Week One : Concentration

‘Breathing and the art of starting over again’

Week One of Salzberg’s meditation program focuses on concentration. Concentration is all about calming and focusing your attention, this will make you feel re-energised.

Being concentrated is going to help you to be mindful and is going to combat the ‘foggy’ feeling of everyday life with all its worries and external distractions.

Fussy everyday life

The exercises of the first week focus primarily on breathing.
In this first week the aim is to meditate 3 times a week for 20 minutes.
It sounds a bit hard, 20 minutes seem like an eternity if you put it like this  but the book also says you can start with 10 minutes and built it up from there on if you’re a bit intimidated by it.

20 minutes seemed impossible for me as well, so I started my first session with 15 minutes, as these went by surprisingly quick I decided to try 20 from then onwards.

A bit of focus puts things into another perspective 

It’s not trying to focus for as long as possible that’s important, but learning to let things go without judging them. This will show you that you have the ability to start over and it will make you less harsh on yourself.

For my own meditations I mainly focused on the first exercise the book mentions. You just have to sit (or lie) down in an easy position and focus on your breathing. Inevitably you will start to think about other stuff and at that moment you just have to realize you’re not focused any more, without connoting the action (don’t be mad, don’t feel like a failure, or if it’s a happy thought, don’t try to hold on to it) just accept you’re thinking about something else, let that thought drift away and try to focus on your breathing again.

Personally, I think it’s useful to write down some notes (I took notes in my diary), just write down which exercise you tried, for how long you did it and a few key words that show how you felt. Some of the key words I used this week : focused, worried, sleepy (I wrote down sleepy a lot ;)), contented, relaxed.

‘Success in meditation isn’t measured by what happens to us, but with how we deal with things that happen.’

Side note: I read this book in Dutch so my use of terms can be a bit vague, as can the quotes be, cause I translated them into English.

Next post on this subject will be about the second week of the program, mindfulness and the body.

Other posts on this subject:
Real Happiness: the Power of Meditation
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation – Introductory Post

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6 responses to “Week One : Concentration

  1. Great points on learning to just focus on the moment. I remember during my finals for chemistry and such, I felt so frazzled and disoriented. While I was reading through my Bible, I landed on the verse “Be still and know that I am God.”

    The thought of being still just felt so untouchable. But I tried it. Just being still instead of letting everything else bog me down. It did wonders for keeping me sane.

    I’m a big fan of practicing mindfulness and totally enjoying this subject!! Great post. 😀

    • Thank you 🙂
      being mindful is so hard being a college student and having a thousand things on your mind, but I agree an the ‘keeping you sane’ part, I really need it to be able to deal with everything and not getting too caught up

  2. Great post and great photos – i realized in last week’s yoga class that when I can’t do a hard pose, I really enter flight or fight and my thoughts become so negative. “Why can’t you do this?” “Why are you so bad at this?” I think meditating through a pose is a great idea – have the thought and just let it go. Frankly, I’d probably do a better job then because I’m not becoming tense and limiting my breathing. You could totally teach a mini-meditation class to other students – it would be so useful for freshman away from home for the first time!

  3. Pingback: Week Two: Mindfulness and the Body | Mixxedtape

  4. Pingback: Week Three: Mindfulness and Emotions | Mixxedtape

  5. Pingback: Week Four: Loving Kindness | Mixxedtape

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