The breath as a distraction

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
woodsman
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The breath as a distraction

Post by woodsman »

Hello everyone,

I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time. This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor. does this make sense to anyone else?

If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?

Thanks _/|\_
SarathW
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by SarathW »

woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:55 am Hello everyone,

I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time. This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor. does this make sense to anyone else?

If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?

Thanks _/|\_
I could not follow your post due to very long sentences.
I assume you are investigating the Vipassana, not Samatha.
If you think that the breath is the anchor and then be mindful of the body and mind it will be in line with Satipathana Sutta.
Another Sutta to follow is the Anapanasati Sutta.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Sam Vara
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by Sam Vara »

woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:55 am Hello everyone,

I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time. This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor. does this make sense to anyone else?

If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?

Thanks _/|\_
Yes, it sounds quite similar to a practice taught by the Samatha Trust, where different lengths and aspects of the breath are focused on, before dropping the specific focus on the breath and allowing the mind to "settle". I don't know of links to suttas etc., but if it works, keep going! :anjali:
woodsman
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by woodsman »

SarathW wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:11 am
woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:55 am Hello everyone,

I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time. This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor. does this make sense to anyone else?

If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?

Thanks _/|\_
I could not follow your post due to very long sentences.
I assume you are investigating the Vipassana, not Samatha.
If you think that the breath is the anchor and then be mindful of the body and mind it will be in line with Satipathana Sutta.
Another Sutta to follow is the Anapanasati Sutta.
:thinking:
  • I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time.
  • This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor.
  • Does this make sense to anyone else?
  • If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?
SarathW
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by SarathW »

I am sorry, I can't understand why you consider breath as a distraction.
The breath is our life. How can it be a distraction?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
Srilankaputra
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Location: Sri Lanka

Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by Srilankaputra »

Kāyagatāsati sutta
Their mind becomes stilled internally; it settles, unifies, and becomes immersed in samādhi.

Tesaṁ pahānā ajjhattameva cittaṁ santiṭṭhati sannisīdati ekodi hoti samādhiyati.
https://suttacentral.net/mn119/en/sujato

The breath is not a distraction. It's the dhammas that arise in the mind that determine the quality of meditation.

In the former case you mentioned, there might be a imbalance of energy of mind(viriya) over collectedness of mind(samadhi).

In the latter case, there might be a slight imbalance of 'samadhi' over 'viriya'.

Lokāmisaṃ pajahe santipekkho ti
woodsman
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by woodsman »

SarathW wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:28 pm I am sorry, I can't understand why you consider breath as a distraction.
The breath is our life. How can it be a distraction?
I don't know.....hence asking.

I can only tell you when I reduce my focus on the breath the session seems more productive in terms of insights and foster a more general openness.
woodsman
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by woodsman »

Sam Vara wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:30 am
woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:55 am Hello everyone,

I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time. This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor. does this make sense to anyone else?

If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?

Thanks _/|\_
Yes, it sounds quite similar to a practice taught by the Samatha Trust, where different lengths and aspects of the breath are focused on, before dropping the specific focus on the breath and allowing the mind to "settle". I don't know of links to suttas etc., but if it works, keep going! :anjali:
Sounds like what I am experiencing
Last edited by woodsman on Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SarathW
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by SarathW »

woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:53 pm
SarathW wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:28 pm I am sorry, I can't understand why you consider breath as a distraction.
The breath is our life. How can it be a distraction?
I don't know.....hence asking.

I can only tell you when I reduce my focus on the breath the session seems more productive in terms of insights and foster a more general openness.
Oh, I see.
This is normal.
It is not the breath that distractive, it is your Sankhara.
It appears to me that you are under a lot of stress which comes to the surface when you concentrate on your breath.
Practice Metta before you start your meditation session and release stress in your heart and lungs.
The natural feelings are pleasant with wisdom and painfully with without knowledge.
This is the whole purpose of meditation to expel that ignorance.
:D
Neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling is pleasant in occurring together with knowledge, and painful in occurring without knowledge."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Last edited by SarathW on Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
woodsman
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:45 am

Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by woodsman »

SarathW wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 1:02 pm
woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:53 pm
SarathW wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:28 pm I am sorry, I can't understand why you consider breath as a distraction.
The breath is our life. How can it be a distraction?
I don't know.....hence asking.

I can only tell you when I reduce my focus on the breath the session seems more productive in terms of insights and foster a more general openness.
Oh, I see.
This is normal.
The natural feelings are pleasant with wisdom and painfully with without knowledge.
This is the whole purpose of meditation to expel that ignorance.
:D
Neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling is pleasant in occurring together with knowledge, and painful in occurring without knowledge."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
So all good then, just carry on as I am?
SarathW
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by SarathW »

What I am saying is your focus should be the breath.
Perhaps you should speak to a teacher to find out your aversion towards your breath.
My problem is I feel bored with my breath but I know it is plesant.
:D
I enjoy my monkey mind more than the breath.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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pitithefool
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by pitithefool »

woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:55 am Hello everyone,

I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time. This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor. does this make sense to anyone else?

If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?

Thanks _/|\_
I think that sounds fine. Especially if you're getting quite good at dropping into concentration rather quickly, you may find that another object is more suitable to settle on. In which case, there's no reason to believe from what you've posted that it's "wrong" or anything.

The question that comes to mind is, what is the "singular focus" you're speaking of?
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pegembara
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by pegembara »

woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:55 am Hello everyone,

I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time. This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor. does this make sense to anyone else?

If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?

Thanks _/|\_
The breath is your anchor.
"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will develop mindfulness immersed in the [breath]body. We will pursue it, hand it the reins and take it as a basis, give it a grounding. We will steady it, consolidate it, and set about it properly.' That's how you should train yourselves."

"Just as if a person, catching six [senses]animals of different ranges, of different habitats, were to bind them with a strong rope. Catching a snake, he would bind it with a strong rope. Catching a crocodile... a bird... a dog... a hyena... a monkey, he would bind it with a strong rope. Binding them all with a strong rope, he would tether them to a strong post or stake.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
:heart:
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
The2nd
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Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by The2nd »

woodsman wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:55 am Hello everyone,

I recently considered the possibility that counting/following and otherwise focussing on the breath might be getting in the way of my sessions developing as they have been in a state of attrition for some time. This conclusion seems to have been correct - instead of seeing the breath as the main focus of my practice I see it now as a means to relax the body and mind before dropping it as a singular focus and allowing the mind to remain open with a peripheral awareness of the breath as a sort of anchor. does this make sense to anyone else?

If so I would appreciate any link s you may have that validates this?

Thanks _/|\_
Watching the breath can be done so as to distract yourself from your situation, it can be done so as to block out the larger reality or the bigger picture, which is not mindfulness.
'Knowing that you are breathing while you are doing things' is an awareness which includes your entire situation rather than 'focussing on the breath' which excludes the bigger picture.
That awareness which is inclusive is required to understand your situation.

You can , as you say, initially focus on the breath as a relaxtion method, but that relaxation technique is not the mindfulness that needs to be developed or anapanasati.
Srilankaputra
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Location: Sri Lanka

Re: The breath as a distraction

Post by Srilankaputra »

The2nd wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:30 pm Watching the breath can be done so as to distract yourself from your situation, it can be done so as to block out the larger reality or the bigger picture, which is not mindfulness.
'Knowing that you are breathing while you are doing things' is an awareness which includes your entire situation rather than 'focussing on the breath' which excludes the bigger picture.
That awareness which is inclusive is required to understand your situation.

You can , as you say, initially focus on the breath as a relaxtion method, but that relaxation technique is not the mindfulness that needs to be developed or anapanasati.
:goodpost:

As i understand, its important to distinguish the kammatthana from the heart, which we are trying to develop. When sati becomes well established in the heart, the quality of indriyasamvara comes to fulfilment and includes collectedness or samadhi. Another quality that arises with sati is Kammaññatā or wieldiness. If one wishes, one can keep awareness on the breath and experience deeper and deeper states of samadhi and/or it can be directed towards investigating the nature of reality.

Lokāmisaṃ pajahe santipekkho ti
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