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How do I watch the breath (without controlling it)? - Dhamma Wheel

How do I watch the breath (without controlling it)?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Moth
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How do I watch the breath (without controlling it)?

Postby Moth » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:07 pm

If I am unaware of my breath it moves by itself, automatically. However, if I focus on my breath it becomes manual--I have to control it. If I try not to control my breath, while still focusing on it, I stop breathing. If I continue this naturally I will breathe out of need for air, but this way feels very rigid and unnatural. Any advice?
Last edited by Moth on Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
May you be happy. May you be a peace. May you be free from suffering.
http://www.everythingspirals.com

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Collective
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby Collective » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:30 pm


Reductor
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby Reductor » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:31 pm

You are likely focusing to hard on the breath, trying to keep it from slipping away. Instead just relax, enjoy the feeling of sitting down and then very loosely pay attention to breathing: "I am breathing". Don't get to worked up on whether your in breathing or out breathing, whether it is long, or whether it is short. Just know that you are breathing, and relax.

After some time doing that you increase your attention: "I am breathing in." "I am breathing out". If you are still controlling, then relax again.

As has been pointed out on the forum before, you need to first setup general mindfulness before you really dig into the breath. General mindfulness should be relaxed and open, but not distracted into the past or future.

If you cannot relax without running into the past or future, then I think it is ok to control the breath a little bit in order to keep the mind in the present. As you practice more, you will find it less and less necessary to hold onto the breath, and more and more easy to just watch and attend to it.

Hope that helps a little.

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dhamma_spoon
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby dhamma_spoon » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:50 pm


Moggalana
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby Moggalana » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:55 pm

Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

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OcTavO
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby OcTavO » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:59 pm

My advice would be if you find yourself controlling it, just watch yourself controlling it. It's important to remember that it's not about the breath. The breath is just a convenient object of focus to gently come back to whenever you become aware of being caught up in one of the incessant storylines our minds are constantly weaving.

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Moth
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby Moth » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:46 am

May you be happy. May you be a peace. May you be free from suffering.
http://www.everythingspirals.com

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dhamma_spoon
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby dhamma_spoon » Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:08 pm


lojong1
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby lojong1 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:19 am


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Jetavana
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby Jetavana » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:40 am

Dear Moth,

I hope it is not too late to post this reply to your question on mindfulness of the breath.

If one reads carefully the Anapana Sutta, it repeats and repeats the mindful of the short breath or mindful of the long breath etc. It has never mentioned one to deviate to calmness and lost focus point on breath.

However, out of 100 meditators, 100 do deviate from the Sutta, to refined breath with calmness, and attached to blissfullness. This inhibits one's progress on meditation.

Reason : Almost everyone will tend to get more calmness as one concentrate on the breath, thus when the breath is too refine, that one thought one has no more breath, thus loosing the focal point on breath. The stillness is a deviation from the Sutta.

One should condition the breath in a tempo that one could always and all the time, could focus its breath in and out and the shortness or longness of each breath. This is the essence of Anapansatti.

Due to most meditators who will loose their object of meditation (breath), The Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma developed the up and down tummy for most meditators so that they have a constant point of focus.

In conclusion, Moth should conditioned its strength or tempo of breath whereby it is not too coarse or too refine, that breath could always be there to be focused upon..

Metta Karuna and may all practice to full concentration.

Jet

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dhamma_spoon
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby dhamma_spoon » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:19 pm

Hello, Jetavana and other interested friends -

I got the feeling that you were talking about the first tetrad of the anapanasati of the Anapanasati Sutta [MN 118].

Jetavana:

If one reads carefully the Anapana Sutta, it repeats and repeats the mindful of the short breath or mindful of the long breath etc. It has never mentioned one to deviate to calmness and lost focus point on breath.

However, out of 100 meditators, 100 do deviate from the Sutta, to refined breath with calmness, and attached to blissfullness. This inhibits one's progress on meditation.

Reason : Almost everyone will tend to get more calmness as one concentrate on the breath, thus when the breath is too refine, that one thought one has no more breath, thus loosing the focal point on breath. The stillness is a deviation from the Sutta.

One should condition the breath in a tempo that one could always and all the time, could focus its breath in and out and the shortness or longness of each breath. This is the essence of Anapansatti.

Dhamma_spoon: In the second tetrad the focus shifts to feeling (vedana), the third tetrad it shifts to mind state(citta), and the fourth to mental phenomena(dhamma).
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Tep :stirthepot:
-----
P.S. The pot-stirring symbol means Dhamma_spoon is stirring the Dhamma pot, yet he knows nothing about the Dhamma.
It does not mean I am looking for troubles. :meditate:

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altar
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby altar » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:44 pm

Sometimes when you breathe it is cold out, and you can literally see your breath! So it's just this same way, except instead of seeing with your eyes, you stay with it with basic sensitivity... (and let all of the accompanying factors of mindfulness and awareness and wisdom etc. develop) this is my understanding. Sometimes more force, sometimes less.

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Jetavana
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby Jetavana » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:12 am

Dear Dhamma Spoon,

Thanks your email comment. Yes, I refer to Anapana Sutta first Tetrad as it is just concentration for beginner. In the Second Tetrad, it is Vipassana, for Insight.

Metta

Kenshou
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby Kenshou » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:40 am

Second tetrad is for insight? You sure?

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dhamma_spoon
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby dhamma_spoon » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:25 am


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acinteyyo
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:47 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

5heaps
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby 5heaps » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:57 pm

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Jetavana
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby Jetavana » Tue Aug 10, 2010 2:24 am

Hi thanks for good respond reasoning.

Samatha is conditioned concentration whereas Insight Vipassana is noting each arising and ceasing of Phenomenon.

Metta.
Jet.

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m0rl0ck
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Re: How do I watch the breath?

Postby m0rl0ck » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:33 am




I found the above a great help. Bhante Vimalaramsi teaching from the sutta itself. His comments on the body during breath meditation were especially helpful to me.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig


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