Last week I was describing a meditation technique from Richard Wolf's book In Tune: Music as the Bridge to Mindfulness that I have found useful. This week I will describe another.
In this one, you need to divide your breaths into four beats. One thing that Wolf stresses over and over again is that as you become more relaxed, your breaths will naturally be longer and slower, so your beats will slow down. That is OK. It's better to have the beats match your breath than to force your breath to match your beats.
In this technique, you assign one internally-heard pitch each of the four beats. Wolf recommends using Pythagorean intervals, so I will describe that here. One such set of intervals is 1-4-5-1, or do-fa-sol-do. If you play an instrument, you could play it as C-F-G-C.
Here's how the technique goes. Breathe in and hear internally (don't sing this out loud) C-C-C-C in four even beats. Hold the breath and count four silent beats. Breathe out and hear internally F-F-F-F in four even beats. Hold the breath and count four silent beats. Breathe in and hear internally G-G-G-G in four even beats. Hold the breath and count four silent beats. Breathe out and hear internally C-C-C-C in four even beats. Hold the breath and count four silent beats. Repeat.
I don't know why, but I find this just complex enough to keep my mind engaged while producing a deep calm at the same time. Perhaps it will help you as well.