Thanks, PeterB and all. I am going to look for opportunities for retreats (looks likely) and/or a teacher (probably not likely). In the meantime, I do have more questions... but only one needs to be asked right now:
I have read here on the forum that (in the absence of a teacher of our own) we should pick a certain book/teacher's method and stick with it. So I have decided to do that with the techniques given in Mindfulness in Plain English
, because this book has been recommended here, and it offers a lot of description and advice that I can refer back to as I go along.
Before I started reading this book I was using the rising and falling of the abdomen to watch the breath and maintaining concentration pretty well. The book, however, says to use the point where the breath enters the nostrils. I have been trying this the last week and having much
more trouble maintaining my concentration, I think mostly because it is so difficult to actually feel anything there unless I deliberately breathe more strongly. Otherwise I can't seem to detect it there and it's as if I have nothing to focus on, so my mind quickly drifts off.
My question (finally!) is how to deal with that-- could I follow the techniques but substitute using the rising/falling instead of the nostrils, or would that be straying too far from the technique, OR anyone have advice on making it easier to detect the breath at the nostrils? right now I'm guessing I should keep trying with the nostrils for a while longer and see if I get better at it, and if it just doesn't work, go back to the abdomen.