Meditation bottleneck

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
mick
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:44 pm
Location: Dongguan, China

Meditation bottleneck

Postby mick » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:29 am

Hi everybody!

I have reached a bottleneck in my meditation practice and would appreciate it if I got a few pointers on how to proceed.

I practice breathing meditation, specifically the technique taught by Ajahn Brahm. According to his book I am at stages 4 ( Full sustained attention on the breath) and 5 ( Full sustained attention on the beautiful breath.) The problem I am having is when the breath disappears I am not sure how to proceed.

1. Does the breath really disappear or does it appear to disappear? This question is a distraction in my (reasonably) clear mind in meditation.

2. What exactly does my subject of meditation become at this stage? In the book it says to focus on the “beautiful” but I am not sure how to conceptualise this.

The stage of meditation I am at is very pleasant and sometimes quite blissful, but I a definitely at a loss on how to proceed.

I would welcome any feedback on the matter.

With metta
With Metta
和平与自由

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Goofaholix
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Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Meditation bottleneck

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:46 am

The breath doesn't disappear, otherwise you'd be dead. What is probably happening is the breath has gotten more subtle but the mind is not yet subtle enough to continue be aware of it, so just continue to be aware at the place where you lost track of the breath and continue to watch.

I'm not sure if this is what Ajahn Brahm meant but I'd say awarenesss of the beautiful is awareness of that sense of being very present and very aware. If that's not what he meant then it's still a good thing to give importance to.
"Right effort is effort with wisdom. Because where there is wisdom, there is interest. The desire to know something is wisdom at work. Being mindful is not difficult. But it’s difficult to be continuously aware. For that you need right effort. But it does not require a great deal of energy. It’s relaxed perseverance in reminding yourself to be aware. When you are aware, wisdom unfolds naturally, and there is still more interest." - Sayadaw U Tejaniya

Kenshou
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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Meditation bottleneck

Postby Kenshou » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:04 am

I'm not a huge fan of his meditation method, but I'm familiar with it, and as I understand it what he means is that once attention is sustained on the breath, leading to the "beautiful breath", eventually the (perception of) the breathing fades but there is still a retention of the perception of pleasantness gotten through the previous steps. So just keep that as the object in whatever way suits you. It sounds to me like you might have that down, and all that would need to be done is sustain that until, according to him, apparently his "nimitta" appears (if you're lucky) and then can be utilized in reaching the first jhana.

mick
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:44 pm
Location: Dongguan, China

Re: Meditation bottleneck

Postby mick » Thu Jun 03, 2010 10:37 pm

Thank you very muchfor your help :smile:
With Metta
和平与自由

Brizzy

Re: Meditation bottleneck

Postby Brizzy » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:55 am

Kenshou wrote:I'm not a huge fan of his meditation method, but I'm familiar with it, and as I understand it what he means is that once attention is sustained on the breath, leading to the "beautiful breath", eventually the (perception of) the breathing fades but there is still a retention of the perception of pleasantness gotten through the previous steps. So just keep that as the object in whatever way suits you. It sounds to me like you might have that down, and all that would need to be done is sustain that until, according to him, apparently his "nimitta" appears (if you're lucky) and then can be utilized in reaching the first jhana.



Hi Mick

I'm not a fan either, unless your in fourth jhana the breath is still there, it has just become a little bit harder to discern.

Don't lose contact with the body (the whole body) this is where the jhana is experienced (through the mind of course)- if you aim for a beautiful nimitta, then you might get one - but is this what you want? The Buddha teaches jhana/sati of the body not satihallucination or satiimagination.

:smile:

PeterB
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Meditation bottleneck

Postby PeterB » Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:48 am

Seek out a hands- on teacher.
Carry on.

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Rui Sousa
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Meditation bottleneck

Postby Rui Sousa » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:18 pm

Step away for a while, then start from the beginning.
With Metta


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