Collective wrote:This morning I stopped becoming aware of just the breath, and attempted to become aware of everything. Breath, smells, air brushing against my skin. . . etc, and above all else I started to sit back and just observe the mind.
Collective wrote:The first thing I noticed was that I didn't become sleepy, my mind/awareness was clear, always switched on as it were, right up to the end.
Collective wrote:Trouble I get focusing on the breath, is that it envelopes me as my mind narrows in on the breath. But with this all encompassing awareness I'm trying out, I make an effort to be 'in the moment' by taking in everything. I'm not saying I focus on anything that arises to the exclusion of everything else (which was happening when I focused on the breath) I just attempt to wash my awareness over anything that may be happening at any particular moment.
Collective wrote:I also find that my mind chatter is reduced a lot when I observe my mind. The breath I now use as an anchor when I need to focus a little more, perhaps if my mind has wandered - which despite my efforts still does now and then.
IanAnd wrote:Maintaining awareness of the breath in the background (or of any other phenomenon that is simultaneously occurring during this process, as, for example, experiencing a sensation similar to pressure in the center of the forehead region) can have a grounding effect on your ability to maintain sati.
octathlon wrote:When I thought about your comment, I realized that I always shift my attention to the abdomen when that pressure happens because I judge it unpleasant, think I'm not doing something right, feel aversion, and take action to end the sensation. With the other sensations I remain still and observe them until they pass away, yet with this one, I take action to make it stop without even thinking about it (maybe because no physical movement is required to do so).
So thanks to your comment, I finally realize it and question why I have been doing this. Is there anything important about that particular sensation?
here was once an old monk — 70 years old, 30 years in the monkhood — who had heard good things about how I teach meditation and so came to study with me. The first thing he asked was, "What method do you teach?"
"Breath meditation," I told him. "You know — bud-dho, bud-dho."
As soon as he heard that, he said, "I've been practicing that method ever since the time of Ajaan Mun — buddho, buddho ever since I was young — and I've never seen anything good come of it. All it does is buddho, buddho without ever getting anywhere at all. And now you're going to teach me to buddho some more. What for? You want me to buddho till I die?"
This is what happens when people have no sense of how to adjust and evaluate their breathing: They'll never find what they're looking for — which is why adjusting and spreading the breath is a very important part of doing breath meditation.
I'm curious to know what you mean by "a little nudging." Should I be consciously trying to cause these sensations to expand? I find that if I pay attention to some of these sensations (I think of the forehead one in particular), they disappear.Kenshou wrote:That oh-so-hard to describe sensation, I have found, will eventually fill the whole body with a little nudging as concentration is maintained, and results in a very calm and unhindered place of concentration, well unified within the body
Thanks for that sutta excerpt. It is very clarifying. However, as per my post above, I wonder how you "fill the body" with these sensations. Does the gladness arise naturally?Kenshou wrote:What personally helped very much for me to start the process rolling into some good concentration was to learn to fill the body entirely with those distinct sensations that arise as a result of the preliminary concentration.
Thanks for the response. However, I'm not really sure what you mean by this. My breath usually becomes pretty regular (or at least appears so). It varies in length from session to session. Generally, whenever I get the body breathing sensation, I feel even more concentrated because the sensation is rather difficult to discern and is accompanied by more subtle sensations, such as a feeling of tiny vibrations/tingling along the 'outer edge' of the inward felt sensation. This sensation occurs after I have spent some of my time focusing on the inward felt sensation. Generally, my meditation goes like this: intently focusing on the breath as felt in the nostrils > expanding awareness to include inward felt sensation as well as breath sensation > awareness of the way the body/inward felt sensation is connected to and affected by breath. The last part is the pulsating feeling.thereductor wrote:Possibly when you've got that big body breathing feeling you might find that you're still interfering with the rhythm of the breath. If so then let it go of the interference. Perhaps everything will settle in. Then you can decide if that's the result you're after.
I'm curious to know what you mean by "a little nudging." Should I be consciously trying to cause these sensations to expand? I find that if I pay attention to some of these sensations (I think of the forehead one in particular), they disappear.
Hi, Kenshou. Thanks for the response. As this practice (extending awareness to the body/sensations) is still relatively new to me (been doing it for almost two weeks now), I sometimes focus too much on or try to find the sensations. It's not always (or even usually) like this, but it happens. I think that this tendency, in my case at least, arises from the subtlety of the felt sense of the body. It is difficult to find at times. I often wonder if I am 'getting everything in' ("am I making sure that I am aware of [insert specific part of the body]") I also have the tendency to extend my focus to include the body too early, before the breath has become refined through directing focus to the nostrils.Kenshou wrote:Something to keep in mind, though: This distinct soothing vibrational sensation thingie is a result of the focused and secluded mind. Recall the first jhana formula, "rapture and pleasure born of seclusion". We seclude the mind from unwholesome and distracting preoccupations by keeping it on it's theme, the body, breath, and effects of the breath upon the body in this case. If you allow too much of the bandwidth of attention to get caught up the sensation when it arises, you lose focus on your foundation, and you pull the bottom out from under your meditation. Of course I don't know if that is what you are doing though.
So, be sure to keep the initial theme dominant. Attend to the resulting sensation lightly and without craving, (though of course don't ignore it, we want a wide and inclusive breadth of attention here), and it will grow on it's own quite a lot as the foundation is developed. I feel like this might be what you ought to do (or keep doing) at the moment, and see what happens. The better you get at this, the stronger and more filling the results become.
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