between breaths and controlled breathing

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
pegembara
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by pegembara »

Our breathing is usually not controlled because we don't even notice it. For some there is a tendency to try to control it once it is noticed. The initial phase is to actually calm(control) the breath and indirectly calm the body/mind. Stilling of the mind goes hand in hand with stilling of the breath. Eventually breath becomes so subtle that it appears to have stopped. There is a natural progression.

A stilled mind(in samadhi) is in an ideal position to observe the arising and passing phenomena - sounds, smells, taste, touch and mind objects. Noticing the arising and falling of the breath and the space between is actually seeing impermanence of all phenomena.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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manas
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by manas »

Hi Bodhidharma,
just from my own personal experience, I am finding it useful to sort of 'tune in' to the solar plexus / abdomen area, and just watch and feel that area, letting go and relaxing very much, and not doing anything about another breath, just relaxing into the stillness between breaths and remaining quite aware of any sensation in that area. When I do this, at some time that feeling of 'lack', the signal being sent to the muscles to contract, begins to be felt. If I'm really calm, the body can seem to begin the next breath 'by itself', so to speak; my task is to simply let it. It's actually interesting to note that ever-so-slightly uncomfortable sensation of 'oxygen starvation' in that moment, and noticing the refeshment that arises when the body responds by commencing another breath. My two cents' worth, hope that helps. :anjali:
To the Buddha-refuge i go; to the Dhamma-refuge i go; to the Sangha-refuge i go.
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Goofaholix
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by Goofaholix »

If you are unable to observe spaciousness or stillness between breaths then how will you know that you are currently between breaths in order to know it's time to observe something else?

It's just noticing that moment when then out breath has stopped and the in breath hasn't started yet, that's all there is to it.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah
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oak1
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by oak1 »

Heey guys!

Quick update:

I have been practicing with the earliest posts, but that didn't really work out for me.
Some time ago I read a bit of an articele from Thanissora Bhikkhu, where he states that vipassana and samatha should be brought into balance. Since I have never really practiced vipassana I decided to work on that. In a guided vipassana meditation Ajahn Sumedho said that you should comtemplate the right amount of effort needed to sustain the breath; this has been helpfull. During vipassana I sometimes notice the breath, which is quite relaxed/natural, so I just take this as a sign that I should continue on this path.

Thanks again for your help!

:anjali:

Thanissaro Bhikkhu's article: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... etool.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Guided vipassana meditation by Ajahn Sumedho (number: 45): https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/how ... 09553?mt=2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Kamran
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by Kamran »

Ven T's use of the word "breath" is not in a literal sense. He's talking about awareness sensations or "energy".
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Maarten
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by Maarten »

I find it very hard not to control the breath at all. I think you learn to control it less and less as you improve your skill.

If you are controlling the breath a lot, maybe you are forcefully connecting the in and out breaths so that in your case there is no discernible pause between the in and out breath?

One thing I find helpful is Ajahn Brahms advice on where to observe the breath. He asks: how do you know right now that you are breathing? That knowing is what you observe.
daverupa
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by daverupa »

Bodhidharma482 wrote:I have been practicing with the earliest posts, but that didn't really work out for me.
Well, I wonder about something...
Some time ago I read a bit of an articele from Thanissora Bhikkhu, where he states that vipassana and samatha should be brought into balance.
Yes... but of course, this is strengthened by preceding aspects of the gradual path, so with respect to your difficulties I wonder two things:

1. How goes your practice with mindfully guarding the senses throughout the day?
2. How is your practice with the more formal aspects of satipatthana getting along?

Because a lot of folk seem to have an approach to morality and general awareness throughout their day, and then jump into seated meditation. There's a whole set of transition practices designed to build a stable foundation for deep seated efforts; I tend to refer to them as seated satipatthana, e.g. anatomical parts, feelings, etc.

None of this uses the breath, you see, so there's a more gradual development towards its use that maybe you could benefit from.
  • "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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oak1
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by oak1 »

daverupa wrote:1. How goes your practice with mindfully guarding the senses throughout the day?
I am not very well able to sustain awareness of what I am doing throughout the day.
daverupa wrote:2. How is your practice with the more formal aspects of satipatthana getting along?
I do not know what the formal aspects of satipatthana entail. Could you please help me there? To be honest I am having difficulty following you in general. It seems promising however!
daverupa
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by daverupa »

So let's see.
I am not very well able to sustain awareness of what I am doing throughout the day.
This is a fantastic place to begin. You can simply try to be mindful of events at any sense, whatever they are. It will be difficult at first, but you can notice lapses, you can notice continuity of practice, you can notice if your body is slouching, etc.

Notice that in the Gradual Training sense control happens right after morality is enagaged with, so to start with sense control is quite suitable.

This will lay the foundation for mindfulness & clear comprehension, which is what most people think about when they hear "unremitting mindfulness". Notice that this isn't a goal for right away, but only guarded senses at first. The Gradual Training in the Dhamma is just like a gradual training at the gym.
I do not know what the formal aspects of satipatthana entail.
https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... t-path.pdf

Read this; it's a very good introduction.
I am having difficulty following you in general. It seems promising however!
Yeah, I do that fairly regularly. :embarassed: Sorry. One of many things I'm trying to shift.
  • "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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oak1
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Re: between breaths and controlled breathing

Post by oak1 »

daverupa wrote:So let's see.

This is a fantastic place to begin. You can simply try to be mindful of events at any sense, whatever they are. It will be difficult at first, but you can notice lapses, you can notice continuity of practice, you can notice if your body is slouching, etc.

Notice that in the Gradual Training sense control happens right after morality is enagaged with, so to start with sense control is quite suitable.

This will lay the foundation for mindfulness & clear comprehension, which is what most people think about when they hear "unremitting mindfulness". Notice that this isn't a goal for right away, but only guarded senses at first. The Gradual Training in the Dhamma is just like a gradual training at the gym.

https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg ... t-path.pdf

Read this; it's a very good introduction.
Awesome, thanks a bunch! I am going to work on it!
daverupa wrote:Yeah, I do that fairly regularly. :embarassed: Sorry. One of many things I'm trying to shift.
I guess it is as much my 'fault' as it is yours that I don't understand ;)

I am also having a good feeling about just contemplating this controlled breathing.

I will give you guys an update in due time!

:anjali:
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