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Anapana Meditation Inquiry - Dhamma Wheel

Anapana Meditation Inquiry

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
martinstorykapusta
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:14 am

Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby martinstorykapusta » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:24 am

Hello there!

My name is Martin Story-Kapusta, and I have recently sat for my first time at a 10-day Vipassana Retreat (S.N. Goenka), in Canada.
First off, unbelievably beautiful experience of liberation. But you all already know how sweet it is.

I have been sitting at least 2x a day ever since (it's been about two weeks) and it has been up and down. Impermanence to the tee, though I notice my equanimity growing every day.
Recently I have been noticing that every time I put my attention (or seem to) to the "Anapana Spot" on my upper lip below the nostrils, the only sensation I get is a sort of numb pressure.
However, this sensation seems to be slightly shared by my nostrils and part of my top lip. So, every time I begin to practice Anapana to cultivate samadhi for Vipassana, I get this sensation.

The problem is, I find myself battling constantly whether this is truly my upper lip, or if it is some other spot nearby, or if it's just completely blind, etc.
Then my attention becomes distracted because I doubt myself whether or not this is truly where my concentration is focused.
I think "it's probably just my teeth underneath the lip", or "it can't be the right spot because this overwhelming numb sensation in my nostrils is probably just taking over that whole area".

Am I just making a big deal out of something completely non-existent?
Am I simply just not satisfied by the sensation and expecting something else?

I have tried touching the spot and then focusing back there until the "touched sensation" goes away and it seems to me like everything is okay.
I feel like I'm just thinking too much.

Has anyone else experienced such doubt, or a similar sensation in a similar area with a similar story?

Much appreciation for any help and guidance. This worry hurdle would be nice to pass!

Utmost metta and gratitude,

Martin

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8502
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby cooran » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:55 am

Hello Martin,

Our Admin, Ben, is a very experienced Vipassana practitioner as taught by Satya Narayan Goenka. He has attended Goenka meditation retreats (10days and longer) in Australia, India and Myanmar. I am sure he will have some advice to give once he reads your question.

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 ---

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:29 am

Greetings Martin,

Its normal for people to feel all sorts of sensations, sometimes at the point where one feels the touch of the breath. Just keep your attention firmly focused on the point where the breath touches with a relaxed mind. If you are still having trouble discerning the touch of the breath, go back to the instructions. Either make some intentionally hard breaths to find the anchor point of your breath or stop breathing (temporarily) and observe the point where the breath normally touches the body, then breathe again normally.
The difficulty (and beauty) of anapana-sati to develop samadhi is that as one's concentration develops, the breath becomes more subtle and harder to discern, which then sharpens one's samadhi. Keep in mind also that the practice of anapana is a preparatory tool to practice vedananupassana (observation of the anicca characteristic of sensation) throughout the body.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

User avatar
TravisGM
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby TravisGM » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:32 pm

I'm not sure if this thread had been close but I have always been having the same problem. I'm curious, did the meditation ever get better? How can one stop that from happening?
To be happy...

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:12 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


User avatar
TravisGM
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby TravisGM » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:16 pm

But the main point of Anapanasati meditation is to eventually focus on the breath at that point yes? Even after physical sensation has subsided?
To be happy...

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:23 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


User avatar
TravisGM
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:23 pm

Re: Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby TravisGM » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:31 pm

Yogurt, you've helped me twice in the same day. Your karma must be awesome :) thank you again. You've been a great help
To be happy...

User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Anapana Meditation Inquiry

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:42 pm

Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta



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