Author Topic: Meditation getting harder  (Read 2818 times)

rodrigo

  • Member
    • Not well defined, but sort of Theravada
Meditation getting harder
« on: August 16, 2013, 11:32:57 PM »
Hi,

I'm new to the forum, so first of all glad to be here.

I've been interested in meditation since adolescence, but never really practiced it in a consistent way. I'm 32 now and about a month ago I decided to give it a more serious effort.

I've been following the instructions on the book "Mindfulness in plain english" and I'm currently reading "Beyong mindfulness in plain english", both by Henepola Gunaratana. Plus some other things from different sources.

I've experimented a little bit, trying closed vs open eyes, concentration + mindfulness vs only mindfulness, seating vs walking, etc and I've got to a combination I'm confortable with:

a. "Formal sessions", currently about 45min on the good days, seating, closed eyes, mindfulness + concentration on sensation of breath in my nose
b. Attemp to keep mindfulness on many tasks during the day, including walking on my way to places

I find mindfulness comes easier to me than concentration, so I try to balance it so I practice both accordingly. In a sense the practice is getting easier, I'm able to do a whole 45min session without too much trouble.

On the other hand, there's and inversion in difficulty. On the beginning of the session my mind is usually not that agitated, being kinda easy to focus on the breath and sustain it. But as I get further - I don't know if "deeper" is the right word here - some problems start to occur.

First, the sensation of breath start to fade out until it becomes very hard to find it and therefore to focus on it. If I try to reconnect to the physical sensasion, I come back to a "shallow" state - again, maybe "shallow" is not the best word.

Second, as I lose my object of focus, my mind starts to get more agitated. While I start with little "noise", mostly background thoughts, it begins to become more "loud" and sometimes thoughts begin to "avalanche".

At this point, if I try too hard to find my breath without coming back to the "surface", I start getting stressed out.

Another thing I tried is to let go of the focus and use only the mindfulness. This ways I get to keep my calm but then I start either to get plunged into the thoughts much more easily than normally - even during the day -, or I start to phase out and sometimes sleep.

My most recent attemp was to focus on an empty "spacial" point - not related to the breath - only to have something to anchor to, while leaving the rest to mindfulness. That seemed to work a little better, but still  problematic and unstable.

I'm sorry for writing so much, but now the really short summary question  ;)


What should I try at this point?


Thank you,

Rodrigo
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 11:37:53 PM by rodrigo »

ommanipadmehum

  • Member
  • Suffering, Origin, Cessation, Path
    • Theravada
Re: Meditation getting harder
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 12:49:06 AM »
According to Baladhammo's book Practicing Insight On Your Own, when you lose sight of the breath because it has become too subtle, you can gently repeat "knowing, knowing".  By this I think he means "I know the breath is there, I know the breath is there."  And gradually your awareness will become as subtle as the sensations and you will reconnect with it.

His book is available free here:
http://www.wisdomlib.org/buddhism/book/practicing-insight-on-your-own/index.html#contents
"A little bit of insight brings a little bit of calm, and a little bit of calm brings a little bit of insight."
 --Ayya Khema

Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Meditation getting harder
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 09:16:56 PM »
First, the sensation of breath start to fade out until it becomes very hard to find it and therefore to focus on it. If I try to reconnect to the physical sensation, I come back to a "shallow" state - again, maybe "shallow" is not the best word.

What I do if I cannot feel the breath, is that I feel my bottom on the cushion.
And I was taught not to care very much about going "deeper". As long as you are concentrated, clear and relaxed, there is nothing wrong with a "shallow" state. It works anyway.

Oh, and - welcome

rodrigo

  • Member
    • Not well defined, but sort of Theravada
Re: Meditation getting harder
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 05:55:49 PM »
Thank you all for the answers. I'm trying your suggestions and they seem to be effective  :)

Rodrigo

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Member
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Meditation getting harder
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 09:54:01 PM »
Rodrigo,

You are probably losing the breath due to over-concentration through focus on the nose. The Buddha taught to breathe in mindful if the whole body and breathe out mindful of the whole body, the process is mindful yet calming/relaxed, not too tight and not too lose. Concentrating on the nose comes from a mistranslation of the Pali word Paramukham and for many makes mindfulness practice too tight, too forced, ignoring the calming/relaxing element essential to the middle way.

Other than this Gunaratana is one of the best out there so don't stop reading, merely make an adjustment to practice and you will likely find the obstacle dissolves.

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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