convivium wrote:or rather it's a point or range of sensations that you can focus on potentially to the exclusion of other sensations. but knowing what is sensation and what is idea is a point of insight (nama rupa). but then i don't know exactly what "idea" means to you.
There's what it means to me and what it means to others and never the twain shall meet. We may for pragmatic purposes temporarily agree on a conventional, public meaning, but we cannot utimately verify whether or not my private understanding exactly matches another's private understanding.
“For a large class of cases—though not for all—in which we employ the word ‘meaning’ it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language” (Wittgenstein, PhiIosophical Investigations
, p. 43).
Say the spot you pick is the "dan tian" or a "chakra." Exaclty where and what these are is a personal
ideation. It's a private event. I can't make you feel what I conceive of as my "spot" but only convey to you through language what I think it is. You may agree or disagree, but even if we agree we only have each other's words
to go by. Even if we specify an anatomical object, say "the navel," my private conception of where the navel ends and where it begins is completely personal. To take a crude example, if I have an "inny" and you have an "outty" then when we ideate the navel as the spot of contemplation we don't mean the same thing at all because empty holes and fleshy bumps are publicly verifiable as two different things. If we say, "It's the area, not the anatomy" we are still in trouble. "Area" is an ideation, too. We may agree that the navel is part of the abdomen but disagree on where to draw distinguishing lines between the abdomen from other parts of the torso. Even if we agree that we experience our spot sensationally via nama-rupa, we are still dealing with private mental constructs. I might select the earth elements present in my spot via intention, attention, feeling, contact and perception while you might select the water elements present in you spot via mentality. Your spot may seem warm, mine cold; yours motionless, mine moving. So we cannot even clearly distinguish an idea from a sensation, for "sensation" is an ideation too.
Even the term "body" is an idea. For yogis, the import of "whole-body" awareness--like all ideas--is purely pragmatic. If there was a consensus about "body" or "whole-body" topics like this wouldn't be necessary. So we are playing a language game. When we accept an instruction from our teacher about focusing on the "whole-body" we are not agreeing on an ultimate definition but a conventional meaning that serves our practical purposes for the moment--in this case for the purpose of being aware of an object of samadhi. But we still have to test this privately. When we cannot verify it personally, we return to our language games with our teacher or fellow practitioners for clarification ang go back and forth like this until we are satisified with knowing for ourselves the value of the experience, at which point we have no need to rely on convention. Knowing for ourselves implies we are not knowing for others, so their ideations about spots, or nama rupa, or body become irrelevant.