Jack Kornfield – Heart Wisdom – Ep. 165 – Practice in Daily Life: Right Concentration

Continuing with the practice in daily life series, Jack Kornfield plunges into right concentration and mindful breathing.

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Observing The Breath 

Paying attention to the breath is a beautiful way to connect to our life force. We breathe all day, every day, without much conscious thought. Although it is the breath that keeps us alive, it has become so habitual we do not realize its power and magnificence. The breath can also act as a mirror for our current emotional states. Imagine you are facing a threat; your breath will increase. Imagine you are content in bed with your loved one; it will become slow and steady. 

“Our breath is kind of a mirror for us. Most of the time we don’t look in that mirror. It is the mirror of our energy, it’s the mirror of our openness. Feel how full your breath is at different times. If you want to see what is happening in you, pay attention to your breath.” – Jack Kornfield

Catch this episode of Here and Now for a 20-minute breath meditation with Ram Dass: Don’t Forget the Breath
Becoming Tranquil (9:40)

Concentration brings tranquility. With all of the noises in the world and in our minds, it is often challenging to be still. Jack instructs us that when we focus on an awareness of our breath, the rise and fall of our chest, we begin to access a deep, tranquil space. In that tranquility, we can find truth, God, and the innermost parts of our own selves.

Check out this Interview with Adyashanti, spiritual teacher and author, to learn more about practicing stillness. 
The Space Between Our Breath (20:17)

Our scattered minds come back to be more whole again not only when we practice mindful breathing, but when we pay attention to the space between our breath. Our future worries and our past regrets live in that space. When we notice that within the stillness and see how it can take us away from the moment, we can work on letting go and coming back to the breath.

“Concentration isn’t a forcing of your mind on the breath or on the pain, the pleasant sensation or on the thought. It’s much more a sense of the opening, the softening, the receiving—that’s what allows the mind to settle.” – Jack Kornfield 

A Sensory Experience // Temperature in Breath (45:25)

Jack has listeners feel the floor they are sitting on. Is it hard, dry, or rough? This type of concentration on the elements around us is beneficial for grounding. When we look at our breath, we can also pay attention to the sensory, elemental experience. When we breathe out rapidly it is cooler, when we breathe slowly it is fiery. Our breath may embody the fluidity of water or the stiffness of earth.

“What you thought was breath or floor or wall through your body’s senses, is actually a play of the basic elements.” – Jack Kornfield 

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