Author Topic: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.  (Read 218 times)

Peter93

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Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« on: November 05, 2017, 01:07:23 PM »
Hello fellow members,

I have been taught to focus on the sensation of air around the nostrils during meditation. I believe this is also called vipassana or mindfulness of the breath although I'm not sure. A question that has been lingering in my mind for a while now is: "What do I focus on when I'm not breathing?" . I feel the sensation of air around my nostrils during inhaling and exhaling of air. But what should I do when I have exhaled and there is no need to inhale new air yet? I hope some of you have some interesting insights to this.

Kind regards,

Peter93

Laurent

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 01:23:59 PM »
Hello,

You could simply notice that there is a timeout and observe what you feel there at this moment, i guess.
 

BeHereNow

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2017, 07:55:32 PM »
Noticing the space between breaths is quite powerful, a moment of emptiness.
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

Peter93

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 09:47:55 PM »
I find it hard. Everything seems to be going well when I focus on the air around my nostrils but when I'm not breathing there is no air. And it's often during the space inbetween breaths that my mind wanders.

Middleway

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 02:06:32 AM »
I find it hard. Everything seems to be going well when I focus on the air around my nostrils but when I'm not breathing there is no air. And it's often during the space inbetween breaths that my mind wanders.

When I observe breathing of the body, I also observe how my breathing calms the body. I make this tranquility and it's progression or lack there of my object of meditation. I suggest you try it and it might solve your problem.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Peter93

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 03:15:44 PM »
Okay I will just keep doing what I was doing then. I just thought that maybe there is a way to keep focus on one thing. Thanks for all the replies, this topic can be closed as far as I'm concerned.

Matthew

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 06:36:29 PM »
Peter93 you are doing "nose meditation" not mindfulness meditation. Try reading the "Calm-Abiding" article on the homepage and breathe with full body awareness and, as Middleway says, calm your body.
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Alex

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 03:59:01 PM »

Hey Peter

If you’re still open to some reflections…

First question that seems important for you is “which meditation am I practicing?” or “what am I cultivating?”.

I just thought that maybe there is a way to keep focus on one thing.

Developing ‘focus on one thing’ is possible. This is cultivated in concentration meditation. In such a practice mindfulness with breathing at the nostrils is fairly common I think.

Personally, I would not recommend this (nostrils as object or concentration as starting point) to a beginning meditator, but I invite you to wiggle your own way through meditation land. ;)

Regardless of practicing vipassana or concentration: A wandering mind is not a problem. It is simply ‘nature’. It's not your fault. It's not something to correct. At best it's something to practice, if that's what you want.

Concentration is also developed while practicing calm abiding (instructions on homepage as suggested by others) and vipassana, but how much concentration is needed, that’s another interesting question. Lately I tend to feel that ‘less is more’, i.e. I choose to develop relaxed awareness of what actually happens (mind wandering, mind not wandering) instead of trying to achieve deeper concentration. I think there is great value in practicing concentration, but usually there is some level of craving towards the pleasant states associated with concentration. I think it is fruitful to practice this in a longer retreat context, with proper guidance, and with a strong base of vipassana (especially knowing how to deal with the hindrances).

"What do I focus on when I'm not breathing?"

You simply stay with your chosen object, in your case the nostrils. Sensations at the nostrils are more subtle during pauses, but still there. If you don’t feel much, simply keep guiding attention towards same place. Attention will refine with practice. When practicing concentration, you will notice ever more subtle sensations until it becomes a more mental/stable knowing of the breath at the nostrils.

As you’ve noticed, pauses are a great moment for the mind to wander, as there are less sensations. If you want to enhance concentration, you might use the image of the gatekeeper, standing at the city gates (nostrils) and watching visitors coming in and out (breath). Gatekeeper doesn't follow visitors in or out, but stays on duty, even when no visitors are entering or leaving. Setting your intention with this image in mind might help...

Kindly
Alex

Peter93

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2017, 02:30:13 PM »
Quote

You simply stay with your chosen object, in your case the nostrils. Sensations at the nostrils are more subtle during pauses, but still there. If you don’t feel much, simply keep guiding attention towards same place. Attention will refine with practice. When practicing concentration, you will notice ever more subtle sensations until it becomes a more mental/stable knowing of the breath at the nostrils.


I will give this a try, as this comes closest to what I have been trying to do. As for the calm abiding article, it seems that it's a different kind of meditation, and what I'm doing now seems to work so I wanted to stick with that for now. It's hard for me because there seem to be so many different forms that its hard to keep track of what kind of meditation achieves what and also how to practise each form of meditation. But the one I described is what I'm comfortable with right now. So yes, I was wondering if there are any books someone would recommend to a beginner like me? And also what the meditation is called which I'm practising? I saw the phrase mindfulness of the nose but when I google that I don't find similar phrases.

Matthew

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Re: Question related to mindfulness of the breath.
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 07:12:52 PM »
"Nose Meditation" or "Mindfulness of the nose" is forcing silence on the mind by placing all attention on the nose. It works yet the results are not the deepest.

You make a wise choice in sticking with the meditation you are doing though. All meditation is good meditation. Maybe try Shamatha another time, in a few months. See the difference between forms. It's worth making Metta meditation also, developing a compassionate mind.

The form you are doing is called 'Anapana' in some traditions. Anapana exists in all yet means different things to different traditions. It means 'mindfulness with breathing' or 'of breathing', though I consider the former more accurate. You are practicing a concentration focussed stage of the relatively modern (Burma 19th Century?) "Vipassana" traditions. The next stage is to use the concentration developed to scan the body for sensations in a progressive manner. This is said to develop Vipassana - or insight/'remembering'.

Any form of meditation is trying to develop one or more fruits of practice - it's not the doing it's how it changes your 'being' that is the measure of progress.

Hope that helps,

Matthew
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 07:14:26 PM by Matthew »
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