withoutcolour wrote:My fiance and I attempted to meditate together in order to get me to practice more often, and he had an interesting question...
He asked, Do we focus only on our breath and bodies? Or can we focus on other things?
He said that the sound of the fan in our room was what he focused on, and it actually quieted his thoughts.
So I wasn't really sure how to answer him because I myself usually focus on my breath and my body, and it never occurred to me to focus on outside elements that would otherwise distract me.
What do you guys think? Fan-meditating?
in general one can use all the senses for meditation. Breath seems - because it is tactile - quite easy to most. But one can use vision, too, (for example the kasina meditation in the Visuddhimagga) or, of course, sounds, smells, thoughts, images, whatever. There is no such thing as an "outside" element, it is all internal, because we only are aware of an "outside" via the senses, and they are internal.
One more remark. Using the fan (a constant sound) as an object for meditation leads to relaxation and an increase of concentration (much like listening to the ocean or the wind in trees), to quieting the thoughts. But this relaxed state is close to a trance (state inbetween wake and dream) and some feel themselves drifting into it or ending up in a relaxed and pleasant but numb state. Nothing wrong with than in general, one emerges from it rather refreshed - but it is not the idea of meditation. When one's thoughts are quieted it is time to choose a different object, one more subtle. For example, using the sound of a fan, one can notice that the sound does not seem to appear with the same intensity all the time. The volume seems to vary. Focus on that.
Kare's recommendation is also very good, IMO:
Kare wrote:A small, but interesting excercize:
Listen to the sound (whatever it is). Keep your eyes closed. The sound is "out there", you are "in here". Now, try to determine the exact borderline between the sound and yourself.