Meditating with a nasty cough

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Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Ytrog » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:03 pm

I have a questions that is very relevant for my current situation: how do you handle meditation with a nasty cough? I try to be mindful of the reflex coming up, but it is hard to do and the cough really breaks my concentration in the end. As a consequence I have trouble sitting through my meditation for 30 minutes, which is quite a contrast with that 30 minutes felt like just getting started with my 60 minute sitting. :cry:

What are your experiences with this?

For the sake of curiosity, but not relevant for my current situation: what to do when meditating in a group in such a condition? Avoiding group meditations altogether and meditating by yourself?

EDIT

Might be relevant or not in my case: I'm running a fever and are dizzy all the time.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:28 pm

In case of bad cough, I'd show consideration by avoiding group meditation. During it, I'd just cough quietly as possible. I'd keep on meditating alone, just to keep the habit. Keep the mindfulness and practice equanimity. :anjali:
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Ytrog » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:10 pm

beeblebrox wrote:In case of bad cough, I'd show consideration by avoiding group meditation. During it, I'd just cough quietly as possible. I'd keep on meditating alone, just to keep the habit. Keep the mindfulness and practice equanimity. :anjali:

I would avoid that as well. :anjali: But my more topical question was: are you familiar with the problem and how do you deal with it in solitary meditation?
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:47 pm

I have tried solitary sitting with a really bad cough, and found it to be a frustrating and difficult experience. I know what you mean about watching the reflex coming up, but the actual cough just seems to shatter any calmness.

Personally, I have used the experience as an opportunity to give up on the "up close" awareness that I normally try to develop. (I normally watch the breath, which gets subtler and subtler and gives greater feelings of ease.) I just gave up on trying to get this, and reconciled myself to a "wider view" of the body sitting, the coughing, and my frustrated reactions. I have, for what it's worth, done the same when I have had physical pain, a lot of worry, or too much coffee. I didn't really get any calmer, but at least I was watching, and I tell myself that the discipline involved in not getting up and doing something else might pay off later.
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:51 pm

Coughing might count as a "short breath" for purposes of the first tetrad in anapanasati, in this case. So you can compare this cough-breathing, paying attention to how coughing agitates the body, makes the blood rush and there's that tinge in the lungs and the back of the throat can be a little raw... vs. long breathing, which calms the body and makes the blood flow a little better and the lungs... hmm, is that a fear of coughing again? Or maybe not... in any case, this is an example of how I've done it.

One can still watch the whole thing via the context of the first tetrad, and in fact if you like you might notice the quickly-changing nature of the body in this condition, how it can't be controlled and how it's still susceptible to illness and, perhaps, this will result in dispassion. Perhaps this becomes a fourth tetrad practice?

---
It's my impression that the "wider view" Sam Vega is talking about encompasses the instructions to 'experience all bodies', and that the "up close" approach (which one finds very difficult when sick or coughing or whatever) is in fact not appropriate to anapanasati (but then, I gather I'm something of a heretic when it comes to my understanding of anapanasati, so be forewarned).
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:59 pm

daverupa

It's my impression that the "wider view" Sam Vega is talking about encompasses the instructions to 'experience all bodies', and that the "up close" approach (which one finds very difficult when sick or coughing or whatever) is in fact not appropriate to anapanasati (but then, I gather I'm something of a heretic when it comes to my understanding of anapanasati, so be forewarned).


Three separate points:

1) Yes, D., that is a fair way of putting it.

2) Could you point me in the direction of your heretical views, please? I would be interested as I find your posts clear and helpful.

3) To Ytrog. Sorry, I forgot the most important bit!! If you are still coughing, Get well soon! I'll send you some Metta.
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:30 am

Ytrog wrote:I have a questions that is very relevant for my current situation: how do you handle meditation with a nasty cough? I try to be mindful of the reflex coming up, but it is hard to do and the cough really breaks my concentration in the end.


Don't try to do concentration practise, it seems pretty pointless in this situation.

Instead do Insight practise, observe the bodily sensations arising and passing away, the aversions and frustrations, observe cause and affect in the end to end process. When conditionality gives you lemons make lemonade.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:35 am

Greetings Ytrog,

Brahma-vihara cultivation may be a productive endeavour.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:24 am

Hi Ytrog,

Don't forget to take your medicine!
kind regards,

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Ytrog » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:21 am

Thanks for the answers. I do take my medicines, both physical ones and mental ones :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:59 am

Ytrog wrote:I have a questions that is very relevant for my current situation: how do you handle meditation with a nasty cough? I try to be mindful of the reflex coming up, but it is hard to do and the cough really breaks my concentration in the end. As a consequence I have trouble sitting through my meditation for 30 minutes, which is quite a contrast with that 30 minutes felt like just getting started with my 60 minute sitting.
And what are you going to do when it is a cough or other crappy feeling that is not going to ever go away barring death? When you are sick, it is a really good time for practice and a really good time to realize that meditation is not about getting into some sort of groovy, blissed out state, but rather it is being with what is as it is. A cough, interestingly, does not have to break up your concentration, but it takes work to simply be with the cough as it is happening, and don't get caught up in expectations of what a meditation session should "feel" like or be.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Ytrog » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:25 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Ytrog wrote:I have a questions that is very relevant for my current situation: how do you handle meditation with a nasty cough? I try to be mindful of the reflex coming up, but it is hard to do and the cough really breaks my concentration in the end. As a consequence I have trouble sitting through my meditation for 30 minutes, which is quite a contrast with that 30 minutes felt like just getting started with my 60 minute sitting.
And what are you going to do when it is a cough or other crappy feeling that is not going to ever go away barring death? When you are sick, it is a really good time for practice and a really good time to realize that meditation is not about getting into some sort of groovy, blissed out state, but rather it is being with what is as it is. A cough, interestingly, does not have to break up your concentration, but it takes work to simply be with the cough as it is happening, and don't get caught up in expectations of what a meditation session should "feel" like or be.

Thank you. I didn't realize I was focusing too hard on trying to do samadhi meditation. Usually I try to focus on the breath and only try to be aware of anything else when they distract me from the breath until it subsides after which I try to bring my attention back to the breath. This wasn't really working out for me the last few days. Today I tried to just be aware of every feeling and sensation that arises and it worked wonderfully. I even had quite a good concentration as a bonus. :meditate:

I know you have three kinds of meditators and I'm guessing that I'm the "concentration through mindfulness" type and not the other way around as I was trying (I'm also reading "Beyond mindfulness in plain English").
Last edited by Ytrog on Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:48 pm

Try licorice drops, I know some use it as it helps them with coughs.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:15 am

Ytrog wrote:Thank you. I didn't realize I was focusing too hard on trying to do samadhi meditation. Usually I try to focus on the breath and only try to be aware of anything else when they distract me from the breath until it subsides after which I try to bring my attention back to the breath. This wasn't really working out for me the last few days. Today I tried to just be aware of every feeling and sensation that arises and it worked wonderfully. I even had quite a good concentration as a bonus. :meditate:

I know you have three kinds of meditators and I'm guessing that I'm the "concentration through mindfulness" type and not the other way around as I was trying (I'm also reading "Beyond mindfulness in plain English").
There are always ways of dividing up things, which can also sometimes get in the way.

When I had ordained as a novice in Thailand in late 1974, I got to spend some time with Ajahn Sumedho. It was not a lot of time, but we talked on a one-to-one at length several times during the week I spent at Wat Ba Pong. One of the things he talked about was meditating while sick, particularly while having active malaria. It is something said among the forest monks is that until you can sit through malaria your meditation is not mature. This has to do with is preparation for dying.

From that time forward the meditation practice I do has been centered around that idea of preparation for dying. When I am sick or dealing with pain, that is a good time to meditate, because there very well may come a time when things are not going to get better, and it drives home anicca, dukkha and anatta in a very personal way.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Ben » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:50 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Ytrog wrote:Thank you. I didn't realize I was focusing too hard on trying to do samadhi meditation. Usually I try to focus on the breath and only try to be aware of anything else when they distract me from the breath until it subsides after which I try to bring my attention back to the breath. This wasn't really working out for me the last few days. Today I tried to just be aware of every feeling and sensation that arises and it worked wonderfully. I even had quite a good concentration as a bonus. :meditate:

I know you have three kinds of meditators and I'm guessing that I'm the "concentration through mindfulness" type and not the other way around as I was trying (I'm also reading "Beyond mindfulness in plain English").
There are always ways of dividing up things, which can also sometimes get in the way.

When I had ordained as a novice in Thailand in late 1974, I got to spend some time with Ajahn Sumedho. It was not a lot of time, but we talked on a one-to-one at length several times during the week I spent at Wat Ba Pong. One of the things he talked about was meditating while sick, particularly while having active malaria. It is something said among the forest monks is that until you can sit through malaria your meditation is not mature. This has to do with is preparation for dying.

From that time forward the meditation practice I do has been centered around that idea of preparation for dying. When I am sick or dealing with pain, that is a good time to meditate, because there very well may come a time when things are not going to get better, and it drives home anicca, dukkha and anatta in a very personal way.


Excellent advice!
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Meditating with a nasty cough

Postby Ytrog » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:23 pm

Thank you Tilt. :twothumbsup:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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