C3: The Anapanasati Technique

In our previous posts, one of the internal options for handling harmful behavior patterns was introduced—The C3 Approach, and we have also delved into the first technique of the C3 approach—The Metta Technique .The C3 process, which stands for calmness, clarity and choice, assists the mind in recognizing and then breaking free from harmful patterns. Thus, C3 offers a solution to those who are trapped by ever-escalating disharmony and suffering. Freedom from exposure to post traumatic stress, emotional impairment, physical injury, and other horrific experiences starts with a person’s willingness to think and respond in new ways that can reduce risk by minimizing emotional engagement.

Before we discuss the second technique used in the C3 approach, it should be noted that all meditations are best practiced by sitting on the ground cross-legged, on pillows or a small stool, or if necessary, on a chair. Keeping the back and neck in a straight line is more important than being close to the ground. Hands can be folded in your lap or set on the knees, either faced down or up. Eyes are closed or almost closed. Breathe in and out gently. No music or other distractions should be present - it's just you and your mind.

Try not to move excessively, but it is okay to scratch, sneeze, cough, and move your legs if they hurt. Remove distractions; over time the body will get used to being still. For some, it can be beneficial to be around other people who are also meditating.

Anapanasati - Breathing/Self-Awareness Meditation

This technique is used when someone is unable to sleep, is having trouble focusing, is prone to overreacting, is nervous and anxious, or is unable to see situations clearly. Focusing on breathing and internal dynamics reduces external distractions and the misinterpretation of events relating to the person, as well as misinterpretation of the emotions that others are having.

Anapanasati is designed to calm the mind and to teach the mind not to talk to itself. This skill assists in creating a space for clarity. Mentally talking to yourself often interferes with clear observation and listening.

This meditation is accomplished by saying to yourself as you inhale, “I am breathing in" and as you exhale, "I am breathing out." Just breathe normally and observe your breath.

As you breathe in and out, notice if you are getting distracted and say to yourself, "I am distracted - now I am breathing in and breathing out." Bless yourself with your calm mind. Go back to observing your breath.

Anapanasati, unlike the Metta technique discussed in a previous post, is an exercise that trains the brain to shut down, stop talking to itself, and promote tranquility and stillness. This mediation is favored by those who need to clear their head and relax. Many practice this mediation for a few minutes before going to bed at night.

This process helps to detach from anxiety and the distraction of random thoughts. Try not to think of anything but your breath. Try not to re-live emotional events, avoid planning for tomorrow or making a list of things to do, do not give attention to sounds around you. When you get distracted, say to yourself "I am breathing in, I am breathing out" and come back to the distraction after the meditation to examine why you were distracted.

In time this may take as long as 20-30 minutes to fully experience calmness. Start with 5 minutes and let your body decide how long to extend the sessions as you become more comfortable with the process. Even a few deep mindful breaths while waiting for the bus or giving your eyes a rest at work can provide substantial benefit over time.

Moving forward:

There are 3 different techniques used in the C3 approach and the third is discussed here.

When in the midst of an abusive situation, it may be difficult to think clearly and come up with a solution to remedy the abuse, while trying to implement it may feel almost impossible. However, given the right tools and the will power to create change, it most certainly is possible, even more so– it is probable. Many may feel overwhelmed and may not know where to start, but it is important to start somewhere.

Please continue to check in with us each week for a new post about abusive behavior and how it can affect your life and the lives of those around you. There is always that first action to helping someone you care about. Let this be it!


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