Sorry for the long explanation, and my English (not a native speaker), but I'm a bit confused about meditation and would like to someone to clarify some points and guided me in the right direction.
I've been meditating for about four months kind of on my own, even though I had attended some soto zen class in the past long time ago. I've been reading quite a lot of books articles on meditations and buddhism in general, from different traditions. My initial ideas was that there's a distinction between concentration( samathi) and insight (vipassanna?), that you could work both separately but they also complement each other, one is needed for the other one to develop. At the same time, virtue, concentration and wisdom are the trainings and and related, wisdom needs concentration.
From all this I thought that the first thing to do was strength my concentration in order to then gain wisdom and practice those techniques later. In some articles from different authors I've read about focusing in the upper lip/nostril, and bring the attention back to it, does not matter how many times, just do it. Don't try to control the breath, just watching and focus in that point, one-pointless, the mind should be really narrow...BUT
at the same time I've been reading a lot in http://www.accesstoinsight.org/
, and seems to me that Thanissaro teachings another kind of meditation, he does not talks about fix the mind in the upper lip, he talks about breathing with the whole body, and modify the breath to heal it. Seems to me that this approach is more like a mixture between insight and concentration.
So during the past weeks my meditation has been quite bad, because I don't know what exactly do, what's the proper way to meditate. At the beginning of my practice when I focused in the upper lip I gained what I think It was access concentration, but lately trying to use the Thanissaru technique seems that I'm unable to be fully focus in the breath trying to breath with the whole body.
So, what would be the "proper" way? I assume that both ways works, all depends on the school that you follow. I
Is It useful to work only on concentration (upper lip/nostril)? Or should I just use something like Thanissaru approach?