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Breath meditation techniques for the noisy mind

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I’ve been decreasing my medication and it’s been leading to some side effects, turbulence in the mind and body. So I’ve been trying some variations on my breath meditation to boost concentration in a “noisy environment”.

  • deep breaths, concentrating on the nostrils, thinking “in” and “out”... this brings quite a high focus to the nostrils, but it can lead to a calm meditative state within about 10 minutes
  • sucking air in and out through the mouth, concentrating on the breath in the mouth, thinking “in” and “out”... this also brings a high focus, is maybe even better for very noisy environments, can bring a calm meditative state within about 20 minutes

Just wanted to share these because it can be quite difficult to get past a turbulent mind.

I had quite a satisfactory meditation with these methods yesterday.



  • Reducing medication altered the conditions of tranquility in meditation. You adapted.

    Through effort, vigilance,
    Restraint, and self-control,
    The wise person can become an island
    No flood will overwhelm.
    -- Dhp 25

  • Good news @Kerome
    Return to/gentle awareness of the breath. One of the oldest and best tools.

    Learning to breath, ridiculous as it sounds, is a continuous unfolding for me. As is relaxation of the turbulence in the mind/body/experience ...

    All intertwined. Here are some other calming tools:

    • Yoga Nidra and pranayama - my fav. breath at the moment is alternate nostril breathing
    • Vocal mantra for the breath benefits in particular - at the moment my mantra is silent
    • Movement systems. I tend to favour yoga and chi-kung, which I have started doing every day after too long a lapse. It is amazing how much tension can be carried and released from the body ...
  • Once you are comfortable with what works, all that remains is to become more adept with the method.

    “Suppose, bhikkhus, a man would catch six animals—with different domains and different feeding grounds—and tie them by a strong rope. He would catch a snake, a crocodile, a bird, a dog, a jackal, and a monkey, and tie each by a strong rope. Having done so, he would bind them to a strong post or pillar. Then those six animals with different domains and different feeding grounds would each pull in the direction of its own feeding ground and domain. The snake would pull one way, thinking, ‘Let me enter an anthill’ … as above … The monkey would pull another way, thinking, ‘Let me enter a forest.’

    “Now when these six animals become worn out and fatigued, they would stand close to that post or pillar, they would sit down there, they would lie down there. So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu has developed and cultivated mindfulness directed to the body, the eye does not pull in the direction of agreeable forms nor are disagreeable forms repulsive; the ear does not pull in the direction of agreeable sounds nor are disagreeable sounds repulsive; the nose does not pull in the direction of agreeable odours nor are disagreeable odours repulsive; the tongue does not pull in the direction of agreeable tastes nor are disagreeable tastes repulsive; the body does not pull in the direction of agreeable tactile objects nor are disagreeable tactile objects repulsive; the mind does not pull in the direction of agreeable mental phenomena nor are disagreeable mental phenomena repulsive.

    “It is in such a way that there is restraint.


  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited February 2018

    We can huff & puff out helpful words of advice....But in the long run (and as boring as it may sound) all you have to do is to keep bringing your attention back to the breath...

    After a while it will become second nature, every time the mind wanders...Bearing in mind the wandering and bringing back is all part and parcel of meditation......

    When it comes to meditation there's no magic bullet ...well apart from right effort that is :)
    It's all about training the mind....

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited February 2018

    "My mind was once full of noisy monkey who really liked to chat-
    never stopping for a minute even when I sat…

    One day a wise Lama who meditates did say-
    'There is a trick that you could use to make them go away!'

    Well I was all ears I wanted to know what was it I could do-
    to be rid of those pesky monkeys who had made my mind a zoo…

    He said 'Just pay full attention to your breath that should do the trick-
    and if attention strays keep bringing it back, this will get on the monkeys wick.

    They will slowly leave through your nose or mouth and dissolve into the air-
    leaving a place of true contentment - a mind without a care.'

    Well it did the trick, I paid full attention to my breathing and my mind became quite free-
    an inner peace now fills the space where monkey chatter used to be!

    However, I do like all sentient beings, even monkeys who liked to chat-
    but they can take their gossip elsewhere-for I’ve had enough of that !!!"

  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has a technique called the Superpowered Breath Meditation. It's described in an Appendix in The New Meditation Handbook. You breathe in and mentally chant Om. You hold the breath and mentally chant Ah. You breathe out and me tally chant Hum. And you think and believe that you are cultivating the body (Om), speech (Ah), and mind (Hum) of a Buddha. Sometimes when my mind is noisy, I find the mental chanting useful.

    That said, I find Lovingkindness Meditation much more relaxing and blissful than breath meditation. Wishing Love eases my mind more than breath meditation does. Lovingkindness feels warm to me, breath meditation like a cool stream.

    Mainly, in both cases, if my mind is super noisy, then I'll expect it to take 20 to 30 minutes to get quiet. So, primarily, I think you have to give your mind time to settle especially if you're feeling strong self-grasping toward an object.

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