Breath feels like an intrusion...

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby Myotai » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:19 pm

Hi everyone...

Does anyone else get that feeling? After following the breath for some time, it becomes not so much an effort to remain focussed on it, but more like it feels like the breath interupts a sense of tranquility and calm. I err on the side of it being an intrusion at the moment, opting for letting it go.

M...
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby reflection » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:51 pm

If you can, gently let your attention go to the happy mental feeling that could have arisen at the time. If that feeling is strong enough, the breath will drop out of focus and the meditation will become more peaceful. To me this happens automatically, though, not really trough conscious choice. So if it doesn't work or presents a struggle, just return to the breath, that's fine.
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:03 pm

When you 'follow the breath', what are you doing?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby Myotai » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:21 pm

daverupa wrote:When you 'follow the breath', what are you doing?


Merely being aware of the breath entering and leaving the nose....sometimes counting.
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:32 pm

Myotai wrote:
daverupa wrote:When you 'follow the breath', what are you doing?


Merely being aware of the breath entering and leaving the nose....sometimes counting.



I had many problems in my meditation when I wasn't sure what to do next in these ways; 'just waiting' is where I ended up, whereupon meditation became merely a posture of endurance while various discomforts grew into engrossing distractions.

I think following the breath is just fine as far as it goes, though there are places to go with it once you've gotten settled during any particular sit. Any of the anapanasati tetrads, for example, else other approaches to the hindrances/awakening factors.

Have you played with these sorts of things?

SN 54.6 wrote:At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, "Monks, do you develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing?"

When this was said, Ven. Arittha replied to the Blessed One, "I develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, lord."

"But how do you develop mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, Arittha?"

"Having abandoned sensual desire for past sensual pleasures, lord, having done away with sensual desire for future sensual pleasures, and having thoroughly subdued perceptions of irritation with regard to internal & external events, I breathe in mindfully and breathe out mindfully."

"There is that mindfulness of in-&-out breathing, Arittha. I don't say that there isn't. But as to how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is brought in detail to its culmination, listen and pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," Ven. Arittha responded to the Blessed One...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby Myotai » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:39 pm

reflection wrote:If you can, gently let your attention go to the happy mental feeling that could have arisen at the time. If that feeling is strong enough, the breath will drop out of focus and the meditation will become more peaceful. To me this happens automatically, though, not really trough conscious choice. So if it doesn't work or presents a struggle, just return to the breath, that's fine.


Is it about 'peace' though? The Zennie in me says no...

As I have mentioned in other threads, getting to that peaceful place isn't so much of a problem, its what to do with it and where it goes.

My Zen firnds say, don't do anything with it and don't expect to go anywhere - I have never responded well to that cryptic stuff...all respect to 'em all of course! :bow:
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby IanAnd » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:40 pm

reflection wrote:If you can, gently let your attention go to the happy mental feeling that could have arisen at the time. If that feeling is strong enough, the breath will drop out of focus and the meditation will become more peaceful. To me this happens automatically, though, not really through conscious choice. So if it doesn't work or presents a struggle, just return to the breath, that's fine.

I concur with reflection's advice here. Mental phenomena are always so difficult to talk about and explain, because everyone has their own subjective discernment of the experience. And sometimes they are inadvertently forcing an outcome rather than waiting to see and use what arises.

If concentration is developing toward tranquility and calm, then switching the attention to that development should move the breath to a secondary position (where it "drops out of focus" as reflection suggests). You will be aware of the breath in the background, but it is the calm and stillness that you focus more on to take the mind deeper into calm and tranquility. You have to use your own insight here (on the fly, so to speak) in order to accomplish this. The transitions can be very subtle. A matter of "feeling" it out (feeling out the new territory or calm).
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby IanAnd » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:50 pm

Myotai wrote:
reflection wrote:If you can, gently let your attention go to the happy mental feeling that could have arisen at the time. If that feeling is strong enough, the breath will drop out of focus and the meditation will become more peaceful. To me this happens automatically, though, not really trough conscious choice.


Is it about 'peace' though? The Zennie in me says no...

As I have mentioned in other threads, getting to that peaceful place isn't so much of a problem, its what to do with it and where it goes.

My Zen friends say, don't do anything with it and don't expect to go anywhere - I have never responded well to that cryptic stuff...all respect to 'em all of course!

If you are easily able to arrive at that peaceful place in your meditation, then it is time to practice satipatthana.

Watch what arises and see the three characteristics in that phenomena etcetera. Watch the arising of vedana within your consciousness, and figure out its significance to your practice with regard to dependent arising and the processes of mind that are the five aggregates of clinging. That peaceful place is meant to help you begin to break down the Dhamma to see things for how they really are. The mind is calm and at ease, therefore seeing the truth of your experience is more easily accomplished. In other words, there are fewer things to distract you from recognizing "things as they are."
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby Dan74 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:02 pm

Myotai wrote:
reflection wrote:If you can, gently let your attention go to the happy mental feeling that could have arisen at the time. If that feeling is strong enough, the breath will drop out of focus and the meditation will become more peaceful. To me this happens automatically, though, not really trough conscious choice. So if it doesn't work or presents a struggle, just return to the breath, that's fine.


Is it about 'peace' though? The Zennie in me says no...

As I have mentioned in other threads, getting to that peaceful place isn't so much of a problem, its what to do with it and where it goes.

My Zen firnds say, don't do anything with it and don't expect to go anywhere - I have never responded well to that cryptic stuff...all respect to 'em all of course! :bow:


There is a lot one can "do" in Silent Illumination practice. Listen to what Hongzhi, one of the classical masters, has to say, for example:

With the depths clear, utterly silent, thoroughly illuminate the source, empty and spirited, vast and bright...Then you must take the backward step and directly reach the middle of the circle from where the light issues forth


and

You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away all the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits. Then you can reside in the clear circle of brightness. Utter emptiness has no image, upright independence does not rely on anything. Just expand and illuminate the original truth unconcerned by external conditions. Accordingly we are told to realize that not a single thing exists. In this field birth and death do not
appear. The deep source, transparent down to the bottom, can radiantly shine and can respond unencumbered to each speck of dust without becoming its partner. The subtlety of seeing and hearing transcends mere colors and sounds. The whole affair functions without leaving traces, and mirrors without obscurations. Very naturally mind and dharmas emerge and harmonize. An Ancient said that non-mind enacts and fulfills the way of non-mind. Enacting and fulfilling the way of non-mind, finally you can rest. Proceeding you are able to guide the assembly. With thoughts clear, sitting silently, wander into the center of the circle of wonder.
This is how you must penetrate and study.


There is much more:

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/HistoricalZen/Bright_Field_of_Spirit_Hongzhi.html
http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/C%20-%20Zen/Ancestors/Hongzhi%20Zhenjue/Teachings/Zen%20Teachings%20of%20Hongzhi%20Zhenjue.htm
_/|\_
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby reflection » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:35 pm

Myotai wrote:
reflection wrote:If you can, gently let your attention go to the happy mental feeling that could have arisen at the time. If that feeling is strong enough, the breath will drop out of focus and the meditation will become more peaceful. To me this happens automatically, though, not really trough conscious choice. So if it doesn't work or presents a struggle, just return to the breath, that's fine.


Is it about 'peace' though? The Zennie in me says no...

As I have mentioned in other threads, getting to that peaceful place isn't so much of a problem, its what to do with it and where it goes.

My Zen firnds say, don't do anything with it and don't expect to go anywhere - I have never responded well to that cryptic stuff...all respect to 'em all of course! :bow:

hi,

It is exactly "not doing" that creates peace. As I said, to me it happens automatically. However, it may be that we are speaking about a different thing. To me the breath isn't really an interruption or so and it ideally fades out progressively. It may be that you are somehow stuck in this progression by keeping too much focus on the breath and too little on the mental aspect, although I can't say for sure. If we are speaking about the same thing, at that time it should be possible to start to see the mind itself as an object of awareness. (and through that peace and insight and non-doing become one)

I often quote this:
You will see the mind as one object of awareness, the breath as another and mind-objects as another.

...

Awareness remains with the breath and over time it will penetrate deeper and deeper inside, becoming progressively more refined. Ultimately, awareness of the breath becomes so refined that the sensation of the breath seems to disappear. You could say either that awareness of the sensation of the breath has disappeared, or that the breath itself has disappeared. Then there arises a new kind of awareness - awareness that the breath has disappeared. In other words, awareness of the breath becomes so refined that it's difficult to define it.

http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Evening_Sitting.php
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby Myotai » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:34 pm

IanAnd wrote: If you are easily able to arrive at that peaceful place in your meditation, then it is time to practice satipatthana.

Watch what arises and see the three characteristics in that phenomena etcetera. Watch the arising of vedana within your consciousness, and figure out its significance to your practice with regard to dependent arising and the processes of mind that are the five aggregates of clinging. That peaceful place is meant to help you begin to break down the Dhamma to see things for how they really are. The mind is calm and at ease, therefore seeing the truth of your experience is more easily accomplished. In other words, there are fewer things to distract you from recognizing "things as they are.


Thanks for this....currently digesting :)
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby bodom » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:42 pm

Myotai wrote:Hi everyone...

Does anyone else get that feeling? After following the breath for some time, it becomes not so much an effort to remain focussed on it, but more like it feels like the breath interupts a sense of tranquility and calm. I err on the side of it being an intrusion at the moment, opting for letting it go.

M...


Here is some advice from the great Ajahn Chah:

When the mind is peaceful and concentrated, release it from the breath as the object of concentration. Now begin to examine the body and mind comprised of the five khandhas: material form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness. Examine these five khandhas as they come and go. You will see clearly that they are impermanent, that this impermanence makes them unsatisfactory and undesirable, and that they come and go of their own - there is no ''self'' running things. There is to be found only nature moving according to cause and effect. All things in the world fall under the characteristics of instability, unsatisfactoriness and being without a permanent ego or soul. Seeing the whole of existence in this light, attachment and clinging to the khandhas will gradually be reduced. This is because we see the true characteristics of the world. We call this the arising of wisdom.


http://www.amaravati.org/teachingsofaja ... cle/368/P4

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby Myotai » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:30 am

Dan74 wrote: There is a lot one can "do" in Silent Illumination practice. Listen to what Hongzhi, one of the classical masters, has to say, for example


Dan,

Do you see Silent Illumination as having a place in Theravada? Or is it a Cha'n term for Satipatthana?

Thanks...
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Re: Breath feels like an intrusion...

Postby Dan74 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:37 am

_/|\_
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