If you were to draw an image of your breath, it would look like a figure eight, not a straight line, because there is continuity as your breath flows in and out.
Meditation is not about getting rid of all thoughts. It's learning not to get so lost in them that you forget the goal.
When trying to visualize during meditation, focus less on the clarity of the image, and more on the feeling it brings to the meditation.
- Imagine your happy place. Not just the image, but also the sounds, smells, and general overall feeling that goes with it (ex. Huatulco house view). There shouldn't be any great effort that comes with it. This minimal effort should be similar to when we do visualization exercises in mediation.
Often in life, our body is doing one thing and our mind is doing something else. The point of meditation is to bring the mind and the body to the same place.
Mindfulness is a state of clear non-judgmental and un-distracted attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. mindfulness is about making insightful discoveries about the nature of our own mind. mindfulness is not a passive practice if you were being mindful, you were being passionate about objectively discerning out what is real in this present moment.
It's not a matter of thinking more clearly about an experience, it's the act of experiencing more clearly, including the arising of thoughts themselves. mindfulness is about recognizing the arising of thoughts and feelings, without being critical of them.
When thoughts arise, the purpose is not to eschew them, but is to be almost a third party observer of these thoughts having occurred. When we enter into a discourse with ourselves, we are absorbed with that. Being mindful is about being able to observe those thoughts as they are occurring.
Mindfulness is about being no longer perpetually identified with the contents of your thoughts.
Consider a sound that appears for only a moment— be it the creaking of a door, or a beeper going off. This sound exists for only an imperceptibly small moment. It doesn't stay past the point where it's sounding anymore. We simply observe them as they come, and then they are promptly gone. While meditating, we should strive to treat invading thoughts in much the same way— we observe them as they arise, but don't dwell on them.
Any sensory object is an object of mindful meditation. We only use the breath because it is something that is with us at all times. In actuality, any sensation can be used as an object of meditation, be it sound, smell, sensation etc.