A mindful exercise: Anapana Meditation

Anapana Meditation so called as Anapana Sati is an ancient technique used around 2500 years ago by Shakyamuni Gautama The Buddha. It is the combination of Ana “inhaling of breath” and Apana “Exhaling of breathing” and Sati “to concentrate”. How this style of meditation was developed. Let’s recall the short flashback of that time. In the republic state named Kapilbastu, King Sudhodhan was ruling the nation. There was an occasion when King used to plant rice in Rice Planting festival which carried a great cultural and historical importance in the kingdom. Siddhartha Gautam was very young at the moment. All the locals from every part of the country gathered the place to look at a view of the Great King planting rice. Prince Siddhartha was also taken in the event site along with his caretakers. They were looking after the prince but he fell asleep. The rice planting ceremony was celebrated in huge pride and glory and those caretakers could not resist to go and capture the live view of the King planting the rice.

Prince Siddhartha woke up. He saw no one around him. He did not waste his time and stood in the meditation position and started doing the Anapana Sati immediately i.e. concentrating on inhaling and exhaling of the normal and natural breath. After viewing the event from the ceremony, the caretakers were worried about the prince. They immediately ran towards the spot but they saw him from sleeping posture to meditating posture. The small boy with calm, cheerful, happy and with the bright face which could gain any public attention. The scene was simply wow. They were too astonished deeply. They intended to call the King. The King too saw those mesmerizing view and bowed his head and did “second time Putra Bandana” to his beloved son.

The same meditation technique was used by him when he was at the age of 35 which contributed him to be Shakyamuni Gautama the Buddha from Prince Siddhartha Gautam. He attended enlightenment. He had control over fear, anger, hatred, greed, and sorrow which bounds the life and makes us unhappy. He became the conqueror of himself. Thanks to him and his Dhamma disciple that this technique is still being used in the present world and people are utilizing it to full advantage.

Once again, Anapana Sati is the technique to control our mind which has the habit to roam enormously. We can’t even realize it till our mind has lost our control and travel in their own wish of either past moments or upcoming future activities. This roaming attitude of our mind is so intense and deep and is hampering our life in many ways. The reason why we are not able to focus on our present moment is because of this reckless habit of our mind. It looks simple but is very intense in reality. But this behavior of our mind could be changed and for that “Anapana Meditation” technique would be a great help as it allows our sense to bring in the present state and live in the present moment.

Our life is a combination of hatred, joy, happiness, sadness, sorrow, anger, greed and emotions which may be positive or negative. We are floating in it. Wishes never end and we thrive to fulfill our wishes at any cost making ourselves unhappy. We too are focusing our mind to roam either in the past activities or the upcoming future plans. We are continuously thinking about it so quickly. As for quick instance, just try to be for a while in solitude. Definitely, the deep and unwanted thoughts will wonder in our mind like we are planning to do something for the future; somebody  has done something wrong to me, I’ll do the same; recalling many past incidents either good or bad; worry about our future and lots of uncountable and unimaginable thoughts which is totally useless since it won’t give any fruitful results.

That’s why Anapana Meditation teaches us to focus our mind on the present moment through the methods of our natural and pure breath which is automatically and naturally coming in and going out. This meditation is the exercise of taming our mind to be stable and remain in the present. The reason why this technique takes the breath as the reference because mind and breath have the inseparable connection in our body. As for instance, when we are in fear, agony, nervous, anger automatically our breathing is not normal that means when our mind is in a difficult situation, our breathing is disturbed. So this mechanism taking the reference of breath helps and guide our mind to focus on the present context concentrating on the inhaling and exhaling of pure and natural breath which enters and exits through our nostrils. Also, other important things to remember is this meditation is keeping yourself aware and focus on the natural breath neglecting any mantras or counting any numbers and we should look the breath which is naturally coming in and naturally going out. That thing is really important. (For more you can google and youtube it)

In order to incentivize by the benefits, this procedure needs continuous practice, assume daily 10 minutes morning and evening. If anyone is able to do so, then definitely concentration capacity of the individual will increase as our unstable mind finds the medium to remain stable and our old and countless thoughts are being deleted from some sort of time. It will help to let our mind to focus on what we are doing and what is important right now. This habit of mind is very useful because it will help to concentrate on the work that we are doing now resulting in the expected outcome.

Everybody desires a happy life and get away from sorrow, pain, and suffering. Those are the phases of our life and we should go through it whether we desire or not. Once we develop the habit to do “Anapana Sati”, it will help us to react and develop our confidence in such sort of difficult situation. That’s the unique feature and quality of it. We have got a precious life and it will be more worthy if we are able to live it in the desired way. The happy and joyful life is the result of our KARMA whether we planted good or bad deeds. As said, life is worth precious and living the joyful and happy life is the dream for all. Lets all of us live it accordingly. Respected Anapana and Vipassana Guru S.N Goenka once said, “We cannot live in the past’ it is gone. Nor we live in the future; it is forever beyond our grasp. We can live only in the present. If we are unaware of our present actions, we are condemned to repeating the mistakes of the past and never succeed in attaining our dreams for the future.


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