for my pain but my next question is if we take time off, should we start over from scratch?

    • Hi Jeremy,
      You can do the exercise well and with great care and consistency as described and as you have learned in our retreat. From my own experience it takes longer to develop a skill properly if you are also developing other similar skills with different guides at the same time. The skill of meditation requires dedicated effort within a single system over a prolonged time. Precision and consistency are great factors that help tremendously.
      And concerning your question of what to do when one skips… I would say: Return to the task at hand and train to be more consistent 😉
      Hope it helps a bit


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