In another topic I raised my question about the amount of concentration one should use to look at the breath, so with which strenght the breath should be grapped with attention; or do you need to not grab it with your attention, but still shift your awareness intently to the breath? Or is it even better to not shift your awareness intently to anything at all, and let things unfold completely on there own (unfabricated awareness/choiceless awareness) ?
This is what I'm questioning at the moment. Grabbing the breath with your attention means that you intently surpress phenomena to one-point your awareness to the breath. Intently shift your awareness to the breath means that you are not content with the present moment. On another forum I was told by a lot of people that this last choiceless awareness is the way to go, and that you will end up watching the breath eventually. But I need more advice from different people. What do you think ?
To give you something to read about this discussion:
This is about the grasping:
\As you practice see if you can become aware of any tendency to 'try' and achieve success with this technique. Perhaps there is a subtle (or gross) grasping at a result , or sublte grapsing at the anapana spot that is causing the 'tension' you mention. If this is recognised in your experience then simpl apply this pointer to what you are already doing. See if there is a difference in 'tension' arising or not when paying attention as you already are versus an unfabricated way of paying attention. If you recognize that there is a difference, then you will know what to drop. In a sense it is simply like saying "relax!" and recognize that 'trying' need not be a part of doing the technique. Tension seems only to result when the mind tenses due to tendencies to 'try' too hard in my own experience.
I tried to not grasp the anapana spot at all. This required constant correction at the start, but got much easier. The result was that the one-pointedness (in terms of continuous attention to an unmoving tiny spot below the nostrils) moved a little bit now and then (nbut not much) and wasn't quite so tiny, though still very small. It seemed quite natural and easy to observe this process from a perspective of above and slightly behind my head rather than being right "in" the process, "in" the spot. Hard to explain.
And this is a peace about the unfabricated awareness:
When you see the massive wave coming towards you, there is a moment of sheer surrender. You have to ride it. No choice. There is just a moment of complete acceptance. This is it. Here it comes. You let it carry you up and over and you just ride it as best you can. If it takes you under so be it. You ride the wave as there is no choice unless you want your body crushed in the swirl.
We spend our lives fabricating the way we perceive and focus on 'things'. We spend our lives conceiving, construing and fabricating these 'things' or 'objects' for the mind to establish a relationship with. We section off parts of what is being perceived, focused on, evaluate those parts, judge them and react towards them. We fabricate the very means of paying attention to those 'things' because we have created those 'things' as 'mental objects' within the mind.
We fabricate the tension that arises when we pay attention with the desire for something to happen and the desire for something not to happen. An 'object' (a thought, a sound, sight, taste, smell, touch) of our own creation has become the object of desire. We fabricate the very act of NOT paying attention. We fabricate the means of concentrating the mind by narrowing its focus onto a singular 'object' (concentration practice). We fabricate paying attention via segregating off mentally created 'parts' of experience and allowing other 'parts' to come to the forefront (jhanas and nanas). We selectively fabricate the means of paying attention to certain phenomena ignoring other phenomena; a selective paying attention. We fabricate paying attention that then results in the arising of a fabricated ‘me-ness' or 'self'; the arising of the dualistic experience of existing as an identity wanting this and not wanting that.
Upon realizing the extent to which we fabricate the act of paying attention (or not paying attention) via fabricating 'objects' for consciousness to co-arise with, form around, what would it mean to stop fabricating 'paying attention' and 'objects' to pay attention to? It would simply mean realizing that awareness is arising without any help from 'you' or anyone or anything, effortlessly and continuously, at all times without the need to 'objectify' anything. Paying attention need not be fabricated and manipulated. One can just realize/recognise that awareness is happening anyways regardless of fabricating and manipulating it. Fabricating and manipulating is extra weight on top. A mental overlay that really is quite unnecessary. Extra unnecessary unsatisfactory weight.
When there is the illusion of control, there is inevitable suffering. We try and fabricate this happiness and that pleasure via our tendency for selective paying attention on fabricated 'objects' of mind. Fabricated paying attention is inherently stressful. But when one sees that the experience of sense contact (eyesight, smell, taste, hearing, touch) are really quite out from anyone’s or anything's control, surrendering that illusory sense of control results in freedom from stress born of such selective and fabricated 'focus' and paying attention.
Fabricating the means of paying attention is part of the path. This is true. To gain concentration and access to refined states of becoming, to calm and subdue negative self-narratives, a fabricated paying attention needs to be cultivated to hone and tame the wild unruly mind. But even highly refined pleasant states of becoming/self-narratives are still inherently stressful. Always 'tension' around a mentally conceived 'object'. Anything that the mind fabricates is stressful. Anything fabricated is inherently anicca, anatta and dukkha (impermanent, impersonal, unsatisfactory).
Just realize that awareness is happening by itself without any effort right now. Drop that tendency to lunge on an aspect of the field of experience and react to it. Simply realise that that is what the mind is habitually doing. Watch how it takes no effort to be able 'to see' with the eyes, no effort to be aware of 'seeing'. No effort to 'hear' with the ears. Watch how the mind's ignorant tendency is there to cover up that effortless 'seeing' with the idea that it isn't effortless. 'I' must focus!!! This tendency leads to sectioning out phenomena and giving them status over other phenomena, fabricating one's experience, fabricating one's own unsatisfactoriness.
Just realize that this tendency is in place due to being ignorant of this fact. Simply see that one is fabricating and overlaying that simply natural arising of consciousness experienced at the point of contact of sense door and sense object (i.e. eye/sight, ear/sounds, body (in and surface)/touch, nose/smells, tongue/taste and mind/thoughts) with 'extra' mental tension. Such unnecessary fabricated 'selective focus' tension. When we try to manipulate this fact and attempt to control and fabricate the means by which we pay attention, stress is the result.
Simple notice that awareness is operating without any effort, without any ‘you’ there and it might just give you the relief you are looking for.
This is highly recommended during the dark night or rough periods in our practice or rather at any time. Shitty sensations in the chest or throat? Notice how the mind is paying attention to such phenomena. Is the mind lunging on an 'object' within the field of experience at the expense of other sense contact? Lunging onto a thought? a sensation? a sound? Is the way the mind is operating in the moment fabricated? Is the mind selectively focusing and paying attention to one phenomenon over other? Is it tinged with a wanting the sensations to disappear? Is there a selective paying attention going on? Is there a sense of trying to change those sensations? Make them go away? “I don’t want them there!".
Simply recognize that the mind has become aware of these sensations without any effort whatsoever on your part. Simply acknowledge the fact that these sensations are arising without 'you' putting any effort in to perceive them. Effortless natural perception. Simply recognize this fact in real time for the entire field of experience, all sense contact at once. When you forget to, just simply remember this fact again. That simple. Sense contact is occurring at all sense doors at all times simultaneously. Simple let the mind realize and recognise just that. Recognise this fact continuously.
Paying attention has been conditioned by ignorance of what is happening for a lifetime. Simply realize that all phenomena, all sense contact is arising and being perceived without any effort on anyone's part and relief is yours. Look at phenomena simply from that angle. They are arising without effort. When one tries to perceive them, focus on them with some sort of mental effort overlayed, tension results. Drop the attemp to focus and simply recognise there is no need to focus.
Simply realize that it is all presenting itself, giving rise to consciousness by itself, without any effort whatsoever. 'You' let go of that illusory control and let the wave (sense contact) carry you away. Ride the wave. In fact there is nothing to ride the wave, there is just the wave, let the wave ride itself. You stop fighting the oncoming tsunami and its formidable currents. It rides itself instead by just simply recognizing that awareness, a bombardment of sense contact at all sense doors simultaneously cognised by one's brain, is happening without any of your input anyways, without 'you' entirely, effortlessly, at all times.
There is no need to fabricate 'paying attention'. It's already occurring at the senses. Recognize this fact and the salty water ceases pounding 'you' in the ear, as 'you' don't exist at the point of unsegregated, unobjectified sense contact. Drop all 'focus' and simply recognize what is happening without the need to focus on one part of the field of experience over another. Let the entire field of experience show itself without the need to selectively focus on fabricated 'parts' of it. Stop cutting up the entire field of experience!
What happens to the experience of 'you' then?
I would like your personal opinions on this matter, I would really appreciate it.
Also while doing Anapanasati, I find it really strange that a lot of people gave me the explanation to practice choiceless awareness, and that this will become anapanasati itself. My guess is you need to bring your attention intently to the breath, but not grasping it with your attention?