Author Topic: Following Ajahn Brahm: Focus on the experience of the breath  (Read 2706 times)

J0rrit

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Following Ajahn Brahm: Focus on the experience of the breath
« on: September 28, 2014, 10:13:42 AM »
Hello there,

I have a question about this what Ajahn Brahm says. He says to ask yourself 'how do I know that I'm breathing'? And to focus on just that! Focus on the experience of how you know that you are breathing. When I read this I just followed this. For me, it happened to be a concept. I followed a concept of the breath, made of sensations from the nasal area combined with those of the chest and a little of the abdomen, but this is a CONCEPT. Now I'm further in my practice and I notice what a differens it mades when I don't focus like that anymore, but just on the real individual sensations. The real sensations give my mind far more calm than the concept. Also, for Jhana it is in my eyes better to focus on the smaller area of just the nostrils, than on a combination of many sensations.

My explanation is that this mind-made concept costs energy to the mind to produce, instead of focussing on sensations that are allready there, so reall letting go can be accomplished. What are your opinions about this? To my amazement Ajahn Brahm gives instructions like this, because in my mind this just doesn't really work as good as to focus on the individual sensations themselves, instead of a combined CONCEPT.

What are your opinions about this?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Following Ajahn Brahm: Focus on the experience of the breath
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2014, 12:31:53 PM »
Focusing on the breath is a good mechanism for gaining equanimity and grounding ones self. Recognising you're focusing on the breath is an insight into the ego.

At least, I think this is what Brahm is driving at, I've probably listened to the guy for hundreds of hours and he talks about quite a few different approaches. He also says the breath doesn't feature in his own practice anymore.

J0rrit

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Re: Following Ajahn Brahm: Focus on the experience of the breath
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2014, 12:33:54 PM »
Focusing on the breath is a good mechanism for gaining equanimity and grounding ones self. Recognising you're focusing on the breath is an insight into the ego.

At least, I think this is what Brahm is driving at, I've probably listened to the guy for hundreds of hours and he talks about quite a few different approaches. He also says the breath doesn't feature in his own practice anymore.

Okeee, but that's not my question at all. What can you say about conceptualizing the breath vs the real sensations ?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Following Ajahn Brahm: Focus on the experience of the breath
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2014, 06:06:03 PM »
It's quite difficult if you quote 7 words by Brahm and then add several hundred of your own. I thought I was talking to what he said, which to me hints at the awareness of being aware. This can lead to insight about the nature of the self, instead of observing a biological process like breathing.

I'm not sure what answer you want to hear.

Middleway

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Re: Following Ajahn Brahm: Focus on the experience of the breath
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2014, 02:31:44 AM »
I am attending Ajahn Brahm 1-day workshop on October 18th in Toronto, Canada. I will report back on how it goes.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Goofaholix

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Re: Following Ajahn Brahm: Focus on the experience of the breath
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2014, 12:47:21 AM »
I think you are overthinking this.  I imagine this quote from Ajahn Brahm happens in the contecxt of someone who says they can't feel the breath (if not could you post the quote please).

The answer to someone who says they can't feel the breath is to ask yourself 'how do I know that I'm breathing then'?  This is just a prompt to get intersested in what evidence there is that you are still breathing, there will be subtle rhythems and sensations in other parts of the body, there will be mental activity, so this is just a prompt to get more subtle and inquisitive because as everyone knows if you're not breathing soon you'll be dead so chances are you are still breathing but the mind needs to get more sensitive.

Matthew

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Re: Following Ajahn Brahm: Focus on the experience of the breath
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2014, 04:42:45 AM »
4. The core of the practice:

i) Breathing and Relaxing.

Breathe in paying attention to bodily sensations as you breathe and calming the body as you breathe. Breathe out paying attention to bodily sensations and calming the body as you breathe.

Notes: Do not intellectualise where you pay attention to or try to "follow the path of the breath in the body" or any other such thing - these are fabrications. Pay attention to the actual sensations in your body, wherever they are. Do not interfere with the natural breathing pattern, just pay attention to the sensations in the body as you breathe.

The above is from the homepage.

Quote
Okeee, but that's not my question at all. What can you say about conceptualizing the breath vs the real sensations ?

Everything Brahm is talking about seems to be there. How do you know you are breathing? From actual bodily contact sensations. The concept you were following is expressly advise to be avoided 'Do not intellectualise where you pay attention to or try to "follow the path of the breath in the body" or any other such thing - these are fabrications. Pay attention to the actual sensations in your body, wherever they are.'
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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