Why mindful breathing won’t work for you

2’600 years ago, the Buddha wrote up his 40 original personality types.
One of them was the one with a running mind.
Those people, he wrote, cannot stop the mental chattering; their mind just keeps going.
And for those people, the only remedy is mindful breathing.
So if you’re not one of those people, the fad with breathing meditation might just not be for you.

One shouldn’t break the mind like a wild horse,
But approach it slowly and make friends with it.
Observe it.

The Buddhists call the mind the monkey brain, it keeps jumping and being distracted.
This monkey brain can be the most dangerous thing, creating atom bombs and harmful laws, but also beautiful, writing down sonnets and inspiring chants.
It is crucial to be aware of what impacts our mind, and what it impacts in return.
So how do we subdue it?

Breathing meditation is simple and accessible,
soothing as we release control.
It’s not meant to be pleasant or annoying, just neutral.

So if breathing meditation doesn’t do it for you, if the rest and silence unsettles you, there are many other kinds of meditation you can try to make friends with your mind.
The crucial part of meditation is to wean ourselves from uncontrolled stimulation to avoid sitting with ourselves.
So we focus on something neutral, not feeding our hedonic cravings.

  • There’s visualisation meditation, where we conjure up an image or a journey in our mind.
    You can find one for whatever area you want to focus on, such as body image or manifestation.
    You can take a stroll in the forest or relax by a lake, and forget your worries for a while.
  • Or you could try movement meditation, and not only walking, but also dancing!
    Moving your body can help you not feel stiff or bored, and reconnects you to your body.
  • A fun one is mantra meditation, particularly part of kundalini yoga.
    Focusing on a spiritual mantra or affirmation, tied in with your breath, can be incredibly powerful.
  • Loving-kindness metta meditation is a powerful one.
    Originally Buddhist, you will focus on sending positive energy to yourself, your loved ones, and the ones you resent. Amazing to reset!
  • There’s so many more, but lastly I’ll mention transcendental meditation.
    It’s hard to explain in a short sentence, but by focusing on a mantra, we take our presence in the room into focus.

Happy to give recommendations for any of these examples, I practise a lot of breathing meditation but love to spice it up every now and then, especially with spiritual meditations.
Let me know what kind of meditation you practise!
Is there anything you struggle with?

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