One More Meditation for Your “Self-Help” Tool Box

I really do write and teach about other things than meditation, but so far I’ve been focused on providing some good, basic information on a variety of meditation techniques that can help improve the quality of people’s lives.

So before I switch subjects, I wanted to give you another meditation to sample. This is one of the easiest and perhaps one of the most powerful meditations you can ever learn: The “1, 2, 3, 4, Meditation.”

What could be simpler? 1,2,3,4

All you need to do is to slowly visualize and internally count to four on the in-breath and then again count to four on the exhalation. Really, …that’s all there is to it.

But the trick is that you need to intensely focus on each of those numbers—paint them with a purple paint brush (or blue, or green) behind your eyes as you bring each one into your conscious awareness. Then see each number slowly fade out as you paint the next number behind your eyes, etc.

  • Just close your eyes now, and really see the paintbrush tip up close—dipped in your favorite soothing color, …as you make the first stoke for the number “1.”
  • Then see the “1” fade away into darkness behind your eyes, ….and you then begin the initial stoke for the number “2,” with all the curves and that left-to-right line at the end.
  • Now see the “2” fade away into the darkness … you then start the brush-stroke behind your still-closed-eyes for the number “3.”
  • Easy to do, …so simple….you watch the number “3” now fade away into that silky darkness, …and you start that paintbrush in motion again for the number “4”—and paint it however YOU draw a “4.” It doesn’t have to look like this one shown.
  • Now, as the number “4” begins to fade away again into the darkness, you go back to the number “1” and keep repeating the 4-step process in your mind for every inhalation and every exhalation.

The rest is like walking and chewing gum at the same time. You count to four on the in-breath, and then count to four on the out-breath. IN: 1, 2, 3, 4,….OUT: 1, 2, 3, 4, …. IN: 1, 2, 3, 4,….OUT: 1, 2, 3, 4,… etc.

For every INHALATION, you mentally count to 4.  Then hold it, hold it, hold the breath in, …and then EXHALE while you do the same thing—visualizing the individual numbers being created 1, 2, 3, 4 and then dissolving each one away, until you reach the last one (“4”), where you pause on that exhalation for just a second or two, …and INHALE as you begin counting and drawing the 4 numbers again. Then hold the breath in for a couple seconds, and EXHALE to the same count and visualization of 1, 2, 3, 4. And just continue doing this for however long you meditate.

This meditation is so easy to learn, …so easy to do, ….and if you practice it enough to feel comfortable using it without having to work at it, it can become the critical tool that you have available for any emergency situation in the future. It can pull you back into focus when whatever is happening around you is creating havoc with your mind and body.

This meditation is SO powerful, that I call it “The Emergency Response Meditation.”

It is powerful because the slower you say and draw the numbers in your mind, the deeper and longer you breathe. You can actually control your breathing by simply putting all of your focus on slowing down the speed that you say and draw each of those numbers in your mind.

And while your mind is SO focused on the task you have given it—saying and drawing those numbers one-by-one, it releases itself from the external source that was distracting it, and returns back to your command to focus on those numbers as you intentionally slow them down in your mind to intentionally lengthen your breathing.

When you can control your mental focus and control your breathing in ANY situation, then you have control of your body and your mind. Interesting, eh? But when would this meditation be helpful?

Have you ever had an anxiety attack?

I hadn’t had one until many years ago I was driving solo through the Rockies, and suddenly at maximum altitude, my vehicle started to sputter like it was going to quit. There I was by myself and my mind began to do that “worst-case scenario” dance of possible calamities, etc. And pretty soon after that, the car wasn’t the only thing sputtering. I began to hyper-ventilate. Those shallow, quick breaths weren’t allowing my body to utilize the lesser-available oxygen high in the mountains to supply what my brain needed to function. I was in near panic—and it was totally self-created from that “worst-case, what-if?” thinking.

BUT, …my saving grace was that I already knew the “1, 2, 3, 4, Meditation,” and I began doing it for all I was worth. The more I focused on the numbers, the more my mind let go of the panic-thinking. The slower I managed to say/visualize the numbers, the longer my breathing became. You get the picture. I pulled myself out of a serious situation because I knew how to do the “1, 2, 3, 4, Meditation,” and I’ve used it in other high-stress situations since that time, because IT WORKS!

So if I could impress upon you the importance of any single meditation, it would be to learn this one. Once you have it in your repertoire of meditation techniques, you will never be at the mercy of your own wavering mind ever again.

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