Trouble with Anapana

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
Zimesky
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Trouble with Anapana

Postby Zimesky » Fri May 10, 2013 12:27 am

I would really like to get better at this meditation, but I seem to have a few road blocks keeping me from really progressing with the meditation. I keep reading how beneficial the meditation is, and how straight forward the practice is when I read instructions on how to do it.

Problem No.1
So I get really dreamy a lot when I meditate, pretty much using any technique. It's like I'll have 30% of my mind on watching the my breathing, and the extra 70% will slowly drift off and create random images and stories along with the meditation. Sometimes I don't even notice that I'm doing it until I realize I haven't been watching my breath, but the dream instead. I don't know how to exactly describe it, other than like being in a waking dream. Just like how somebody dosing on a bus will create or fabricate a dream out of a conversation or sound on the bus. Your not awake but the mind is still absorbing the info and it gets all mixed up in the dream world. It generally starts as an inner visual/mental representation of the breath work. A for instance, maybe my mind will create the image of clouds or wind pouring in with my in breath, and a stream of yellow movement on the out breath. Thats not how it always is, just an example of what my might conjure up while following the breath. Is this a manifestation of one of the hindrances, lethargy maybe??

Problem No.2
Letting my breath flow naturally is very difficult. It feels so robotic when I try to watch the in and out breathing. Sometimes I'll even just try letting my body breath on it's own and end up holding my breath, waiting for it to breath on it's own. When I try to focus on the stream of air inside my nostrils I just get a pressure sensation as if I'm just giving myself high blood pressure in my skull. It's all very frustrating!

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James the Giant
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby James the Giant » Fri May 10, 2013 12:55 am

Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.

Zimesky
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby Zimesky » Fri May 10, 2013 2:01 am


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daverupa
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby daverupa » Fri May 10, 2013 2:22 am

It may also be helpful, if you are not already doing so, to bring satipatthana along with you as a daily practice. It is difficult to do this outside of a monastic environment, but one can begin by first anchoring mindfulness to routine tasks; brushing teeth, toiletries, bathing, and so forth.

This feeds into the seated practice, which feeds back into the day-to-day, and ultimately helps address Problem No. 1, in my experience. There may come a time when, instead of coming to awareness when it's already in full swing, you see it start. It can be very encouraging to see such results directly for oneself.

As for the second problem, what I found helpful was incorporating the rest of the body; it occurred to me that there wasn't a breath, there was just breathing, and thinking of the whole body together in this way taught me that disengaging from the breath could happen in the same sort of way that one disengages from, say, arm control. There is a qualitative difference between moving the arm, and having it at rest, and it was a matter of 'doing' that with the breathing-body-part.

If that makes sense.

:heart:

5heaps
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby 5heaps » Fri May 10, 2013 8:26 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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Kamran
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby Kamran » Fri May 10, 2013 2:28 pm

I would just keep watching, and eventually the mind will reveal something about itself.

As Thanissaro Bikhu has said, the best meditators are not the ones for whom everything goes smoothly all the time. They're the ones that had to put up with difficulties. Learned to observe the mind when it was difficult and find a way around it.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

Zimesky
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby Zimesky » Sat May 11, 2013 5:55 am


Bakmoon
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby Bakmoon » Sat May 11, 2013 6:15 am

How long are you sitting each session? In my experience habitually sitting for longer makes a big difference.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

5heaps
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby 5heaps » Sat May 11, 2013 6:50 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

dxm_dxm
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby dxm_dxm » Sat May 11, 2013 1:35 pm

problem number 1: there is a somehow easy answer to this. If you are lying down, this is normal to happen. Using the half-lotus position will almost completely solve this problem. This problem will be smaller and smaller while you progress more in meditation. I have scoliosis so I meditate mostly lying down too cause I am a beginner. I meditate lying down when I go to sleep in order to fall asleep very fast because "time is money" (or let's say usetfull) and I know it is a recommended way to fall asleep for insomniacs.


problem number 2: focus on the physical sensation of the breathing. You will imagine the nose or stuff as you described will happen. What I find usetfull is is looking at the blackness/redness you see cause your eyes are close for one second and feel the breath then and after that it will be much more easy to just feel the sensation more clearly.

The start is very hard but very soon after you get to first jhana your enthusiasm will explode.

About the second tip I had I would like to hear what others think. It is the only way I managed to concentrate on that feeling clearly

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daverupa
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby daverupa » Sat May 11, 2013 1:56 pm


Rasko
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby Rasko » Sat May 11, 2013 2:12 pm


dxm_dxm
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby dxm_dxm » Sat May 11, 2013 2:31 pm

You should also have in mind that there are 2 schools of budhism one having more emphasis on concentration the other on insight (like this forum) but both use both techniques and buddha thaught both. In order to get advanced in insight you need a strong concentration developed plus, most of the "fun stuff" is in the concentration one lol :tongue: This practice should not be neglected entirely. I heard somewhere that you should first develop your concentration a little before starting insight

Zimesky
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby Zimesky » Mon May 13, 2013 10:13 pm

Thank you all for the helpful advice and helpful links! Would anybody be able to tell me more about Jhana, as in do you need a teacher to help you get there, how long does it usually take to arrive at this state, things like this? What I initially learned about the first stage samadhi was what I've recently learned the 1st Jhana is, I think. Other than a few esoteric facts, like you shouldn't touch somebody in Samadhi/Jhana, but should wake them with a special chime or bell, thats about all I know. The information I learned this from was Master Nan Huai Chin's books, and a few videos.

This link is a video on breathing with Mantra practice
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ikaogv5ZdA

This link is a video on Anapana
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIqlZ6nn268

If anyone has any extra input on these videos or Anapana I'd really love the help!

dxm_dxm
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby dxm_dxm » Tue May 14, 2013 2:03 pm

This might be a useful link http://www.katinkahesselink.net/tibet/jhana-2.html

It depends how much it will take, not too much. The thing is that it is very difficult at the begining because nothing special happens and your body hurts for staying in the same position. After you get to first jhana something very pleasant will happen and it will be very easy and pleasant to meditate, your body will never bother you also. You will never think about the clock again. You don't need a teacher, all you have to do is focus on the breath. Keep in mind that after your reach the first jhana you also have to "master" it.

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fivebells
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby fivebells » Tue May 14, 2013 8:06 pm

The most useful advice I've found on jhana is Thanissaro's in . Start at the beginning instructions, they can take you into Jhana quite quickly. More discussion .

Zimesky
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Re: Trouble with Anapana

Postby Zimesky » Thu May 30, 2013 4:54 am

I want to thank everyone again for their help! The advice and the links everyone has offered have been invaluable. How many hours of meditation per day would be a good goal to work towards, in the direction of developing Jhana/Samadhi?


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