I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure I remember a time when he did not do guided meditations in this way - not explicitly. He was always quite creative in his teachings - always off the cuff - and, in his guided meditation instructions.
At some point, for reasons unknown, he seemed to shift from the usual directives i.e. bring the attention back to the breath when it wanders off and started including this preparatory instruction before breath awareness. I wonder if he remembers when he -ted doing this?
I think it was after Ayya came for a visit? Ayya did ask him to teach jhanas. He had misgivings at first. He said something like, he believed he needed to look like a wisened old-owl type teacher befor people would be responsive. Ayya helped him to see things differently.
Before this happened his guidance an emphasis was on redirecting the attention gently, like a loving mother would care for their toddler who had a tendency to wander out of their yard and into potential danger. He has always been a big-softy!
This kind of softening and infinite patience with the wandering mind made the practice kinder but my toddler never learned to stay in the yard. I had better results in meditation before I had been introduced to anapanasati practice guided by Theravada practitioners.
The cute little bugger - the mind - was completely clueless, the idea of staying in the yard is not something the squirt could make much sense of?
When it comes to the thoughts that come and go in meditation I am still not sure there is anybody home, anybody who is actually doing the thinking. If there is they don’t seem to have any control?