Feel of breath and concentration problems

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Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby steeltarrow » Sat May 10, 2014 5:16 pm

Using the breath as the object I have problems with keeping concentration at one spot. On inhalation and exhalation the most prominent spots differ and over time change. Some times I can feel it at the edge of my nostrils, a few breaths later I can't, but I can feel it deeper in the nasal cavity. I am also having problems with focusing just on one spot. When inhaling I will feel my head move up or back and/or I feel my chest or abdomen expand while I am trying to focus at some point in the nose. How do I zero in my concentration so I am not jumping all over as well as keeping the feeling at the chosen spot alive?
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Re: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby daverupa » Sat May 10, 2014 5:23 pm

steeltarrow wrote:How do I zero in my concentration so I am not jumping all over as well as keeping the feeling at the chosen spot alive?


Why not combine all the spots, breathing spots and non-breathing spots, and as the breath continues, turn away from doing any of it?
    "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: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby santa100 » Sat May 10, 2014 6:10 pm

More info. from a similar thread here
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Re: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby Goofaholix » Sat May 10, 2014 8:09 pm

Fell the breath wherever you feel it, ie use all of the spots.

Perhaps later when concentration is more stable you can zero in on one spot, but that's not really necessary to develop concentration.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby steeltarrow » Sat May 10, 2014 9:37 pm

Ok, thanks daverupa and Goofaholix. I will try this out tonight.

daverupa, I am having some trouble understanding what you mean by "and as the breath continues, turn away from doing any of it?" Could you help me understand?

santa100, I checked out that other thread and found some helpful information that I had overlooked, so thanks for pointing it out.
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Re: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby 2pennyworth » Sat May 10, 2014 11:09 pm

Hi steelarrow

Mikenz66 has given me the link to this very informative talk delivered at Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary in response to another post. Meditation on the breath is discussed amongst other key aspects you may also find v helpful.

http://dharmasalon.net/Audio/sbs_decemb ... Method.mp3

We examine the nature of meditation itself, seeing it as attention training that deepens and clarifies awareness. We see how Mahāsī Sayādaw uses the basic structure of grounding and secondary object as a way of cutting through distraction. We learn that distraction is not the obstacle to meditation, but provides the content of meditation. (Udāna 1.10)

That is the link to the 1st talk, the others are here:

http://dharmasalon.net/Audio/sbs_decemb ... 2013..html

:namaste:
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“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby daverupa » Sun May 11, 2014 12:53 am

steeltarrow wrote:daverupa, I am having some trouble understanding what you mean by "and as the breath continues, turn away from doing any of it?"


So, normally you're breathing, in and out. So, once everything is grouped up, try not breathing - it isn't holding the breath, it's just backing away and letting it continue on autopilot. Do this with the rest of the 'spots' and eventually you're doing it to the whole body, and this is the first tetrad of anapanasati.
    "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: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby ancientbuddhism » Sun May 11, 2014 7:24 pm

steeltarrow wrote:Using the breath as the object I have problems with keeping concentration at one spot. On inhalation and exhalation the most prominent spots differ and over time change. Some times I can feel it at the edge of my nostrils, a few breaths later I can't, but I can feel it deeper in the nasal cavity. I am also having problems with focusing just on one spot. When inhaling I will feel my head move up or back and/or I feel my chest or abdomen expand while I am trying to focus at some point in the nose. How do I zero in my concentration so I am not jumping all over as well as keeping the feeling at the chosen spot alive?


From notes I had prepared for a discussion group some time ago:

“‘Experiencing the whole body’ represents a physical unity with the breath, which can be hard to grasp at first. It could be described as a feeling that arises when the total experience of breathing is sensed from one point at the nose. This could also be called a peripheral awareness of the breath, as one’s primary focus of awareness is maintained where the sensation of breathing is sensed at the nose, and then allowing this awareness to expand from that point to gradually become a total body experience with breathing. Subsequently this expansive experience will have a natural calming affect. When this is noticed, one lets the awareness slip into this subtle quality of bodily calm as well.
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

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Re: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby 2pennyworth » Sun May 11, 2014 8:49 pm

Also, see the fact that you cannot keep attention fixed to one stable point of the breath for what it is: an important insight into impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and not self. This is as progress, not a problem. Investigate this phenomena, it's a golden opportunity to gain insight.
“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” ~ Chuang Tzu
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Re: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby steeltarrow » Sun May 11, 2014 10:03 pm

Thank you all for your help and your time! :smile:

For the last session I tried to spread the awareness to other parts of my body while still focusing on the breath. Some places are easy but others that have much less connection to the breath or currently not having pressure against them are thus much harder to try and feel. I suppose I just need to keep trying and build up enough concentration to be able to perceive the more subtle feelings that I suppose must be present in the hard spots.

Edit: Ohh and 2pennyworth, I think you are right, even thinking back to the last few sessions I remember feeling myself wanting and trying to push (mentally though that probably translated some to the physical side) the breath into the spots I wanted. I need to look closer at that desire next time as well as the factors that exist in the breath that create it.
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Re: Feel of breath and concentration problems

Postby daverupa » Mon May 12, 2014 2:21 pm

steeltarrow wrote:I suppose I just need to keep trying and build up enough concentration to be able to perceive the more subtle feelings that I suppose must be present in the hard spots.


Not necessarily.

As I understand things, the instructions basically call for using interoception to pick up the general fascia of the body alongside the baseline intero-proprioception of breathing. This happens all the time for most people, to a certain extent, so the trick is simply sustaining a broad & encompassing awareness - try picking up the sensation of blood flow here and there, for example, or various internal organs or internal heat. Get a sense of the fascia hanging on the skeleton. It's quite fascia-nating.

The third step in the second tetrad & the first step in the third tetrad are similar, though not grouping aspects of the body but instead grouping more ephemeral experiential qualia (feelings, the mind).
    "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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