Author Topic: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations  (Read 6292 times)

adcmac

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I have wondered whether things like physical pain (For example in the back while meditating) counts as a sensation. Or another example, if you meditate outside, whether the wind causing one part of the body to feel cold. Are these all regarded as sensations or are they more subtle than this?

Also when I am meditating sometimes a sensation may stay for a while, but then I feel another one, do I continue with the initial sensation or jump to focus on the new one I am feeling?

One more thing I wasn´t sure about. I find that my focus on sensations naturally calms my body. When I deliberately try to calm my body it seems to ruin my focus somewhat so I didn´t quite understand the instructions regarding that.

I really like the meditation, it just seems to be perhaps my mind is making it more complicated than it needs to be, maybe somebody here has some answers.

Thanks a million

Goofaholix

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2017, 08:59:21 PM »
I have wondered whether things like physical pain (For example in the back while meditating) counts as a sensation. Or another example, if you meditate outside, whether the wind causing one part of the body to feel cold. Are these all regarded as sensations or are they more subtle than this?

Also when I am meditating sometimes a sensation may stay for a while, but then I feel another one, do I continue with the initial sensation or jump to focus on the new one I am feeling?

One more thing I wasn´t sure about. I find that my focus on sensations naturally calms my body. When I deliberately try to calm my body it seems to ruin my focus somewhat so I didn´t quite understand the instructions regarding that.

I really like the meditation, it just seems to be perhaps my mind is making it more complicated than it needs to be, maybe somebody here has some answers.

Thanks a million

I assume you are practicing Goenka technique.

A sensation is anything that you feel in or with the body, so yes pain is a sensation, the touch of wind is a sensation, cold is a sensation.

There is no need to choose one sensation over another, if you are observing a particular area of the body and a new sensation arises the observe both the new one as well as any others you were experiencing.

I don't know what you mean by calm the body, could you describe it in more detail, if anything giving attention to sensation should unlock more awareness of sensation so the body should feel more active and less calm.

behappy123

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2017, 03:29:47 PM »
I try and pick an area and focus on the smallest and smallest sensations in that area for the entire meditation.  Eventually new sensations pop up and I focus on the new ones...in a way it's a dog chasing a car, but the dog is really really focused for that hour  ;)

Example: first I started with trying to feel my breathing directly under my nose (Goenka technique).  Once I started feeling that more consistently, other areas of my body started popping up with sensations.  My face, was lit up with a multitude of sensations.  I "scanned" the areas that were blocky and skipped over them because they were too large.  There is a spot directly in the middle of my forehead that I can feel constantly pulsing so now I just focus there as much as I can in all activities that I do.  After about a month of that, trying to get to smaller and smaller places, I started feeling the same type of throbbing/pulsing in the middle of my chest.  The feeling is the same as I when I'm anxious or tight in the chest but the symptoms are clearly not the same.  Now I focus on just that area as much as possible.

This technique has helped me meditate while I walk, read, interact with other people, work out, basically everything.

The downside right now is that my dreams are far more vivid and intense.  Part of it is fun, the downside is my sleep has gotten a bit worse.  I figure this is temporary until I figure out a way to meditate through sleep  :angel:

Goofaholix

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2017, 09:14:47 PM »
It sounds like you are trying to improve your concentration rather than practice vipassana, which is fine if that's what you are intending to do.

With vipassana you move your attention around the body just being aware of whatever you notice, you don't focus on a particular sensation and you don't choose certain sensations over others.

TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2017, 02:21:35 AM »
If you want to practice vipassana similar to Mahasi style, you should read The Mind Illuminated or The Path to Enlightenment II. The former cost money but very detailed instructions for beginners. The latter is free pdf on internet.

Concentration is focusing on air at the nostril.

Vipassana is having peripheral awareness including hearing, knowing bodily sensations, and etc.

Your practice should balance concentration and vipassana.

adcmac

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2017, 12:57:01 PM »
I have wondered whether things like physical pain (For example in the back while meditating) counts as a sensation. Or another example, if you meditate outside, whether the wind causing one part of the body to feel cold. Are these all regarded as sensations or are they more subtle than this?

Also when I am meditating sometimes a sensation may stay for a while, but then I feel another one, do I continue with the initial sensation or jump to focus on the new one I am feeling?

One more thing I wasn´t sure about. I find that my focus on sensations naturally calms my body. When I deliberately try to calm my body it seems to ruin my focus somewhat so I didn´t quite understand the instructions regarding that.

I really like the meditation, it just seems to be perhaps my mind is making it more complicated than it needs to be, maybe somebody here has some answers.

Thanks a million

I assume you are practicing Goenka technique.

A sensation is anything that you feel in or with the body, so yes pain is a sensation, the touch of wind is a sensation, cold is a sensation.

There is no need to choose one sensation over another, if you are observing a particular area of the body and a new sensation arises the observe both the new one as well as any others you were experiencing.

I don't know what you mean by calm the body, could you describe it in more detail, if anything giving attention to sensation should unlock more awareness of sensation so the body should feel more active and less calm.

No, I meant the technique that was described on this website. I tried the Goenka technique but didn´t enjoy it or progress with it.

The technique i read on this forum talked about calming the body

adcmac

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2017, 12:58:03 PM »
It sounds like you are trying to improve your concentration rather than practice vipassana, which is fine if that's what you are intending to do.

With vipassana you move your attention around the body just being aware of whatever you notice, you don't focus on a particular sensation and you don't choose certain sensations over others.

Should i started by improving concentration or just do vipassana?

TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2017, 02:36:34 PM »
3  teachers who spent their whole life in meditation have taught the following. You can YouTube to get more details. Culadasa, Thanissoro, Pamojjo. Even in Mahasi tradition, after you gets past the mental noting phase the practice is o essentially the same as the technique taught by the 3 teachers. With Goenka, you have to devote almost a decade of your life, assuming you are a full time professional, in annual retreats in body scan and then do a 30 days retreat to finally learn essentially the same technique. How many people with full time job can take 23 days off without being contacted by somebody at work to talk about work.

The good news is that you can learn it online or go to their respective retreats now.

Maintain attention on the breath (for concentration) while having awareness of the breathe and what is around or within you (for vipassana). Awareness should be natural. Just know what is present for the knowing. Doesn't matter how many sense objects you are knowing - sound, whispering thought in the background, sensation, and etc. If you just happen to know one. That is fine. Next moment you know 3. That is fine. As long as the knowing consciousness is there, you can mindfully choose to breath while knowing other distractions are floating around your awareness.

Usually, once my mind is settled, I begin breathing with sensitivity to the whole body. My hands are in mudra position. Back of right hand is on top of left palm with two thumbs touching. When my mind is relaxed, I can feel motion inside of my hands. The minute my mind is not relaxed the motion in the hand stops.  This last paragraph is just something I do and experience.

TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2017, 03:00:38 PM »
Narrow flash light beam is a good metaphor for concentration.

Flood light is metaphor for awareness.

You want to develop balanced attention and awareness.

Strengthening your awareness is like setting your flood light of your flashlight to maximum. If you don't have power, then what you see in the flood light is dim making it useless. Concentration helps brightening the flood light.

If you have strong beam but it is narrow, then you cannot see as much. If you have more awareness, then you can see more under brighter light.

This is why you strengthen attention and awareness in a balanced way. This meditation approach helps you concentrate to become a stable observer and increase your awareness so that you can see how body and mind run on their own without a self agent. There is no self agent. Awareness helps you see that.

When you just focus on breathe, distractions come at you blindsided. You are overcome by the distraction and get lost in the thoughts.

When there is awareness, you are aware of distracting thought in the background. The knowing mind can choose to let the attention be on the breathe. It is okay for distracting thought to coexist with your mindful breathing as long as your attention is on the breathe. Eventually, that distracting thought will wane.

adcmac

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2017, 02:10:41 PM »
Thank you, i looked Pamojjo up on youtube and found this video which seemed very helpful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PNqtlOkKKY

This is essentially the same teaching as on this website?

I think my problem is i am overcomplicating something that is in truth far simpler. I will try some of the suggestions you made

adcmac

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2017, 11:09:42 AM »
If you want to practice vipassana similar to Mahasi style, you should read The Mind Illuminated or The Path to Enlightenment II. The former cost money but very detailed instructions for beginners. The latter is free pdf on internet.

Concentration is focusing on air at the nostril.

Vipassana is having peripheral awareness including hearing, knowing bodily sensations, and etc.

Your practice should balance concentration and vipassana.

I bought both of these books, thanks again for the references

TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2017, 04:14:47 AM »
Basically, Dr Punnaji, Pamojjo, Culadasa have similar approach towards enlightenment.

Dr Punnaji follows anapanasati Sutta, relaxed mindful awareness of breathing leading to jhana and daily practice of watching feeling and emotion to bring unconscious emotional reaction to consciousness.

Pamojjo feels full time awareness with breathe as home base is sufficient.

Culadasa still teach attention combined with awareness in breathing.

Science says awareness meditation kicks the mind into gamma wave which is conducive to insight or vipassana.

Science says concentration meditation leads to hypnosis.

Samadhi is stillness of mind, not concentration. Relaxed mindful breathing leads to samadhi.

Stillness yields to concentrated mind, but concentration meditation does not yield to concentrated mind, instead a hypnotized mind.

adcmac

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2017, 12:36:03 PM »
OK, thats interesting...have you practised with the Culadasa book or know anyone who has?

Same with pamojjo

adcmac

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2017, 12:40:19 PM »
OK, thats interesting...have you practised with the Culadasa book or know anyone who has?

Same with pamojjo

I feel like i can trust Culadasa because he reminds me of Yoda from Star Wars

TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2017, 01:56:14 AM »
You can download Insight Timer for your smartphone or Tablet, and join The Mind Illuminated group.

There are 43 people in that group, and 374 people in the discussion group. You can ask them questions.

TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2017, 02:09:46 AM »
I have been practicing mindfulness as suggested by Pamojjo, and anapanasati per instruction in the sutta.


TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2017, 03:36:12 AM »
From Anapanasati Sutta:

“Bhikkhus, when mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it is of great fruit and great benefit. When mindfulness of breathing is developed and cultivated, it fulfils the four foundations of mindfulness. When the four foundations of mindfulness are developed and cultivated, they fulfil the seven enlightenment factors. When the seven enlightenment factors are developed and cultivated, they fulfil true knowledge and deliverance.

“And how, bhikkhus, is mindfulness of breathing developed and cultivated, so that it is of great fruit and great benefit?

“Here a bhikkhu, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or to an empty hut, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, and established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

Notice Buddha only said to be mindful of breathe. He did not say focus on nostril or abdomen.Emphasis is on relaxing.

“Breathing in long, he understands: ‘I breathe in long’; or breathing out long, he understands: ‘I breathe out long.’ Breathing in short, he understands: ‘I breathe in short’; or breathing out short, he understands: ‘I breathe out short.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in experiencing the whole body of breath’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out experiencing the whole body of breath.’ He trains thus: ‘I shall breathe in tranquillising the bodily formation’; he trains thus: ‘I shall breathe out tranquillising the bodily formation.’

stillpointdancer

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2017, 09:48:05 AM »
But doesn't the Buddha go on to say 'I will breathe in...&... out sensitive to the entire body'? I guess the entire body can take in the parts as well.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2017, 07:41:20 PM »
Yes, it is sensitive to the whole body. That is what I practice.

Some scholars interpret the body as the body of breathe. I think it is the whole physical body because it relaxes me.

TheJourney

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2017, 10:18:35 PM »
Stillpointdancer,

If you go to https://suttacentral.net/en/mn118 you will see that somebody put in "of breathe" right after b the word body.  So, when I cut and paste, the effect does not show that.

I have seen few PDFS that like too point out that the body means body of breath.

Dr Punnaji sees it as the physical body. I concur with Dr Punnaji by my own experience.

If you know the breathe as short or long, then you are already mindful of the body of breathe.

If you breath with sensitivity to the body, then you can really feel the relaxation of the breathe and body leading to tranquil mind.

stillpointdancer

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Re: A Few Questions Regarding Sensations and How Long to Focus on Sensations
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2017, 11:04:21 AM »
Stillpointdancer,

If you go to https://suttacentral.net/en/mn118 you will see that somebody put in "of breathe" right after b the word body.  So, when I cut and paste, the effect does not show that.

I have seen few PDFS that like too point out that the body means body of breath.

Dr Punnaji sees it as the physical body. I concur with Dr Punnaji by my own experience.

If you know the breathe as short or long, then you are already mindful of the body of breathe.

If you breath with sensitivity to the body, then you can really feel the relaxation of the breathe and body leading to tranquil mind.
Ok. I understand your point better now.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

 

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