breathing in, now I'm breathing out") for mindfulness; what is

important is pure presence.

Don't concentrate too much on the breath. What is very

important, the masters always advise, is not to fixate while

practicing the concentration of Calm Abiding. That's why they

recommend you place about 25 percent of your attention on

mindfulness of the breath. But then, as you will discover,

mindfulness alone is not enough. While you are supposed to

be watching the breath, after only one or two minutes you

can find yourself playing in a football game or starring in your

own film. So another 25 percent should be devoted to a continuous

and watchful awareness, one that oversees and checks

whether you are still mindful of the breath. The remaining 50

percent of your attention is left abiding, spaciously.

As you become more mindful of your breathing, you will

find that you become more and more present, gather all your

scattered aspects back into yourself, and become whole.

Rather than "watching" the breath, let yourself gradually

identify with it, as if you were becoming it. Slowly the breath,

the breather, and the breathing become one; duality and separation


You will find that this very simple process of mindfulness

filters your thoughts and emotions. Then, as if you were shedding

an old skin, something is peeled off and freed.

The Three Methods in One

Each of these three methods forms a complete meditation

practice on its own. However, after many years of teaching, I

have found that what can be particularly effective is to combine

them into one practice, in the order given here. First, resting

our mind on an object can transform our outer

environment and acts on the level of form and the body. Second,

reciting or chanting a mantra can purify our inner world

of sound, emotion, and energy. Third, watching the breath can

pacify the innermost dimension of the mind, as well as the

prana, "the vehicle of the mind." So the three methods work,

in turn, on the three aspects that we are composed of: body,

speech, and mind. As you practice them, one leads into the next

and enables you to become steadily more peaceful and more


Begin by resting your gaze on an object, say the photograph of

Padmasambhava. Gaze into his face. A sacred image like this

actually transmits peace. The power of its blessing brings such

serenity that simply to look at it will calm your mind. What is

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