OK, I found the book that I had initially heard this from. It's a book called "Working Towards Enlightenment" written by Master Nan Huai-Chin. This book was among the first of the materials that really got me into meditation, and later on, more interest in Buddhism it'self. For the longest time his books have been my measuring stick for how I approach this kind of material. The part of the book I'm talking about is Master Nan describing parts of a sutra. Anyway, too the quote!
Page 124, 2nd, 3rd and 3th paragraphs.
" "There are no other thoughts." At this time, there must be no thoughts at all in the mind: this is the principle of correcting the mind. "Tie your consciousness to your nose" Take your consciousness and focus it on your nose. This sentence has killed many students of Taoism and Buddhism. Is this some sort of "guarding the apertures?" "The eyes observe the nose, the nose observes the mind" -is that so? You can be so concerned with this that you raise your blood pressure Are you imitating the white crane? The white crane can live more than a thousand years. The story goes that this is because when the white crane stops and rests, his nose faces his anus, and the two breaths circulate together. But our necks are so much shorter than the white cranes, so how can we imitate it? Thus Buddha says: "The stupidity of sentient beings is truly pitiful."
The phrase "tie your consciousness to your nose" is not telling you to observe your nose. Rather, the idea is to first alert you to the fact that you must pay attention to your breath as you breathe in and out. This is the first step of "mind and breath depending on each other," making the consciousness follow the breathing.
"When you breathe out a long exhalation, know how long the breath is." In correcting your mind, you must not depart from breathing and breathing in: you yourself must be aware of how long your exhalations and inhalations last. "When you breathe in a long inhalation, know how long the breath is." Pay attention to the word "know." If on one hand you are cultivating the breath and on the other hand your brain is full of chaotic thoughts, this is not right, this will not bring results. Thinking must be matched with breathing: this is called focusing the mind by ananapana."
Maybe I interpreted the passages incorrectly, if so, please kindly give some input!