Establishing a Focus of Concentration
Having established a broad awareness we can use this toÂ support our development of a particular point of focus, whichÂ can become the basis of our concentration. One way ofÂ thinking about this, metaphorically at least, is in terms of gettingÂ all of the aspects of ourselves that we have brought intoÂ awareness interested in our deepening experience of theÂ object of our meditation.
In order to do this we have to notice our object as vividly as weÂ can. We have to try and see it as it is, this can be quiteÂ challenging. For example our experience of the breath may
be quite dull and limited, and this might be because we areÂ just experiencing the breath as we know it, having the dull oldÂ meditation we feared and, quite possibly rehearsed!Â We need to bring our senses alive and notice as much aboutÂ the breath as we possibly can. This is often a case of relaxingÂ into awareness. In order to bring this about we can:
Feel: The temperature of the breath. The sensations ofÂ breathing as experienced in different parts of our body, e.g.Â our chest, back, belly throat etc.Â We can even be aware of any scent that the breath mayÂ have.
Hear: The sound of our breathing going in or out. This should beÂ at the beginning as our breath will become virtually silent as weÂ grow calmer
See: We can imaginatively trace the journey of the breathÂ through the body. Care needs to be taken that our attention isÂ still primarily focused on the breath. Sometimes such images
can arise of themselves. This is fine, but again take care not toÂ get to get too caught up in them.
By working in this way we can develop a focus ofÂ concentration that is very subtle. It is important to allow ourÂ experience to become very subtle. With time our grosser senseÂ experience will come to be replaced with a subtle counterpart that is inherently much more absorbing than our grosser experience. In Buddhism the mind is considered a sense, as well as the five physical senses, so we can think of this as a mental sense of the object that arises on the basis of our heightened experience of our ordinary senses. This can have a dynamic and integrating effect on all the aspects of our experience that are within our broad band of awareness.