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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Leaving the breath?

Leaving the breath?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Leaving the breath?

Postby Myotai » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:06 am

Hi,

the irony is after posting that I had 'lost' the breath as a focus and it returning of late....now I am not sure whether to stay with it or not?

After around 20mins awareness opens up, from being focused on the breath to a more spacious feeling of openness without any particular reference point (no body awareness).

Is this a good thing or should I remain with the breath?

Thanks!
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:42 am

In addition to the spacious feeling of openness what are you aware of at the time?

After the meditation session does it seem like time went quickly? slowly? normally?

Does the quality of the mind's seem to attentiveness fluctuate a lot, or does it seem quite consistent?
"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
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:51 am

The same holds true if you focus on keeping the breath in mind. Whether the breath is heavy or refined, simply be aware of it as it normally is. Don't set up any expectations. Don't force the breath to be like this or that. Keep your awareness with the breath, because in meditating by taking the breath as your preoccupation, you're not after the breath. The breath is simply something for the mind to hold to so that you can reach the real thing, just as when you follow the tracks of an ox: You're not after the tracks of the ox. You follow its tracks because you want to reach the ox. Here you're keeping track of the breath so as to reach the real thing: awareness. If you were to start out just by holding on to awareness, you wouldn't get any results, just as you wouldn't be sure of finding the ox if you simply went around looking for it. But if you follow its tracks, you're going to find it for sure. Your meditation word has to keep moving in. This is called following the tracks of the ox step by step until you reach the ox, or what knows: namely the mind.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... tml#tracks
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby Myotai » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:13 pm

Goofaholix wrote:In addition to the spacious feeling of openness what are you aware of at the time?

After the meditation session does it seem like time went quickly? slowly? normally?

Does the quality of the mind's seem to attentiveness fluctuate a lot, or does it seem quite consistent?


1. Aware of little else other than a feeling of calm, quiet. Sort of a pleasant hovering. But it's fragile.

2. Seems to have gone a little quick and sometimes longer.

3. When 'hovering' the mind is focused. But then a sudden urge to grasp at method stains it. Like "...This is what they mean by Shikantaza. ...no its Access Concentration...".

It's this grasping and wanting to label the experience to a tradition of method is what fractures the session.

Thanks....
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:07 pm

It sounds to me taking into consideration this and your other thread that you might have gotten into the habit of "spacing out" during meditation. Calm spaciousness might feel like a sign of progress in meditation, and it usually is, but it needs to be accompanied by an increased sense of alertness, lucidity, immediacy if not then you're just wallowing in a feeling. This then makes going back to a technique oriented meditation like watching the breath difficult.

You are probably best to talk it through with a teacher.

In the mean time I'd recommend you get very specific about doing a very technique oriented practice like counting the breath for a full first half of your sitting, then followed by opening it up to a spacious awareness in the second half. Be careful to anchor your awareness in the body and what you experience through the six sense doors rather than just the pleasant calm spacious feeling. See if you notice a difference in the quality of awareness compared with what you werre doing previously, look for signs of craving or aversion just notice them and let them go.
"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
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby Myotai » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:12 pm

I think you might be right. I have been concerned for a while now regarding the pleasantness of the feeling I describe as you have seen. It's difficult to differentiate feelings like that from those describing some of the more positive manifestations.

I will of course have a chat with my Ajahn when he's available. In the meantime thanks for your advice, it's actually the first time anyone has actually offered a way of managing the feeling. I suspect for me it's been a long term source of confusion.

Thanks again!
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby JC33 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:04 am

Breath is prana, which you will use to elevate your sense of awareness through focus.

Bring your breath into your feet and hands, linger it, watch it move through the neurons of your body.

This will teach you to split your focus between the single point that mind uses for focus and the multiplicity of points that prana is.

Breath will teach you the nature of all things eventually. It is said that Shiva was choked by poison and his breathing cessated, hence his blue skin.
"Then all in the great assembly who had not reached the stage beyond learning were stunned upon hearing these words of the Buddha, and could not perceive where the meaning began or ended. They were agitated and taken aback at the same time, having lost what they had adhered to. 2:127 "
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:34 am

Hello JC33,

Shiva?? Not in Theravada Buddhism afaik.

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby Lostegasa » Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:30 pm

You trust yourself and insights, if you don't have ideas or insight, keep going with breath until you feel done with it. It's all about how you feel about something, best trustworthy.
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby JC33 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:51 am

cooran wrote:Hello JC33,

Shiva?? Not in Theravada Buddhism afaik.

With metta,
Chris


Once, the Lord Shiva appeared, sitting to the right, right over a statue of the Lord Buddah.

One and the same, he said.
"Then all in the great assembly who had not reached the stage beyond learning were stunned upon hearing these words of the Buddha, and could not perceive where the meaning began or ended. They were agitated and taken aback at the same time, having lost what they had adhered to. 2:127 "
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Re: Leaving the breath?

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:19 am

JC33 wrote:Once, the Lord Shiva appeared, sitting to the right, right over a statue of the Lord Buddah.

One and the same, he said.


Could you post a scriptural reference for this please.
"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
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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