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Brief Shamatha Counting the Breath to 21

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Shamatha meditation, also known as mindfulness meditation, is a practice that focuses on calming the mind and developing concentration. Counting the breath to 21 is a technique within Shamatha practice that can help cultivate this concentration. Here are oral instructions for practicing Shamatha with counting the breath to 21:

  1. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Settle into a comfortable posture with your back straight but not rigid, and your hands resting comfortably on your knees or lap.
  2. Close your eyes gently or keep them slightly open with a soft gaze towards the floor.
  3. Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and settle into your posture. Let go of any tension you may be holding.
  4. Bring your attention to the sensation of your breath, focusing specifically on the outbreath. Notice the natural rhythm of your breath as it flows out of your body.
  5. As you breathe out, silently count "one" in your mind. Allow the inbreath to occur naturally without counting.
  6. With each subsequent outbreath, continue counting in the same way, up to "21."
  7. If you lose count or find your mind wandering, gently acknowledge it without judgment and bring your focus back to the sensation of the outbreath and the counting. Start again from "one" if needed.
  8. Maintain a relaxed and open awareness, allowing thoughts, sensations, and emotions to arise and pass without becoming attached to them. Simply observe them with curiosity and then gently return your attention to the outbreath and the counting.
  9. Continue this practice for as long as you like, whether it's for a few minutes or longer. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you cultivate your concentration and mindfulness.
  10. When you're ready to end your meditation session, gently bring your awareness back to your surroundings. Take a moment to notice how you feel before slowly opening your eyes.
  11. Carry this sense of calm and centeredness with you as you go about your day, knowing that you can return to this practice whenever you need to find a moment of peace and stillness.
Brief Shamatha Counting the Breath to 21
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