Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
User avatar
suriyopama
Posts: 482
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:44 am
Location: Thailand

Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby suriyopama » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:42 am

I have no problem at all to be aware of my breath for many hours, but I rarely notice the breathing alone. There’s always breath+heartbeat, and sometimes the heartbeat is even more intense than the breath, no matter in what position I am. And when there's a clock at the room, the heartbeat is always perfectly synchronized with the ticktock.

I exposed this question at E-Sangha one year ago, and the recommendation was “let it go”. But after all this time letting go and dont' worrying, I’m still having a heartbeat!! (lucky me 8-) )

Could there be a hindrance in some way? It doesn’t make me feel annoyed, but sometimes I feel like I am doing something wrong, because everybody talks about “Mindfulness with Breathing” and focusing on one single thing, but nobody says “Mindfulness with Heartbeat”.

There are many instructions about how to fight difference hindrances, they explain with detail how to deal with the most subtle feelings and thoughts, but nobody mentions the heart beat. ¿why? ¿Am I the only one that notice the feeling of the heartbeat when trying to meditate?. It's always present, so what is the meaning of "mindfulness with breathing" for me? I've even tried to focus only on the heartbeat, but I neither can isolate it from the breath.
:heart: :shrug: :heart:

ps: I'm not having any kind of cardiopathy disorder, it's perfectly normal.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:41 am


User avatar
suriyopama
Posts: 482
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:44 am
Location: Thailand

Re: Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby suriyopama » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:11 am

Thank you very much for the information Mike. :namaste:

So it seems that there are 2 things that I've been doing wrong for the last 3 years: noting the heartbeat and noting the pain at the head (I have frequent migraines). But I'm also wondering why it's not recommended.

I've recently managed to stop noting the headache by noting the feeling of any of my mosquito bites (I've got plenty of them) and I've even managed to fall sleep with a severe migraine thanks to this distraction. But I don't know how to distract the feeling of the heartbeat because it's deeply integrated with the breath.

I think that I don't do it intentionally anymore (although I used to do it since I was a child) but my breath is usually synchronized with the heartbeat, and that makes it very difficult to separate them.

User avatar
jcsuperstar
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska
Contact:

Re: Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:26 am

maybe youre a kasina type of guy and dont know it yet....
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

User avatar
suriyopama
Posts: 482
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:44 am
Location: Thailand

Re: Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby suriyopama » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:27 am

Last edited by suriyopama on Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby Ben » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:38 am

Hi suriyopama

When observing the breath - just observe the breath. Don't try and change it, modify it or do anything else.
If your meditation instruction is to observe the breath by maintaining awareness of the rise and fall of the abdomen - just do that. If your instruction is to stay aware of the sensation of air moving past the area around, under or in the nostrils - just do that. When we practice various meditation practices we begin to notice other phenomena going on in our minds and body. For the meditation to have benefit, you need to remain focused on the object of meditation, as per your instructions. With regards to your heartbeat, just note the fact that your heartbeat is there and without creating any aversion to your heartbeat, remain steadfastly fixed to your primary object of meditation.
The problem with switching one's attention between one object and another, from the breath to the heartbeat is that it diffuses our concentration rather than focusing it.
metta

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
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:08 am


phil
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:08 am
Location: Tokyo

Re: Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby phil » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:36 am

Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

User avatar
suriyopama
Posts: 482
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:44 am
Location: Thailand

Re: Mindfulness with heartbeat. Is it a hindrance?

Postby suriyopama » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:54 am

Thank you very much for all your answers :namaste:

Ben, I am going to try to focus only on some concrete aspect of breating, as you say, not on the breathing as a whole (maybe that's why I currently find it hard to seaprate it from heartbeat) Only on some of the many components of the breath. When anapanasati sutta says "body breath" I should have understood that body doesn't refer as a single entity but as a compound made of many parts.

Phil, thank you for your advice. It makes sense to use the heartbeat as far as it makes me stay "tuned" with what I'm doing, and not to worry so much.

About my practice, I've said that I can be aware of my breathing for hours, but not actually doing formal meditation. I am not able to sit down for more than 20 munutes because I can not bear with the pain on my legs, but I can do many things during the day while being aware of my breathing (reading, working, talking, walking, even listening music...). Maybe this is part of the problem: I am used to do many kind of different things and follow the breathing at the same time. Perhaps this attitude keeps me very far from achieving a Nimita. It makes my mind to be continually dispersed, not focusing on a single point.

About the technique, I have read many books with different systems, but for the last year I've been trying to follow the steps of the anapanasati as described by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu at the book "Mindfulness with Breathing", mixed with the advices of Ajahn Brahm's "Mindfulness Bliss & beyond". Maybe it's too much for me, I haven't gone further than the first tetrad.

About finding a Teacher, I'm currently living very close to Wat Wiwek Asom in Chonburi, but nobody can speak English. I think that the closest Wat with western bhikkus is Wat Boonyawad. I hope that one of this days I can get a car to make a visit there.

Thank you very much :namaste:


Return to “General Theravāda Meditation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine