Author Topic: full awareness on breath  (Read 1606 times)

purity

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • mahasi
full awareness on breath
« on: February 24, 2016, 07:23:50 AM »
I dont understand how it is possible to have full awareness on breath to the exclusion of all else such as spoken of here in this link- http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebmed070.htm

If I am sitting and concentrating on full awareness and then say for example a really intense pain or even an itch arises how does one stay focused on the breath when they are in agony?   The itch or pain is right there and screaming for attention. In my experience it overwhelms all else.

Attachless

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • Vipassana
Re: full awareness on breath
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2016, 09:47:05 AM »
The "pulling" from such tense sensations (which we evaluate as "painful" or "nasty") eventually becomes less as our focus improves, and we may just leave it there at some point, having noted its screaming, but not running for the baby. It`s okay to have 40 or 60% of your attention pulled to that pain, and the rest remaining with the breath (if you`re doing concentration practice). Having 100% seems quite too idealistic, and I think it`s worth to mention that retaining part of your awareness on the object of your concentration is good to go.

Being able to exclude it all is not possible at all times and also takes some practice; at some point you can just even "let pain be", without suffering from it. That`s why I think students are often adviced to only "try so hard", to endure -some- suffering from pain/itching that is tolerable, to develop that, but when it starts to turn into suffering, it`s better to stop and change. The same pain can be used as a tool, or be a hindrance; you to decide. :-)

But of course you shouldn`t use every small itching as "oh that`s unbearable, oh, so unbearable". That ain`t gonna make you progress too much too fast :-D
to be or not to be - one hardly notices the subtlety

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: full awareness on breath
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 01:27:40 PM »
When you are a beginner awareness will be mixed between breath, posture, and mind (including thoughts about practice).

As you take off the training wheels the possibility of full attention on any object comes nearer.

However, it takes dedicated practice, adhering to basic principles of morality, and mindfulness in everyday living and situations before this stage will be achievable.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Alex

  • Member
Re: full awareness on breath
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 02:33:59 PM »
I dont understand how it is possible to have full awareness on breath to the exclusion of all else such as spoken of here in this link- http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebmed070.htm

If I am sitting and concentrating on full awareness and then say for example a really intense pain or even an itch arises how does one stay focused on the breath when they are in agony?   The itch or pain is right there and screaming for attention. In my experience it overwhelms all else.

Basically, your question is "what can I do to control the process of meditation and make my experience as it is described in this link?"

In my personal experience, you can't.

As in the other thread, I invite you to surrender (the illusion of) control and instead look at what actually happens:
  • the unpleasantness of the sensation... "ah yes, this is what unpleasantness feels like"
  • attention being drawn to it... "ah yes, attention is drawn towards theses sensations, again and again. I can't control this, nor should I have to. Maybe I can rest attention quietly on these sensations for a few moments?"
  • other mental reactions, for example aversion ("ah yes, there is a tendency to want things differently from what they are right now"), "I'm doing this wrong" or "there's something wrong with me" ("ah, yes, mind creates the illusion that I'm the one doing or controlling this")
Look at, connect to, open up to what actually happens. And relax. This is how it is. And it's okay.

When mind naturally calms down, which inevitably happens sooner or later if you stop controlling or buying into the reactivity of your mind, you naturally fall back on the breath. Then there is no forcing or control. Until sooner or later next distraction comes along. This is how it is. And it's okay.




Frightful

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • mindfulness
Re: full awareness on breath
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 05:15:45 PM »
Before taking the plunge into meditation, I never would have equated meditating with any other "exercise routine".  But I'm finding that just like exercising, you get out of meditation what you put into it.  There are differences of course making the analogy only partial, but enough important similarities to keep in mind.  And initially I had anticipated that the "meditative approach" would only need to be put into practice *during* the meditation session, with the benefits naturally and effortlessly spilling over into everyday life.  Interestingly, I'm finding some of the best use out of bringing the meditative approach into daily emotionally-charged situations in a manner to which I believe Alex is referring....Learning to step aside and observe "Wow, I am *really* angry in this current situation!..." and providing both acceptance and decatastrophizing(?) to the situation.  It becomes an approach to begin to drive a small wedge between *me* and *my thoughts*.   Still a long way to go, but it's early in the practice.

TheJourney

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Goenka Vipassana, Anapana, and 4 foundations of mindfulness
Re: full awareness on breath
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 09:39:33 PM »
If I am sitting and concentrating on full awareness and then say for example a really intense pain or even an itch arises how does one stay focused on the breath when they are in agony?

Purity,

When I went to Goenka's meditation retreat, he kept denying me a chair for my own good. For 3 days in a row, I complained to the Assistant Teacher that I cannot concentrate during meditation because my back is killing me. I never meditated on the floor, cross-legged, before. I tried kneeling but that also hurts. I piled up pillows on top of pillows.

Starting middle of day 4, he started teaching vipassana meditation. I was told to treat all physical sensations equally, without love or hate. Of course, pain was at my lower back every time I visited my lower back with my mind. With strong determination of not moving, I just experienced pain and moved on to the next body part either upwards or downwards depending on the direction of the scan at the time.

On day 6, my pain disappeared. Even in kneeling position (for 1 hour), I was surprised that my knee was not strained nor had pain. Everyone is different. For some people, the pain disappeared earlier or at day 7, 8, or 9.

I could not have trained myself to sit cross-legged at home. I tried a few times, sitting on a yoga block for 20 minutes of meditation. I quit at 15 minutes. It was not possible for me to meditate and feel the pain at the same time. At home, I would quit in accordance to my whining.

Being in a group sitting, with hourly determination of no moving and bearing the attitude that sensation, pain or no pain, is just a form of sensation, your mind begins to accept the "what is".

At home, you want to avoid pain but the pain is there, so your mind tells you that you want to avoid this. You stop meditation to avoid the pain.

At a group sitting, you are stuck there. You are forced to face pain. You look at different sensations at different parts of your body. You accept pain as pain. You can't avoid it, so you just accept it. It is the reality. It is there. What can I do? I have to sit here. I cannot get out of it. I can only accept the pain. So, I look at the pain. Oh wow, now it is just a sensation.

The more I look at pain as a sensation, the less it bothers my head. Soon, my head treats the pain as just a sensation rather than something I want to avoid at all cost. After five of these 1 hour group sitting, pain ceased.

Just A Simple Guy

  • Bubba Hotep
  • Member
    • Curiosity and Exploration
Re: full awareness on breath
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2016, 11:44:14 AM »
I dont understand how it is possible to have full awareness on breath to the exclusion of all else

Don't try to understand, expect or worry, just do. For me the power of the practice is slowly gaining more awareness of and familiarity with habits of mind, and being less reactive to said habits. Of being less enthralled or captivated by those habits as they become less substantial and hold less sway over my attention.

To clean & jerk 350 lbs requires substantial training of strength and technique. To be able to sit in full awareness to the exclusion of all else requires substantial training too, though I think it's more advantageous to live the journey and not grasp for the destination.
“Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own.” ~ Bruce Lee

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
5 Replies
6117 Views
Last post June 07, 2010, 10:20:43 AM
by boe
2 Replies
3801 Views
Last post March 14, 2010, 08:37:18 AM
by Morning Dew
1 Replies
1650 Views
Last post August 21, 2010, 02:27:10 PM
by Jouz
2 Replies
1761 Views
Last post May 15, 2012, 04:38:52 AM
by Andrew
4 Replies
1557 Views
Last post January 10, 2015, 08:18:25 PM
by Matthew
6 Replies
1400 Views
Last post March 05, 2017, 06:06:22 PM
by Matthew
7 Replies
505 Views
Last post January 26, 2020, 09:22:27 PM
by Katia