Author Topic: Technique outlined on the main page  (Read 3630 times)

db5

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Technique outlined on the main page
« on: March 31, 2015, 08:37:09 PM »
I know this type of question has been covered multiple times on this board, but can we discuss the beginning of the practice as outlined on the main page?
I am still having trouble with:

“Breathe in paying attention to bodily sensations”
“ Do not intellectualise where you pay attention to” and “Pay attention to the actual sensations in your body, wherever they are.”

In my experience, any type of conscious paying attention automatically shifts the mind onto that thing, which doesn't seem right to me because now I’m intellectualizing where I’m paying attention. On the other hand, the alternative has the thoughts, feelings and all the breathing sensations going on at the same time. In which case I’m not paying attention to any one of them in particular but am aware of them just kind of existing in a fog – can’t see any particular thing very clearly. This doesn't seem correct to me as well because I’m not actually paying attention to the bodily sensations over the thoughts.  The question is then, how am I supposed to pay attention to bodily sensations without shifting my mind onto those sensations? Is there maybe a starting exercise to do to train this ability before trying to follow the bodily sensations?


Matthew

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 06:43:52 AM »
Your intellectualising is something you are bringing to the practice. It's quite simple, attention is not drawn to individual parts, it is dispersed throughout the body: physical sensations caused by the breathing process can be felt in the belly, chest, legs, arms, neck, head: all of your body, inner and outer - in your organs and your skin. Developing an expansive awareness you can be aware of all of these sensations at the same time.

The reason you struggle with this meditation is due to intellectualising about it and not experiencing it. The practice places emphasis on bodily sensations throughout the body to quiet the mind, yet if you are constantly analysing, measuring the practice you are placing intellectualising above physical experience and that will stand in the way of benefits the practice offers.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

db5

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 04:46:36 PM »
Your intellectualising is something you are bringing to the practice. It's quite simple, attention is not drawn to individual parts, it is dispersed throughout the body: physical sensations caused by the breathing process can be felt in the belly, chest, legs, arms, neck, head: all of your body, inner and outer - in your organs and your skin. Developing an expansive awareness you can be aware of all of these sensations at the same time.

The reason you struggle with this meditation is due to intellectualising about it and not experiencing it. The practice places emphasis on bodily sensations throughout the body to quiet the mind, yet if you are constantly analysing, measuring the practice you are placing intellectualising above physical experience and that will stand in the way of benefits the practice offers.

This all makes sense, I guess I'm just not sure whether I'm forcefully quieting the mind or paying attention to bodily sensations.

Matthew

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2015, 02:00:07 PM »
"Let the mind be".
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

db5

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2015, 07:43:27 PM »
"Let the mind be".

What do you use to pay attention with, then? Every time I try to pay attention to the body, I get tension in the mind. It's like the thoughts want to pull me away while I'm trying to pay attention to the bodily sensations. I would let the mind be but it seems it won't let me be.

Matthew

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2015, 09:12:30 PM »
Keep practicing. You will work it out.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

db5

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2015, 08:40:50 PM »
Keep practicing. You will work it out.

Well, I have been practicing for a little now but I keep coming back to the same question. I cannot get the contradiction out of paying attention and not suppressing thoughts. It seems it's either not paying attention to anything in particular, which means being aware of thoughts, feelings and the bodily sensations all kind of happening at the same time  or paying attention to one of them, which makes the rest disappear. Any advice?

Goofaholix

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2015, 10:17:52 PM »
Well, I have been practicing for a little now but I keep coming back to the same question. I cannot get the contradiction out of paying attention and not suppressing thoughts. It seems it's either not paying attention to anything in particular, which means being aware of thoughts, feelings and the bodily sensations all kind of happening at the same time  or paying attention to one of them, which makes the rest disappear. Any advice?

One of the first things you'll notice when starting this practice is that thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and sounds arise and pass away constantly, sometimes quite rapidly.

Paying attention means just be aware of these events and processes, it doesn't mean concentrate or clamp down on one thing at the expense of others.  Paying attention to thought does not mean pay attention to the content of thought, it mean just be aware that thought is arising and passing away.  So it's like being aware that the TV or radio is on in the room when you are not interested in the program that's currently on.

When nothing else in particular is happening you can return to awareness of your primary object, usually this is the breath.

Alex

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2015, 03:05:12 PM »
Hi db5

You seem to be worried that what you’re doing/experiencing/finding is not ‘correct’ in relation to how you understand the instruction for this meditation..

You notice for example that when you bring attention consciously to aspects of your experience, there is a tendency to intellectualize.
This ‘bringing attention consciously’, which sounds like a more focussed or concentrated kin dof attention, causes other aspects to go to the background of awareness or even “out of the picture”, which makes you wonder if you’re not suppressing these aspects.

These are interesting things to notice! ;)

It’s interesting to be aware when you intellectualize, and it’s interesting to be aware when you don’t.

It’s interesting to be aware when you’re insecure about suppressing, and it’s interesting to see when you’re not.

When you notice the intellectualizing or the insecurity, it may be interesting to be aware of how you react to it (judging, not judging).

Also you notice that when you don’t place attention on an object in particular, it feels like a fog, as if you’re not really paying attention at all. This is also very interesting to notice!
Your understanding seems to be that bodily sensations should be in the foreground and any thoughts passing by should be in the background, and you find this is not the case.

And somehow you can’t cognitively reconcile that attention or awareness can be open and wide as well as focussed or concentrated.

Any advice?

If you would receive good advice here and you could cognitively penetrate this process and what you’re doing “wrong” then there would be something you could “do” to fix the problem. This is off course our habitual way of dealing with “problems”.

But maybe we don’t have the same control over attention, mind, body, openness, relaxation, etc. as we have over the material world?

You also can’t cognitively explain to someone what to do, for example how to keep their balance: an awareness that is anchored or resting in bodily sensations of the breath, but open enough to allow for other aspects of the experience to come to the foreground. All this in a spirit of relaxing, allowing, letting be, not trying to control or preoccupied with how it should be.

So, maybe we’re learning a different approach here?

Maybe this struggle you’re having is then simply part of the process, the contradictions or uncertainties maybe simply dissolving over time instead of getting solved by you? So could you then relax in the presence of these contradictions and uncertainties and continue your exploration?

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2015, 03:18:25 PM »
Keep practicing. You will work it out.

Well, I have been practicing for a little now but I keep coming back to the same question. I cannot get the contradiction out of paying attention and not suppressing thoughts. It seems it's either not paying attention to anything in particular, which means being aware of thoughts, feelings and the bodily sensations all kind of happening at the same time  or paying attention to one of them, which makes the rest disappear. Any advice?

For someone beginning I would say have about 75% of attention on the sensations of the body created by the physical movements of breathing and 25% on mind. This way you are kind of "time-sharing" your attention, training in concentration and calm throough attention to body byt not suppressing thought (which is a self-hypnotic learned behaviour).

So this means you will be "aware of thoughts, feelings and the bodily sensations all kind of happening at the same time", yet with the attention/mindfulness steered a bit towards bodily sensations and enough left for thoughts/mind that you can hear it, not suppress it, and not engage with it.

I hope that clarification helps. It takes practice to "get it" in your own experience, the words just point to the experience you are aiming for.

Kindly,

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

db5

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Re: Technique outlined on the main page
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2015, 06:24:42 PM »
Thank you for the responses. Will keep working at it.

I have a follow up question in regards to going back to the breath. I understand the concept in terms of catching yourself in a thought train, but does this also apply to a type of tension in the mind? For example, I do notice my mind going “you might be suppressing thoughts”, and then I feel a slight tension in left shoulder area, then a tension in the front/right side of the mind. Now, if I put my awareness onto the tension in the mind and just keep it there then it dissolves itself. However, if I keep trying to hold attention on the breath (or both the breath and the tension) then the tension doesn’t dissolve and paying attention to the breath feels forced and I start getting a cascade of “you’re not doing this right” thoughts, which in turn increases the tension in the mind. So is it a good idea to watch the tension in the mind until it goes away before returning the breath sensations in the body? Even though, I can’t sense the sensations in the body when I do this and it seems I am directly engaging the tension at the expense of the bodily sensations from breathing?

 

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