General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
When beginning my meditation practice, I had much success in focusing on the sensation of the breath at the nostrils and was making progress with focus on the breath. Over time, I began to accidently gain what I would consider control over the muscles within the head and the sinuses, to the point where now when I meditate, I cannot feel the sensation of the breathe anywhere except the throat, and the nostrils seem totally numb to air. Because the position of the head muscles is distracting. It is as if, I need to align the muscles in the head before relaxing, and my ears will even pop. So, my meditation has lead nowhere for months since I lost the ability to focus at the nostrils because of tension in the muscles of the head and changes in the sinuses. I have no cold or sinus problem, and the muscles that I am feeling are perhaps behind the eyes and I'm not even sure if such a thing even exists or I'm imagining it. So I am not sure what to do. Now, no matter how hard I try, there remains this urge to align some mysterious muscles behind the nose or eyes, and to make my ears pop before I can move toward focus at the tips of the nostrils.
Does anyone have a similiar experience and/or solution?
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I'm not sure about muscles, but I do know that the back of the throat is as good a place to rest your focus as any other place. If you really cannot feel the nostrils, but can comfortably focus at the throat, then focus there instead. Leave this muscle business behind.
If in the future something changes again, and you can not feel at the throat but can instead feel somewhere else, then that will also be fine.
The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.
And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72
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Let the breaths flow in and out naturally. Simply follow the breath without forcing it..
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Try not focusing on the sensation of air at the nostrils or mouth, nor at the sensation of movement at the abdomen. Instead, recognize that the breath is a body flex, which dovetails into the first tetrad of anapanasati. Here, the attempt to calm kaya-sankhara has a different overall sense than any form of minute focus on this or that percept, which does lead to tension (it is, itself, a form of tension, so that it should foment tension elsewhere is to be expected).
I recommend not even making an attempt to calm the breath - just notice the breath amongst the rest of the body, and calm intention with respect to that.
"There is, headman, dhammasamādhi. If you were to obtain cittasamādhi in that, you might abandon this state of perplexity. And what, headman, is dhammasamādhi?- SN 42.13 - Pāṭaliya
[kammapatha & brahmavihara, & a method of arousing gladness]"
"Others will misapprehend according to their individual views, hold on to them tenaciously and not easily discard them; we shall not misapprehend according to individual views nor hold on to them tenaciously, but shall discard them with ease — thus effacement can be done."- MN 8 - Sallekha Sutta
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a lost all sensation in my nose a few years ago due to allergies... at the time i had been using the nose for meditation for quite a while, so it was a pretty traumatic event for my meditation at the time. i learned after some research, talk with my teacher, and experimentation that you dont need to use the nose... it really doesn't matter if you use a point of physical contact at all.
“The unawakened mind tends to make war against the way things are. To follow a path with heart, we must understand the whole process of making war within ourselves and without, how it begins and how it ends."
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