Author Topic: meditation and sensations  (Read 3063 times)

Mindfullness

  • Member
meditation and sensations
« on: June 27, 2012, 02:51:08 PM »
I am still confused regarding how to deal with sensations in the body. I know that the directions provided on this forum(whole-body meditation) say not to search for sensations. However, how do I proceed if I have sensations going on in multiple parts of my body when breathing in and out? Do I focus on one area and move to the next sensation or do I try to calmly ease away all the senations at the same time?

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: meditation and sensations
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2012, 05:58:07 PM »
Mindfulness,

You have asked several times on the best / proper way to meditate.
So you are taking care with this, and you stay confused.

The way I learned to meditate, I would name this as "confusion". So I would recognise, that bodily sensations are not the thing on the foreground, but confusion is. That is from the noting technique of Mahasi Sayadaw.

But there is also the theme of getting stuck time and again.
My proposal is to go in a round-about way.


There is the theme of hope. You keep coming back, so you keep hoping. Or at least, you keep going. That is a beautiful thing. Hope can be a powerful resource. Resilience can be a good resource.
So, going a bit to the left and to the right instead of forward: Are there other things that give you this good feeling (of hope, or of keeping-at-it)? Maybe there are some pieces of music that can evoke the same feeling. Maybe there are some spots in the body where this same feeling lives. (Maybe not - I am just trying.)

What I see is also the confusion. I found in my interaction with others, that I use confusion as a protection. Things do not go so fast if you are confused, in an interaction.
So I wonder if there are things in the background of your life/ your psyche that give good reason to progress slowly. Sometimes we are not ready to face what is there, and we need more preparation. I use reading books on psychology as preparation. Reading novels is also a beautiful way. Through the ages, we have had myths and stories to tell us about the heroes journey.

So, I invite you to keep a broad perspective.

Renze

  • Member
    • Ungrounded
    • No hope
Re: meditation and sensations
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2012, 10:32:08 AM »
I am still confused regarding how to deal with sensations in the body. I know that the directions provided on this forum(whole-body meditation) say not to search for sensations. However, how do I proceed if I have sensations going on in multiple parts of my body when breathing in and out? Do I focus on one area and move to the next sensation or do I try to calmly ease away all the senations at the same time?

Hi Mindfullness,

The whole-body breathing meditation as described on this forum is concentration meditation (often called samatha meditation). Concentration is the unification of awareness on a single (meditation) object, in this case the breath. In this technique, you practice keeping your attention to the breath. Everytime you're distracted by thoughts, external sensations or sensations in the body, you gently move your attention back to the breath, even if that sensation is still there. This way you practice sustaining your attention to a single object of meditation, increasing your concentration both during metitation and daily life.

I think I understand your confusion, but I'm making assumptions here. Judging from your forum name, you have previous experience with mindfulness-based therapy or vipassana meditation. In vipassana, the goal is not to practice concentration by focusing on a single object of meditation. Instead, you practice awareness of sensations by making them your object of meditation. This way, you will learn to be aware of sensations 'from a distance', without getting caught up in them.

To summarize:
concentration meditation: sustained focus on a single object (breath), when aware of distraction move awareness back to the object.
vipassana meditation: there is no single meditation object, you meditate on whatever sensation you are aware of.

I also noticed you used the term 'whole body meditation', but as I mentioned above it should be 'whole body breathing meditation'. The difference here is that 'whole body breathing' has a different meaning. First of all, the 'whole body' of the breath means the in-breath, the out-breath, and the pauses between them together. This is regardless of which breathing sensations you focus on. In the tutorial on this website, it is also assumed that 'whole body breathing' means to focus on every aspect, every sensation of the breath you are aware of. The belly, the lungs, the nostrils etc. There are however teachers who teach to focus on one aspect only. It is entirely up to you to try the right technique.

I hope this cleared up some of your confusion :)

Mindfullness

  • Member
Re: meditation and sensations
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2012, 02:33:22 PM »
I am still confused regarding how to deal with sensations in the body. I know that the directions provided on this forum(whole-body meditation) say not to search for sensations. However, how do I proceed if I have sensations going on in multiple parts of my body when breathing in and out? Do I focus on one area and move to the next sensation or do I try to calmly ease away all the senations at the same time?

Hi Mindfullness,

The whole-body breathing meditation as described on this forum is concentration meditation (often called samatha meditation). Concentration is the unification of awareness on a single (meditation) object, in this case the breath. In this technique, you practice keeping your attention to the breath. Everytime you're distracted by thoughts, external sensations or sensations in the body, you gently move your attention back to the breath, even if that sensation is still there. This way you practice sustaining your attention to a single object of meditation, increasing your concentration both during metitation and daily life.

I think I understand your confusion, but I'm making assumptions here. Judging from your forum name, you have previous experience with mindfulness-based therapy or vipassana meditation. In vipassana, the goal is not to practice concentration by focusing on a single object of meditation. Instead, you practice awareness of sensations by making them your object of meditation. This way, you will learn to be aware of sensations 'from a distance', without getting caught up in them.

To summarize:
concentration meditation: sustained focus on a single object (breath), when aware of distraction move awareness back to the object.
vipassana meditation: there is no single meditation object, you meditate on whatever sensation you are aware of.

I also noticed you used the term 'whole body meditation', but as I mentioned above it should be 'whole body breathing meditation'. The difference here is that 'whole body breathing' has a different meaning. First of all, the 'whole body' of the breath means the in-breath, the out-breath, and the pauses between them together. This is regardless of which breathing sensations you focus on. In the tutorial on this website, it is also assumed that 'whole body breathing' means to focus on every aspect, every sensation of the breath you are aware of. The belly, the lungs, the nostrils etc. There are however teachers who teach to focus on one aspect only. It is entirely up to you to try the right technique.

I hope this cleared up some of your confusion :)

Thanks, both of you. I appreciate both of your comments. Renze, although I feel less confuse in some ways, I feel more confused in others  :D. What I meant to describe was on this page:

http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/page,10.html

This is the type of meditation I practice--or, at least, try to lol. I am confused as to what to do when you have multiple sensations. Also, I don't think you are supposed to come back to the breath in this type of meditation described in the link. Maybe Matthew could help clarify this for both of us.

Renze

  • Member
    • Ungrounded
    • No hope
Re: meditation and sensations
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2012, 02:51:39 PM »
Ah, I think I understand it now. In that tutorial, you focus on your bodily sensations as a whole as you breathe. So pay attention to all of the bodily sensations as a whole as you breathe, do not single out one sensation. Some teachers will tell you to focus on one single sensation, such as the nostrils. I think both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages.

Stefan

  • The Marvellous Omannobazong!!!
  • Member
  • love is the key
    • Vipassana (Goenka), Freestyle, Family, God
Re: meditation and sensations
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2012, 04:59:21 PM »
hei mindfullness,

there's a big number of different meditation styles, and they are all "buddhistic" ...
the core principle is to be attentive, equanimous, relaxed. observing calmly, not reacting.

wether you focus on your breath or on your body. wether you jump from sensation to sensation or you move from one part of your body to another or you focus on the whole body at once. wether you stay on the surface of your body or dive into your innards. wether you stick to bodily sensations or focus on mental sensations. wether you meditate on the cushion or while walking. even wether you meditate or have mundane business to deal with.

you observe the sensations happening right now, without craving, without aversion.

how do you deal with a sunset you are observing? how do you deal with the birds song? how do you deal with the stars above your head?
... you don't deal with it. you just observe.

greez, stefan
anicca

Re: meditation and sensations
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 12:42:01 PM »
Ah, I think I understand it now. In that tutorial, you focus on your bodily sensations as a whole as you breathe. So pay attention to all of the bodily sensations as a whole as you breathe, do not single out one sensation. Some teachers will tell you to focus on one single sensation, such as the nostrils. I think both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages.

hello,
i would like to describe how i found the result for this in my practice.
first of all i would like to know if my understanding of your problem is right " your attention jumps to the strongest reaction your mind is giving for a particular sensation at this moment ,all the rest are hard to find or cannot be found and mind resists to find".
am i right?
well if this is it then your awareness has grown and your equanimity is not up to the mark. first of all you have to understand about distraction of mind. it can get distracted to other objects when there is no equanimity , awareness losses its broadness and becomes narrow if this happens.
and only way to come out of is a slow process. work on your equanimity.

hope this helps.

 

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