Author Topic: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?  (Read 3357 times)

Ja192827

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How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« on: November 10, 2016, 04:04:20 PM »
I attended a Goenka course where he recommended initially spending 10 minutes in a body scan, but he said eventually, we could reduce the time of the body scan to the amount of time it takes for one breath.  I cannot do either.  I lose patience with anything more than 2 minutes, (I time each section of my body for one or two breaths) and I have been trying for 2 hours/day for two months now.  But if I take less than 2 minutes, I feel rushed, and get tired of repeating the scan so often.  I know the recommended time is probably different for everyone, but I was hoping to ask those who practice body scans how long you typically spend on a body scan?  Does 2 minutes sound like an acceptable time?  Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2016, 04:17:23 PM by Ja192827 »

Laurent

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 12:57:53 PM »
I attended a Goenka course where he recommended initially spending 10 minutes in a body scan, but he said eventually, we could reduce the time of the body scan to the amount of time it takes for one breath.  I cannot do either.  I lose patience with anything more than 2 minutes, (I time each section of my body for one or two breaths) and I have been trying for 2 hours/day for two months now.  But if I take less than 2 minutes, I feel rushed, and get tired of repeating the scan so often.  I know the recommended time is probably different for everyone, but I was hoping to ask those who practice body scans how long you typically spend on a body scan?  Does 2 minutes sound like an acceptable time?  Thanks in advance.

Hello,

The important in the beginning is to find calm and patience, comfort, well being to be able to sit a long time with no agitation. The duration of body scan has NO importance. You can spend 30min or 30s it is the same thing. Because the true problem is in the impatience and agitation. You should find the way to solve this.
The process of "just observing" serves this goal of becoming more and more quiet, at a point you don't ask yourself those problems of technique. Technique is just to observe, body scanning is just a way to do this. This is a problem when it becomes a source of agitation or questionning like if it is a doctrine.
If you find issues when observing slowly, observe more rapidly without details, just pass on the body rapidly feeling sensations .Feel the body and do nothing else, it is the key.
You can also try to feel entire body at once, and stay in this state for some time.
You can try to only release your mind while doing nothing, just sitting here, releasing mind from things.
When you feel something you do is a source of agitation, stop it. Agitation should become your object of meditation. If you continue to apply the technique, you ignore the problem of agitation that appear. You should notice it.
Also, you can sometimes observe directly mind. When you have problems of much questionning or wondering, observe mind a little time.
When you practice meditation, release, release, release, this is meditation.
What should be your goal is not to observe correctly or apply the technique or something you are doing, but only to be aware of the body at a depth you feel this is relaxing you more and more.
Become a mountain of tranquillity.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: November 11, 2016, 01:11:21 PM by Laurent »

Ja192827

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2016, 01:11:07 PM »
That was very helpful, thank you for describing the importance of seeing the big picture. The reason why I feel like I feel compelled to go as slowly as I can is that it seems if I go too fast, I will miss out on the "pleasant sensations" that Goenka describes. It seems that is a big part of meditation the Goenka way, feeling pleasant sensations and practicing not being attached to them. If I scan quickly, will I not experience these sensations, or do they virtually always come with time?

Laurent

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2016, 02:03:31 PM »
That was very helpful, thank you for describing the importance of seeing the big picture. The reason why I feel like I feel compelled to go as slowly as I can is that it seems if I go too fast, I will miss out on the "pleasant sensations" that Goenka describes. It seems that is a big part of meditation the Goenka way, feeling pleasant sensations and practicing not being attached to them. If I scan quickly, will I not experience these sensations, or do they virtually always come with time?

You can broaden your experience in meditation and feel things much larger, see much larger. Meditation is cool, very cool. No tensions.
It is not important to be very focused in details to find pleasant sensations. Depth in meditation does not come with force but with releasing, relaxing. And when your mind turns in this approach, you won't be worried anyway when things don't happen as you wish. Don't seeing details? Not focused? What else, we release pressure, tranquille, patient, happy. You know those are the skills we want to develop, so when will they develop if we don't practice them?
Then, it will happen. This is a paradox. The problem is to be seeking for something while happiness is just the opposite. We need time to understand this by experience.

Be cool  :)

Ja192827

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2016, 02:13:51 PM »
I find myself tensing up, trying desperately to focus on one inch at a time on areas that I dont feel any sensations, in hopes that they will arise st some point. I will take your advixe and will try to be cool and relax, and will try to feel the same way off the cushion and on.

Laurent

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2016, 02:27:18 PM »
and will try to feel the same way off the cushion

Absolutely  :)

I know that advices are rarely efficient because it depends on so much factors!
It is sure that only your own experience can lead you to the right attitude.
But i can ensure you one thing:
Meditation is a balance between pleasant things and unpleasant things.
It is difficult to meditate when balance tilts to unpleasant things and it becomes easy when balance tilts to pleasant things.
The first step is to make balance tilts to the right side.
This, we can do all along the day.

Much Metta.

playground

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 02:40:07 PM »

If you continue to stare at a spot on the wall .. say a fly or a spider.
If you continue to stare at it, without looking away... the spot/fly/spider will appear to vanish.
It just fades away...  until you 'refresh' your vision by looking away, looking at something else.
And then, naturally, it reappears.

The same works for me when i focus my attention on areas of my body that aren't moving.
(Of-course, your breath is always moving, which i guess is why it's a good target for meditation).

But if you're doing a body scan, say, of your hands...
bare in mind... after 30 to 60 seconds.. your hands will vanish.
All the focused concentration in the world wont bring them back again
... unless you move your hands.
On that basis i would suggest that you switch body parts ever 30 seconds.

:)

Ja192827

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2016, 11:28:21 AM »
and will try to feel the same way off the cushion

Absolutely  :)

I know that advices are rarely efficient because it depends on so much factors!
It is sure that only your own experience can lead you to the right attitude.
But i can ensure you one thing:
Meditation is a balance between pleasant things and unpleasant things.
It is difficult to meditate when balance tilts to unpleasant things and it becomes easy when balance tilts to pleasant things.
The first step is to make balance tilts to the right side.
This, we can do all along the day.

Much Metta.

Thanks, yes, the harder life is, the harder it is to meditate.

Ja192827

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 11:29:32 AM »

If you continue to stare at a spot on the wall .. say a fly or a spider.
If you continue to stare at it, without looking away... the spot/fly/spider will appear to vanish.
It just fades away...  until you 'refresh' your vision by looking away, looking at something else.
And then, naturally, it reappears.

The same works for me when i focus my attention on areas of my body that aren't moving.
(Of-course, your breath is always moving, which i guess is why it's a good target for meditation).

But if you're doing a body scan, say, of your hands...
bare in mind... after 30 to 60 seconds.. your hands will vanish.
All the focused concentration in the world wont bring them back again
... unless you move your hands.
On that basis i would suggest that you switch body parts ever 30 seconds.

:)

Cant say that I have ever experienced the visual phenomenom you described, but I have experienced the physical part. Thank you.

playground

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2016, 02:05:49 PM »

If you continue to stare at a spot on the wall .. say a fly or a spider.
If you continue to stare at it, without looking away... the spot/fly/spider will appear to vanish.
It just fades away...  until you 'refresh' your vision by looking away, looking at something else.
And then, naturally, it reappears.

The same works for me when i focus my attention on areas of my body that aren't moving.
(Of-course, your breath is always moving, which i guess is why it's a good target for meditation).

But if you're doing a body scan, say, of your hands...
bare in mind... after 30 to 60 seconds.. your hands will vanish.
All the focused concentration in the world wont bring them back again
... unless you move your hands.
On that basis i would suggest that you switch body parts ever 30 seconds.

:)

Cant say that I have ever experienced the visual phenomenom you described, but I have experienced the physical part. Thank you.

You're welcome.

Actually i tried timing how long it takes before my perception of my hands begins
to fade and distort.  (my hands were clasped together)

It's  not 30 to 60 seconds, (as i suggested above) it's more like several minutes...
..2 minutes to 6 minutes... so i guess  quite variable.


Stefan

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2016, 06:06:10 AM »
I find myself tensing up, trying desperately to focus on one inch at a time on areas that I dont feel any sensations, in hopes that they will arise st some point. ...

The most counterproductive approach to meditation is doing it by force.
If you don't feel a sensation, then simply move on.
Focus on equanimity rather than trying to force sensations to arise.

 :)
anicca

Ja192827

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2016, 05:10:59 PM »
Will do, thank you.

Jsker

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2016, 01:14:41 AM »
Hi,

Apart from Laurents advice (which says it all really) it's worth noting that Goenka recommends 'mixing it up', that is changing your method of scanning to reflect how you are at any given time, and to ensure that you don't become bored or mechanical.

I've certainly experienced what your talking about, and found an approach in line with what Laurent outlined to be very helpful.

Goodluck
Peace out

Ja192827

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2016, 11:25:49 AM »
I dont remember a whole lot about what Goenka recommended in terms of changing it up. I imagine he was probably referring to the order amd length of scans? If one is in a serene mood, for example, one would scan from head to toe over the course of ten minutes, and if one was in an anxious mood, maybe going from toes to head in a few seconds?

Shiv Auirora

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2016, 12:45:44 PM »
Firstly, I wouldn't put a timer on a body scan as you have understand your body and sometimes it takes more time than usual. If you mean an average time then it's from 3 - 10 minutes for me. All guided mediation apps have body scan meditation for maximum about 5 minutes as far as I've seen. Headspace had for 5 minutes and Aura changed their body scan duration according to progress. You must try Aura mate. https://itunes.apple.com/app/apple-store/id1114223104?pt=117968031&ct=quora1&mt=8
 


Started from 3 and now it's 7 minutes. But I personally do body scans at my own pace.

Ja192827

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2016, 01:59:00 PM »
I dont have an iphone, but I will look for guided body scan meditations on my android.  Guided body scans would be great for my situation, thanks.

Goofaholix

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2016, 11:48:28 PM »
You should do whatever feels natural at the time, bearing in mind that you need to avoid getting into lazy habits.  Sometimes the mind is well tuned in to subtle sensations, others just gross, sometimes it needs to forced to do it step by step, other times it's just naturally aware.

Becoming aware of one's mind states as they change from moment to moment is an important aspect of practice.

TheJourney

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2016, 02:46:18 AM »
My suggestion is that you try body scan for 2 months, and after that you still dont like it then try another vipassana.

Body scan is not the only game in town and is not the most effective one either.

Vipassana was invented in the 1800s when monks re-read satipatthana and experimented method that can produce the result based on the sutta. Goenka does not have the evidence to say that Buddha practiced body scan meditation.
I have not found any Buddha text that says sensation is the release of sankhara. I am open minded if anyone can find Buddha text that supports Goenka's two assertions.

There are many ways to practice vipassana. Daily living and denying your strongest craving can give you immediate sensations to watch. Mental noting allows you to watch your thoughts. Knowing how feeling is manifested in sensation you quickly recognize mind states as well, such as anger, happiness, and etc. Mental noting allows you to see if gour mind state is mindful, delusional, concentrated, scattered, and etc.

These are all the things you can observe 16 hours a day instead of just 2 hours on cushion. The more often you observe the faster your progress. 

Ja192827

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Re: How long do you spend on a body scan before repeating?
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2016, 06:06:24 PM »
Thanks for your input. I have an app call mindbell which has been going off every 5 minutes to remind me to be mindful.

 

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