Who Knew Meditation Could Be So Simple

by Dr Rachel Hall, Holistic Dentist, Kenmore, Brisbane

When I started on my path of personal development I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate meditation – after all, everyone else seemed to be doing it. All the self-help books raved about it, and it seemed you couldn’t connect to your higher self (whatever that was) without it. There was no doubt about it: if you wanted to be enlightened, meditation was the key.

And so I tried various styles of meditation, from ones where I sat in certain poses (I could never do the cross-legged, lotus position thingy), ones where I had to hold my hands and fingers in a certain way, OM-ing, chanting, visualisations, guided meditation, ones with complex breathing patterns, ones where you focused on parts of the body, short ones, long ones, hours-at-a-time ones and a combination of all of the above.

Enlightenment? Far from it.

All these meditations left me with was pins and needles in my feet, a numb bum, sore back, a headache and a sense of total exasperation. Why, oh why couldn’t I do it right? I never felt calm or relaxed, there was no enlightenment, and why were there so many different ways to do it?

Then, in 2004, I was introduced to the Gentle Breath Mediation at a workshop presented by Serge Benhayon.

OK, so what did I have to do this time? Stand on my head, or pat my head and rub my tummy while reciting the Bhagavad Gita?!

No, actually I could sit in a chair. And the only prerequisite was that my arms and legs weren’t crossed and I sat relaxed and comfortable. “Comfortable? But this is meditation!!

Next I was to close my eyes. “OK I can do that.

Then just focus on the in-breath, making sure to make it gentle. “Is that it, surely there’s more?

Make the in-breath gentle and focus on the tip of the nose, no need to worry about the out-breath yet. “Gotta be building up to something, surely.

Feel the coolness of the in-breath. “Oh, all right, this must be the warm-up exercise.

Now bring your focus to the out-breath, make it gentle. “Well, that seems straightforward.

In-breath, out-breath; focus on the tip of the nose; in feels cool, out feels warm… make it gentle. “All right, I’ve got that, can we move on to the meditation proper now?

Focus on the rhythm and the gentleness, let your body surrender to that gentleness. “Come on, get on with it, this isn’t hard enough, it’s never going to work.

Breathe in your own rhythm. “Yes, didn’t you hear me? I’ve got that bit!

If you feel like you are nodding off, take a longer in-breath but keep it gentle. “You’ve got to be kidding – we’ve only just started. How can anyone be falling asleep yet?

“Erm… hang on a second, something’s happening here. Oh wow, this feels lovely. There’s a kind of warmth in my chest and tingling up my spine.

In-breath, out-breath, in your own rhythm.  “Actually, that’s feeling really lovely.

OK, open your eyes.

“What, is that it?!! Surely not, we’ve only just got going! That can’t have been more than five minutes. But hang on, I feel exquisite – no bliss, no sense of being out of it, no headache, no frustration at not being able to do it right. I’m all warm in my chest in a really pleasant way. That had to be the practice run… OK, I’m ready to do that for an hour or more now.

But no. That was – and is – it. Simple, comfortable, easy to do and no need to meditate for more than five to ten minutes. No ‘hours’ spent looking for answers, only 5-10 minutes to connect back to me, then take that into everything I do – my head says “Nah, that’s never going to work”, yet the feeling of warmth in my body says, “Ah, it already has”.

Who knew meditation could be so simple?

89 thoughts on “Who Knew Meditation Could Be So Simple

  1. Great post Rachel… I must say, before my first experience of the Gentle Breath Meditation I had never tried before! I was living so fast paced and from my nervous system that I didn’t have time for it!! (Couldn’t sit still if you payed me 🙂

    1. Nicolette, I too was one of those who could not sit still if you paid me!
      I used to say (and believe) that; Meditation is for semi-dead 🙂

  2. I did all those meditations except I was very good at sitting in the lotus position as well.
    When I would finish I would have to straighten my legs out very slowly because if I got
    up straight away they would be numb and I couldn’t feel my feet and so would nearly
    collapse. Then I would walk around in a daze for the next 10 minutes feeling really out
    of it i.e. me. Why? Maybe it was because I didn’t want to feel the true me. Crazy isn’t
    it. Why is something so beautifully simple made into something so complicated. Thank-you Rachel I love how you have written this it made me laugh especially at myself.

  3. I was once in hysterics of laughter with a client I was helping with food. I introduced her to the gentle breath meditation and she could not believe it’s simplicity. She said she had a ‘confession’ to make about her past attempts to introduce meditation in her daily life. She had bought all these tapes with different meditation techniques and particular types of music to go with them. She even changed curtains in her ‘meditation’ room (oh, yes, she ‘snatched’ a room from her family members for this purpose!) so it would be pitch black. Her husband and her daughters would dread her meditation times because she would become so up-tight (the opposite of what she was trying to achieve) and even ask them all to leave the house so she could be in a completely ‘peaceful’ environment. When I said she could do gentle breath meditation anywhere – on a bus, underground, plane…she exclaimed – what – no dark curtains anywhere, no special music, lotus position….
    She was very theatrical with her descriptions of what meditation had meant to her that was most amusing. What was also funny and interesting that she shared is that in spite of getting rid of everyone out of the house, having the place dark, and all the ‘special’ effects in place her mind would run riots and she always felt she could not meditate because she was not able to ’empty her mind’. Not necessary I said and not possible either.
    When she came back for the second session she passed her family regards to me (who I had never met) for braking the meditation myth to her and for giving them back their mum/wife, oh, and the family room 🙂

    1. This brought a second smile to my face… thanks for the story Dragana. Funny how upside down and complicated things can get, and how good is it when a simple alternative that is so effective gets introduced.

    2. Love this Dragana…and I actually relate. I also became so fixated on meditation practices that I would get myself in a state of total unease and completely negate anything that meditation was supposed to be doing. So happy to have done away with all that and to use the Gentle Breath as a way of being in all that I do. So simple and so effective and so natural.

    3. I love your sharing Dragana, very funny and at the same time very valuable as it indeed depicts very well some of the common misconceptions out there around meditation. Thank god to Serge Benhayon for introducing the gentle breath meditation, for his work demystifying it all and making it available to everyone.

    4. I can relate to this – I used to think that meditation was something special I could only do with a specific audio, at a certain time and in a certain place for it to ‘work’. But breathing gently is free, accessible, and can be done all of the time. It’s simply a moment to moment choice, not another thing on the to do list.

  4. Thank you Rachel for putting into such simple words what I too had been feeling when first introduced to the gentle breath meditation… is it really that simple! Yes it is. I had been doing many different styles of meditation over the years and the harder it was to do the more I thought I was ‘getting there’…to enlightenment, but really, the further I went away from the ‘real me’, but now with the Gentle Breath Meditation I have the opportunity to be connected to my heart at all times. 🙂

    1. thank you for your comment Sue which to me highlights the common pattern of thinking that the harder we apply ourselves to something the more successful we will be with it ( study, work, exercise, our health etc ). I am learning that this actually does not work. When we live from connection, there is a flow, there is no density, the trust is naturally there, and everything is very simple – like the gentle breath meditation.

  5. I LOVE Gentle Breath Meditation and the opportunity of reconnecting back to me that those few minutes present. It has been the easiest and yet most profound thing I have ever learned – so simple and yet so vast, such are the changes this connection has made in the way I now live my life.

  6. Rachel, your article brought a big smile to my face. Thank you… a digital smile follows 🙂
    The gentle breath meditation is so simple, yet so effective. It’s an ideal antidote for the four ess’s: raciness, mentalness, complicationess and stress.

  7. Love the humour with it Rachel… I can so relate to the joy of simplicity in meditation. I actually use to sit in meditation for 8 hours in one day on occasions and on retreats. There was the belief that the longer I sat the more connected I would become.It required effort and time. It was more an escape from the mundane worldliness as I saw it then. Now I find that every thing I do can be a meditation if I first connect with myself and this as you say is simple when we connect with our breath.

  8. I love this story… I remember and still get that cometary at times. You have beautifully presented the simplicity of it all…

  9. Thank you Rachel, great, playful blog. Resonates with my own experience of long uncomfortably meditation and pins and needles… the gentle breath meditation is amazing, life changingly so.

  10. That was so lovely… I felt the steady quiet presence of the meditation as I read it even through all the chattering commentary… really fun to read 🙂

  11. This made me laugh – how many hours of HARD practice I did only to find the simplicity of the gentle breath – isn’t it crazy that we think it has to be hard to feel so lovely!

  12. Thanks Rachel, I too have tried many meditation techniques & thrown them all out the door. The gentle breath meditation is so simple yet such a profound re-connection to the real yumminess of me. Its so funny how it is so ingrained in us to believe that if its not difficult its not effective or going to work. And yet the gentle breath meditation and all of what Universal Medicine present is so simple – if we allow it to be.
    Has the head led us astray by creating complexity?
    Could life be so simple?

  13. Just reading your post brings a sense of how uncomplicated life actually is and how complicated we make it – your lighthearted approach deconstructs this mindset so beautifully!! Thank you.

    1. absolutely Helen – when complication/lack of flow comes into my life I know it is definitely time to re-connect or connect deeper ;O)

  14. So beautifully and playfully written. Why do we make it so complicated? I did not know any better for most of my life. The gentle breath meditation was a turning point for me in seeing how exquisite, simple and effortless life can be.

  15. Awesome Rachel! I am only now appreciating the simplicity and ease of the Gentle Breath Meditation which we can do anywhere – even in conversation (with eyes open of course!) after some practice.

  16. I can really relate to this blog in the sense that, despite having known about the Gentle Breath Meditation for a few years now, my mind has avoided that simplicity at all costs. “Surely there must be a more complicated way to reach my inner-most” is the train of thought my mind has been riding on. But nothing has worked and I am feeling more inspired than ever to entertain the possibility that simple is the key. We’ll find out and no doubt I will be coming back to this blog for a re-read.

  17. Thank you, Rachel. When I first began with the gentle breath mediation, I would freak out because I could feel my body again, and all the raciness I was living in. It was very challenging. But with perseverance and with time, now when I choose to breath gently at any given moment, I am able to re-connect back to myself again. And this can be anywhere, at any time.

    1. what a valuable comment Shami – it really does not matter where you start. This very simple meditation technique does work for everyone … as long as there is a sincere commitment to oneself

    2. Thank you Rachel and Shami, I agree the gentle breath meditation as presented by Serge Benhayon has become part of my Livingness. Although these days it is more like a very stilling breath that comes from my simple choice to breathe me.

  18. I gave up on the various meditation practices because I never could empty my mind….and then I found the Gentle Breath Meditation which gives my mind something to do because it can’t be emptied..hurrah, at last a true understanding.

  19. Very funny Rachel. As I read your blog I realised how the mind can make life and meditation very complicated, when it really is so simple.

    1. “I realised how the mind can make life and meditation very complicated, when it really is so simple” not only applies to meditation but to all aspects of our livingness. Thank you Natalie for expressing it this way – it is a teaching that reminds us of the tricks the mind can use to keep us away from the truth, which is simple in essence. Complication is one of the mind’s favorite tricks as Rachel’s article so clearly and humorously reminds us.

      1. Absolutely Anne, ‘Complication is one of the mind’s favorite tricks’ and I have let myself be tricked so often in the past, but with this simple meditation it is possible to come back to myself and get a perspective on my life in a few short minutes.

  20. So funny, thank you for sharing this Rachel. A great description of the simplicity and effectiveness of the gentle breath meditation.

  21. I really enjoyed your description of your first experience with the gentle breath Rachel, you have caught that little voice so accurately and humorously!
    Serge Benhayon has made this practice so simple and shows us how we can complicate everything to a ridiculous degree.

  22. Love it Rachel I can so relate to feeling that there had to be more than this – to the Gentle Breath meditation when I started after years of doing other forms of meditation – that never managed to quiet my mind.

  23. I completely agree – simple and exquisite. Re-connecting to me through the Gentle Breath Meditation has become an essential part of my day and something that I can do anywhere at any time. And love your playful narrative Rachel – super fun to read.

  24. Was an absolute delight to read this blog this mornig Rachel in how simple and effortless the gentle breath meditation actually is. I have found it a fantastic support, which has become my daily ritual to start my day. Also love your playfullness and humorous writing as I could easily relate as many will I’m sure of the frustrations of meditating in the past.

  25. A gorgeous breakdown of the beauty and simplicity of the Universal Medicine meditations and the powerful yet effortless reconnection they provide… with a perfectly added dash of humour – loved it.

  26. I loved the humor in your article Rachel. The gentle breath meditation is beautifully simple and effective, and can easily be used anywhere and anytime to reconnect back to yourself.

  27. Very entertaining Rachel. Light and purposeful – just like the meditation.
    I have tried a few meditations in the past: the 3 day silent retreat, or the sitting all day till your legs quite literally feel dead (we are talking a long way past pins and needles here).
    The Gentle Breath Meditation is simple, accessible, not weird (like some), and with a very powerful, and beautiful effect of bringing me back into my body.

  28. Rachel, this blog is so funny! The dialogue between Serge Benhayon and you is fantastic, on the other hand, is a clear example of how hard it is for us to embrace simplicity and feel how we feel when we do so. I have to say, my most exquisite moments are when simplicity is deeply felt and my body just aligns to it confirming me big time.

  29. Who knew mediation could be so fun!? Thank you for lightening up something that can be confused with pain and discipline. Meditation for me has been something I associate torture with actually, from painstakingly getting through 10 days of vipassana and whipping myself into shape and doing this meditation each day I became revolted by the idea of sitting and breathing for hours on end. This blog is a call to me to get over the trauma I put myself through and begin to re-imprint mediation as it should be, a moment to connect and feel the love in my body through the gentleness of my breath. How beautiful.

  30. Thank you Rachel for bringing the fun into meditation. I could never understand why people sat for ages……emptying their mind and hoping for enlightenment, I tried it just before I came to Universal Medicine and it left me wanting more and brought in comparison, was someone meditating and finding God more than me. The Gentle Breath Meditation with Universal Medicine is completely different, it is not about finding anything but to bring me back to me, so simple, a stop moment to re-connect back to me and then to carry on with my day.

  31. Yes agree Rachel, the Gentle Breath Meditation is so simple and you can do it anywhere without any uncomfortable positions. After trying many forms of Meditation over the past 20 years, I can honestly say the Gentle Breath Meditation truly works.

  32. Rachel, I love the way you have written this blog, a beautifully explained the Gentle Breath Meditation but with your humour and wit.

  33. 5-10minutes of a Gentle Breath Meditation for me feels absolutely timeless and completely recalibrates my day back to one founded on pure simplicity and truth. Thankyou Rachel, your blog was very amusing and oh so true.

    1. The Gentle Breath Mediation certainly is a brilliant way to connect back to our essence. I don’t consciously practice this often but I know it is key to bringing stillness and deep connection into my body and my day.

  34. Awesome Rachel, so funny how you describe the simplicity of true meditation. Thank you for sharing!

  35. I love this, Rachel. Gentle Breath Meditation was my first point of contact with Universal Medicine. A friend played the meditation audio when I visited her place. I wasn’t paying attention and I wasn’t doing the meditation with the audio, but I caught ‘Breathe your own breath’ bit – it felt beautiful, but at the same time I felt somewhat stunned. I had previously done various kind of meditation involving breathing – from simply paying attention to it, to hyperventilating myself and making weird sound – nobody mentioned that it had to be MY OWN breath that I was breathing. When I heard Serge Benhayon on that day, it felt like I just realised that I was in fact lost in the thick fog and I didn’t even know that I was lost.

  36. So simple and so fitting into our busy daily lives. This meditation is really it. I could always feel that there is a speck of truth in many of the forms of meditation I tried. But somehow they always felt disturbing, imposing, bastardized, from another time and culture, not fitting for how life is today. Serge Benhayon has this beautiful ability to bring through Ageless Wisdom, that feels true, and is presented in a way that adjusts itself to what is needed today.

  37. Ah the simplicity of connecting back to our essence, could it be that easy? It was never about leaving ourselves as the magic and divinity are found within.

  38. I agree Rachel, so simple and lovely as the warmth you bring to this story, as I so relate to the joy and simplicity of this meditation. After sitting for hours on retreats ‘trying’ to meditate somehow believing that the longer I sat the more connected I would become. It was more about escaping from mundane life that I saw then. Isn’t it crazy that we think it has to be so hard to feel so lovely and then carry on with my day.

  39. Rachel, I love the playfulness and joy of your expression here. The Gentle Breath Meditation makes a huge difference to our connection and is so simple to do.

  40. Rachel I also found in the past meditating for long periods of time, doesn’t actually do anything, it is really the equivalent to checking out. I would drop into a false sense of calmness, and there was no true connection to my heart either. The Gentle Breath Meditation has been an amazing way for me to build a true connection with myself.

  41. Great sharing, Rachel. I hadn’t tried many types of meditation before I discovered the gentle breath. However I did notice that other meditations take me outside of myself and I blissed out, but the gentle breath connects me to me in a way that I had never before felt me. I too felt the warm glow inside my chest and I have been practising it for well over a year now and bringing it into my day and am totally enjoying coming back to me.

  42. Thank you Rachel, I agree, the gentle breath meditation as presented by Serge Benhayon is extremely simple as you explain. The first time I tried to do a meditation at a yoga retreat 25 years ago the lotus position destroyed my knee and I could not walk for 2 weeks! Thank God for Serge Benhayon and the Way of the Livingness as life has now become my meditation.

  43. I absolutely love the dialogue you had with yourself Rachel. Your sense of humour, honesty and way of expressing is simply brilliant. It really exposes how ridicules it is to go through torturous forms of meditation but when we experience the Gentle Breath Mediation it is so simple, divine, exquisite and done and dusted in 5-10 min plus we can apply this amazing technique anywhere and everywhere.

  44. This blog also exposes how much we like to complicate things, from meditation to our everyday life. Really you have made me realise how ridiculous this is and how much pain mentally and physically we endure because of our many choices to choose complication over simplicity.

  45. “Who knew meditation could be so simple?” I so agree. Having spent many years experiencing various forms of meditation with all sorts of complicated mantras and positions etc and on one course ‘trying’ to do it for at least six hours a day! The gentle breath meditation is so simple and a great way to reconnect to our breath and body – to our deep sense of ourselves.

  46. Agreed, Rachel. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated or long-drawn out, indulgent, contorted, uncomfortable and unsupportive. The Gentle Breath Meditation brings stillness to the body simply by doing what is so very natural – breathing gently.

    1. This was the reason why I was not drawn to meditation because it seemed so complicated and uncomfortable but with The Gentle Breath Meditation I was blown away by how easy and simple it is to do. My body loves it.

  47. A great reminder that reconnecting to ourselves doesn’t have to be complicated, uncomfortable and sore! Just involving deep gentleness and our natural breathing.

  48. Your playfull approach to presenting this Rachel makes for an enlightening expose of the truth of what really goes on in meditation and how disconnected it truly is from the otherwise simplicity in our body. No need for anything more than this as all meditation truly is, is just a simple re-connection exercise

  49. The simplicity of the Gentle Breath Meditation allows you to be instantly aware when you are distracted by complication.

  50. I love your commentary Rachel. I’ve read your blog before but reading it again I really appreciate your humour and style of expression. It really highlights how simple The Gentle Breath Meditation is, it is something we can do easily and incorporate throughout our day, unlike any other meditation I have seen.

  51. Rachel I love your sense of humour, and I totally agree The Gentle Breath Meditation is simply, oh so simple.

  52. Gorgeous Rachel. What a lovely reminder of the simplicity and loveliness of the gentle breath meditation. You had me remembering that I also tried many other ways to meditate before I found this one. How awesome it is to have a tool that allows us to reconnect when we go off track.

  53. Who said that a mediation should be uncomfortable or painful and should last at least 1 hour??? Rachel I love the way how you describe the simplicity of the Gentle Breath Meditation.

  54. Simplicity is so much more powerful and effective than complication… and for me the gentle breath meditation is definitely far more simple and effective compared to any other meditations I have tried.

  55. It’s amazing how something so exquisitely simple can be so powerful in such a short space of time, providing a foundation that can be built upon that transforms the way you look at and move through life from there in.

  56. The mind likes things to be complicated and complex so it has something it can conquer and then pat itself on the back for having done well. When we are asked to be in simplicity, there is nothing to be identified with but to feel the loveliness within ourselves that was already there at the start of all days.

  57. I love how you call out the wanting to stay in it longer, to get respite from the craziness of the world by staying in the stillness – indulging in it. But that is not not purpose of this meditation from what I have learnt. It is about re-connecting and then living with that in everything we do. That revolutionises the way we live and how we are with others.

  58. This is brilliant – so true how we think something has to be so complicated for it to work! The esoteric – i.e. living a joyful life by connecting to who we truly are – is amazing in its simplicity – and yet if we’re used to living our lives from our heads, we make it so complicated and difficult for ourselves by trying to logically figure it all out. Life is so simple when we allow it to be.

  59. “..– my head says “Nah, that’s never going to work”, yet the feeling of warmth in my body says, “Ah, it already has”.” Simple and true. So simple our need for complexity can struggle against it, but the body just knows.

  60. That’s beautiful Rachel. No need to do it for an hour or more. once we have connected then we can get up and take that into our day. Our body gets it instantaneously. Our mind if we allow it to will fight tooth and nail for us not to feel the truth in our body.

  61. “Comfortable? But this is meditation!!” Exactly Rachel Hall! Oh my for the hours I did actually let my legs and feet go numb, and convinced myself I needed to bust through the pain barrier in this…
    The Gentle Breath Meditation has transformed the way I see meditation and its purpose in our life, and it makes absolute sense. It supports the most beautiful connection with ourselves, via the gentleness of breath and simple presence with our breath in our bodies.

  62. What I have learnt and realised upon reflecting on the other meditation practices I had embarked upon over the years, is that they took me away from my body and offered a sense of escape from life and the living of it. In the Gentle Breath Meditation (GBM), there IS the exquisite opportunity to simply reconnect with oneself and/or deepen that inner-connection, yet this place is not sought as a refuge, but rather as a confirmation of being here, in this body and in this world.
    Our lives can be a living meditation – every action (without perfection of course) in such connection. Being so simply in touch with the quality of my own breath is the key to developing in this, and today after practising the GBM for many years now, I am super-aware the moment my breath loses its natural centredness and ease – it’s an alert to pay attention and gently re-establish the connection that is, in truth, always there for us if we so choose…

  63. I love your playful quality here Rachel but you also raise some great points about the simplicity and power of the Gentle Breath Meditation that has changed thousands of people lives worldwide.

  64. When you are presented something true I have been faced with the reflection of the quality of relationship I have with myself. This tends to put me into reaction not wanting to feel where I am at with the reflection instead of embracing what is on offer.

  65. It really does make me pause and reflect on how meditation like many other tools to support the re-connection to ourselves have been bastardised. I have also tried all different styles of meditation too from guided meditations to staring into the flame of a candle but looking back I realise I was practising them because I had told myself that it was good for me! When I was first introduced to the Gentle Breath Meditation it took me some time to get used to its simplicity. I was holding a belief that simplicity didn’t work; that unless there was some sort of drama involved then how could it work(?!) even though what I felt in my body was a sense of re-connection to myself and to everything. Bringing simplicity into my life is a work in progress but boy when I do life becomes so much easier and simple that I find it difficult to understand why I wouldn’t want life to be any other way!

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