What’s encouraging about meditation is that even if we shut down, we can no longer shut down in ignorance. We see very clearly that we’re closing off. That in itself begins to illuminate the darkness of ignorance.
The 100 Breaths Meditation System incorporates a variety of techniques that are designed for different purposes. The fundamental technique is referred to as
Basic Breathing Meditation or BBM. BBM is a very simple yet powerful method that is really all you ever need to know. The advanced techniques taught in the 100 Breaths book are wonderful for accomplishing specific goals but the fundamental building block of all advanced techniques is BBM. Therefore, I encourage you to use this web site to understand BBM and get started with it.
It is suggested that you review the What, Why, When and Where pages before you read this page. That will give you prerequisite information prior to studying the technique itself. Let's start with a listing of the basic steps. Each step is further described below. I encourage you to read the detailed descriptions in order to get the nuance associated with each step.
Before you meditate, take about 5 minutes to stretch your body. Focus on all of the large muscle groups and give them a 20 or 30 second stretch:
Your breathing should be deep and through your nose. Focus on a point about 3 inches below your navel. As you inhale, this point on your abdomen should expand outwards. It should move outwards several inches. As you exhale, this same point should move inwards towards your spine. Breathe at a speed that is comfortable for you but try not to think about it.
Begin counting your breaths staring at 1 and ending at 100. When you reach 100, you are finished with the session. The length of the session will obviously depend on your rate of breathing. Generally, most people start out faster and as they relax, their breath rate will slow. Most people start out between 8 and 12 breaths per minute. By the end of the session, this will slow to between 4 and 8 breaths per minute. Do not worry about your breathing rate. Just relax and let it slow down naturally. As you count each breath, focus your attention on the breath. Feel the air enter your nose and travel down into your abdomen. As you exhale, follow the breath from your abdomen, back up and out through your nose. That's it. After you have reached 100, slowly open your eyes and take a minute or two to enjoy your relaxed state.
100% of your awareness should be focused on your breathing. This does not mean thinking about the breath. Just be aware of it. Try NOT to think about anything. Just focus on your breath. This is all there is to it.
Now that I have given you these steps, let me tell you what is going to happen. You are going to start your meditation, counting from 1 and before you know it, you will be thinking about something. You may make it to 17, or 10 or only 5 but at some point you will find that you are no longer counting breaths but thinking. Do not worry about this, it is normal. These thoughts are coming from your sub-consciousness and everyone has them. When you become aware that you are no longer counting, simply acknowledge that you are thinking, end the thought and imagine it floating away. Resume counting from the last number that you remember. If you don't remember the last number, simply pick a number that you think is close and resume from there. At first you may find it frustrating that you have a continuous stream of uncontrolled thoughts that are interfering with your counting. Do not be frustrated, this is what we are working on. We are eliminating the thoughts and focusing on awareness.
It is fine to be aware of your breathing, it is fine to be aware of your body sensations and it is fine to be aware of your immediate environment. Just don't think about them. More than likely, your thoughts that emerge will not be on your present awareness (breath, sensations or environment) but will include mental image pictures or internal dialogs pertaining to the remembering of past events or planning the future. This is what thinking generally entails. It is normal. But in our meditation we are going to gently eliminate these thoughts by acknowledging them, pushing them away and then returning to our counting. It is this process of managing our thoughts and focusing on pure awareness that brings us the benefits of meditation. Over time, you will find that your focus on awareness will make it much easier to stop the thoughts and you will find this state of consciousness to be profoundly relaxing and satisfying.