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Breath - Dhamma Wheel

Breath

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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Collective
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Breath

Postby Collective » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:42 am

I'm having trouble locating the breath during meditation. No matter where, stomach, or nostrils. It gets that subtle as to be non existent. So what I do, is become aware of my breathing holistically. Not confined to one particular location, I become aware of my entire body breathing in and out.

Is this recommended, is it good?

Thank you :namaste:

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Ben
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Location: kanamaluka

Re: Breath

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:55 am

Hi Collective

It depends what you are trying to do - whether its the samatha or vipassana variant of anapanasati. So, this is dependent on what you're doing.
Don;t be too alarmed by the breath becoming too subtle to observe. Its still there but in the beginning our powers of perception are not great and, in time, we're able to discern subtler and subtler sensation for longer and longer periods uninterruptedly. The samatha variant of anapana I practice (from time to time), I maintain awareness of the touch of the breath under the nostrils. If I were to lose awareness of the touch of the breath, I exert a couple of forced, harder, breaths, to reorient my awareness, to anchor my awareness before returning to natural breath.
If your intention is to practice samatha, then dispersing your awareness throughout your body may not be conducive to developing the sort of samadhi that is then useful in vipassana.
BTW, what instructions do you have with your meditation kit?
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Collective
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Re: Breath

Postby Collective » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:44 am

I'm practising vipassana.

The instructions are to just focus on the breath, the sensation in the nose. Warm, cool, that kind of thing. But it gets so subtle, I can't.

PeterB
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Re: Breath

Postby PeterB » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:00 pm

I suggest that you stick with it for a month or two Collective. You may well find that its a question of fine tuning...stick with it even when if feels that the sensations are too subtle to discern. You may well find them again. Its a little like thoughts, you might conclude that thoughts have stopped, but a little persistance might show that they have become more subtle..
Stick at it.

meindzai
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Re: Breath

Postby meindzai » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:47 pm

Obviously you never stopped breathing altogether or you wouldn't be reading this :tongue: so I think the above are correct - it's more about becoming more perceptive of your breathing. Maybe if you focused on a different area that would help. I've been using the abdomen for years. Even if the breathing is subtle you can keep your attention there. There are also lots of other things going on in the body that are tied up with breathing - abdominal muscles, back muscles, shoulders rising and falling and so on - the whole body is slightly expanding and contracting as a result of more air going in and out. There is really a lot to pick up on.

-M

Kenshou
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Re: Breath

Postby Kenshou » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:01 pm


seanpdx
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Re: Breath

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:15 pm


meindzai
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Re: Breath

Postby meindzai » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:05 pm


seanpdx
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Re: Breath

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:12 pm


meindzai
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Re: Breath

Postby meindzai » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:22 pm


Kenshou
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Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Breath

Postby Kenshou » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:48 pm

Is it unreasonable to think that perhaps the breathing becomes fine enough, due to the stillness of the state, that it may slip under awareness while not actually stopping altogether? That strikes me as both more realistic and likely than a literal cessation of breathing.

seanpdx
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Re: Breath

Postby seanpdx » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:16 pm


meindzai
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Re: Breath

Postby meindzai » Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:35 pm

The meditation without breath being described involves actually holding the breath, and has nothing to do with the fourth jhana, where it is said to simply cease.

-M

rowyourboat
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Location: London, UK

Re: Breath

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:33 am

If a person is deeply absorbed (not superficially) into the fourth jhana the relaxation is so deep that the breath does stop. The body needs less and less oxygen and the breath can stop for a few seconds even before the first jhana (anapanasati sutta 1st tetrad- fourth line- the ceasing of the breath body), but it stopping in the fouth jhana is longer. There is an element of non-perceiving as well, but even if intentionally the attention is directed to the breath and searched, it is not there. This sounds incredible/impossible to the lay listener but then many things that happen during meditation experience are beyond the realm of our normal day to day experience and this is one of them.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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catmoon
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Re: Breath

Postby catmoon » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:30 am

Here's an odd point. Suppose you had perforated eardrums. It should be possible then to actually breathe through your ears, via the Eustachian tubes. You wouldn't get much air though, and I think the effort would be large.

PeterB
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Re: Breath

Postby PeterB » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:52 am

I think the talk of jnanas and the breath is a tad premature. Collective received her intropack last week... ;)

Sometimes when we focus on something that is normally on auto- pilot we can become very self conscious about it.

Persistance is the key Collective. Follow the instructions on your intro pack and give yourself time.
Last edited by PeterB on Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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catmoon
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Re: Breath

Postby catmoon » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:27 am

oh yes, I should mention.. when my teacher began meditating she could not find the air sensations at the tip of her nose. She mentions this in the meditation instructions almost every night. This baffled me at first, because for me it is about as easy to miss as a St Bernard sitting on my face. Anyhow, she now has no problem finding it, so practice is the way.

I do have this theory that some people's noses have turbulent flow and others have laminar flow due to shape, size and smoothness of the nasal passages, but it's pure speculation. People are built differently though.

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mikenz66
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Re: Breath

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:08 am


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salmon
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Re: Breath

Postby salmon » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:33 am

How can you be in fourth jhana if you are AWARE that you are not breathing? :thinking:
~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~

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fig tree
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Re: Breath

Postby fig tree » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:57 am



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