Development of mindfulness through the breath contemplation

At first sight this practice is devoid of attractiveness: it doesn't involve inspiring or impressive visualizations, mantras and mudras, there is no need to enact rituals or chants. Nevertheless, it is very effective in purifying mind from three poisons or defilements: greed, hatred and delusion. Being simple on the surface this practice develops the main qualities that lead to Liberation: mindfulness, peacefulness of mind, clarity and insight. If you are skilled at this practice, other Dharma practices become understandable for you.

Before getting down to this one you should remember some rules:

You should contemplate in the next order:

  1. Feel your body. Start from gradual relaxation of the muscles of your face; try to sensify their softness and enervation. Spread this attention more and more, relaxing your neck, shoulders, back, belly and so on. Then feel the peace and immobility of your posture, its strength and firmness.
  2. Sensify light and peaceful "smile of Buddha" in the centre of your chest. It will unwind your tense mind and remove the blocks in your body allowing your energy flow freely and your meditation unfold without obstructions.
  3. Direct your attention at the air touch sensation to your nostrils when you are inhaling and exhaling. Just observe these sensations without imagining or regulating your breath some way. Gradually, try to feel the smallest shades of this sensation, but you should do it gently, softly and without tension. Keep in mind that subtlety but not power is important at contemplation.
  4. Start to follow the movement of air inside your body deeper and deeper. First, it can be only nasopharynx, then your throat and chest and then you will be able to feel the sense of movement spreading up to your underbelly. Don't be in a hurry. It is better to feel distinctly the breath in your throat then to dream it up in your belly.
  5. And now get deeper into your sensations. Watch the smallest changes in all your body when you are inhaling and exhaling. It can be the sense of widening and squeezing, or barely noticeable vibration, or something else. Don't think it up and don't visualize it, just watch these sensations.
  6. If you work previous stages well enough, your mind become quite calm. That is why you can start to contemplate how you breathe in the peace and fill your belly, chest, throat and head with it with every inhale, and exhaling fill all your body with this peace, spreading it about every corner, percolate through each muscle, organ and joint of your body with it.
  7. Now direct your attention to your mind itself. Inhale the peace and when you are exhaling, fill your mind with this peace. Observe as your mind is becoming filled with it, composed of it, dissolved in it. If thoughts arise, don't pronounce or think of them; just fill them with the peace too, dissolve them in peace. In this way you will develop Serenity of mind that is called Samatha.
  8. Look inside the peace you are resting in. How is it changing when you inhale and exhale? Observe these changes.
  9. Direct your attention to your attention itself, get deeper and deeper, asking meaningless question from time to time: "Who is looking now?" Get plunged into the depth of your own attention, just like stone plunges into the abysmal ocean. Deeper and deeper. In this way you will gain spiritual Insight that is called Vipassana.
  10. Your thoughts and body has disappeared. There is no-one who perceives and there is no-one that is perceived. There is only clean perception - mirror without images in it. Just stay in this state, joining Serenity and Insight in it.