by Friends of Godwin


Awareness of the breath is a very simple technique – but somehow we manage to complicate it in many ways. And sometimes I think one problem might be with the word “concentration”. The word “concentration”, what does it mean, what is the picture that comes to your mind when the word “concentration” is used?

It’s interesting that you have to try very hard, so that effort is very much emphasised in that word, in it’s meaning. And maybe another meaning is ignoring and excluding things. So this is why by using the word concentration in this sense, the technique seems difficult.

But you must see what the technique really means: essentially the meaning is simply awareness in relation to the in-breath and the out-breath. So the whole emphasis is on just knowing what is happening. This is referred to in one of the texts which says that when we practise this technique, then we experience the four foundations of awareness or mindfulness. What it means is: you become aware of the body, you become aware of the sensations, you become aware of the thoughts, you become aware of the state of mind.