Watching the breath in meditation



i'm just starting out in this life...14 years old, and i'm trying to establish peace of mind for myself and to help others later in my life.

you say that i should forget about breathing meditation and focus on my third eye, but whenever i do my awareness goes right back to my breathing

how do i stop this?



—Jonathan, united states


Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for writing. I’m so happy to hear that you’ve started meditating at 14.

There are a couple of suggestions that may help you. First of all, as you are watching the breath, try to keep the eyes gently lifted. This will help to direct your attention to the point between the eyebrows. Don’t fixate on keeping your eyes up, but as you think of it, gently lift them – to an angle as if you were looking at a mountain in the distance. There should be no strain in keeping your eyes uplifted – if there is, you’re looking up too high.

The reason you can’t ignore the breath is most likely because you haven’t yet gotten calm and “interiorized” enough. So, you can continue to observe the flow of the breath. Try to notice it especially at the very top of the nose, where the breath enters the head, just between the eyebrows.

When you want to “forget about” the breath, you might try using a visualization. At this point in your meditaiton practice, focusing on peace (as the instructions say) may be too subtle for you. You might try to let go of focusing on the breath and then visualizing a golden light at the point between eyebrows. Or you might try to visualize the eyes of a Master, such as Jesus or Yogananda, looking at you with great love.

You didn’t mention how long you have been practicing meditation. Please be very patient with yourself. Meditation, though it is quite simple to describe, is actually quite challenging to master. Do the best you can and give to God what you consider to be success or failure.

Pay attention to your outer, daily life. In most cases, beginning meditators notice a sense of peace and well-being as they go through the rest of their day, even though they might consider their morning’s effort at meditation to have been “unsuccessful.”

As long as you sit to meditate, you can say you have had a “successful” meditatioin. The only “unsuccessful” meditation is the one you didn’t do. Please try to practice daily, even for a short amount of time. With consistent practice, you will feel yourself moving toward greater calmness in your meditation and in your daily life.