Some people practicing the ‘Focusing on breathing’ technique give up after a few days, not finding any significant benefit. Their approach may be self defeating, as illustrated by the story below.
Once upon a time, there was a monkey who was highly result oriented, like a supercharged corporate executive. Somebody gave him a bunch of peanut plants and asked him to plant and water them every day. The plants would in due course produce peanuts that he could enjoy. The monkey was excited. He planted them and watered them. He was sleepless that night, thinking about the peanuts he would get next day. Early morning, he rushed into the garden and pulled up the peanut plants one by one, to see how many peanuts each had. Finding none, he was disappointed. He planted and watered them again. On the second morning he again pulled them all up but did not find any peanuts. He continued this process every day. When will he get peanuts?
Moral of the story: Don’t abort the process if you want the result. Immediately, a valid question arises. If we don’t check frequently, we may not get the expected result at the end and might have wasted precious time. We need to gain confidence that the process is working and will ultimately yield results. Yes, the healthy approach is to look for signs that the process is working, like healthy new leaves appearing on the plant, showing the plant is healthy and growing.
Applying this concept to the practice of ‘Focusing on breathing’, as long as you find a little comfort from the initial practice – like some improvement in sleep onset, duration, interruptions etc. that can be attributed to this new practice, we should feel a little bit happy and confident the process is working. Continue the practice and expand it step by step, as suggested in this website. Every bit of comfort is a precious gain, as we are getting it without investing anything in practicing this method – time, money, effort and not even belief! We are only utilizing the wandering times of the mind, in an unstructured manner. The cumulative effect of the practice will show significant benefits for mind, body and relationships in a few weeks or months. You don’t have to wait for years. Of course if you are not ready for change no technique or practice will be of any help. Read the ‘Walking on gold coins eyes closed’ story at (1) below.
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Parent page: Articles on ‘Improving self and achieving goals’