Author Topic: Chasing sensation  (Read 310 times)

Velvet Donkey

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Breath
Chasing sensation
« on: February 14, 2020, 03:48:33 PM »
I am new to the forum, but already have found a lot of great advice. Although I've been meditating for about a 18 months now (30 mins per day), I still consider myself a self-taught hack.

Apologies, but I can see that my question is partly covered at length throughout the forum. I focus on the breath, and that is about as technical as my understanding goes. Despite this I can see a profound change in myself over this period, as can those around me.  The first few months of my practice was very encouraging as I seemed to quite easily reach a stage where I seemed to fall away, achieve a stillness, strange body sensations, distortion of scale and position, and a general relaxed state of mind. I used those as markers of success and progress, despite everything I read not to do this, but just to observe.

It's hard though. For about four months now I seem to just sit every day in a very neutral state of ...well nothing. Occasionally towards the end of the thirty minutes I maybe get 10 to 15 seconds of vague pleasantness that feels very precarious rather than deep. I don't seem to be troubled with losing concentration on the breath. I'm happy to keep going and accept the advice not to expect anything, although this seems at odds with what I read about switching to different frequency of brainwaves.

Is there a physiological definition of meditation?

dharma bum

  • Moderator
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: Chasing sensation
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 07:02:00 PM »
This is a great book. It is not exactly about the physiological basis of meditation - it's more of a conversation between a monk with an educational background in science and an expert neuro-scientist.

https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Self-Conversations-Buddhism-Neuroscience/dp/0262536145/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=mathieu+ricard&qid=1581706469&sr=8-4

IMO the human body and mind are too complex for a single easy definition of meditation.
Mostly ignorant

raushan

  • Staff
  • from India
    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: Chasing sensation
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2020, 10:25:06 PM »
I feel meditation is in depth investigation of the mind and body. As the awareness increases many layers of mind begin to unfold. Layer of emotions, thoughts, desires part by part everything. You should be able to disintegrate everything.

You can also add this book in the list: Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm apart from what Dharma bum suggested.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 01:32:21 AM by raushan »

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Re: Chasing sensation
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2020, 11:48:12 AM »
I am new to the forum, but already have found a lot of great advice. Although I've been meditating for about a 18 months now (30 mins per day), I still consider myself a self-taught hack.

It's hard though. For about four months now I seem to just sit every day in a very neutral state of ...well nothing. Occasionally towards the end of the thirty minutes I maybe get 10 to 15 seconds of vague pleasantness that feels very precarious rather than deep. I don't seem to be troubled with losing concentration on the breath. I'm happy to keep going and accept the advice not to expect anything, although this seems at odds with what I read about switching to different frequency of brainwaves.

Is there a physiological definition of meditation?


My own meditation history is similar. I tried it just to see what happened, and was the most surprised person to eventually end up a Buddhist. My thinking is that meditation allows the brain to fall into a natural physiological resting state which was a natural part of our evolution. Modern society, with all its distractions, rarely allows us back into that state, so much so that it can take years of practice to do so. When we do we start becoming the individual we lost by cultural conditioning as we grew up, seeing the world as the individual we now are.



« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 02:40:18 PM by raushan »
“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

Velvet Donkey

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Breath
Re: Chasing sensation
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 07:46:37 PM »
Hello all, and thanks for the replies. I got a kindle version of 'Beyond Self' and managed to find an audiobook copy of 'Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond', so thanks for the recommendations.

I guess I sit with what appears to be nothing at all, and have faith that it is all part of progressing. Overthinking technique may be part of it. I feel as if I strain to let go at times!

curiousperson

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Multiple, mainly Vipassana
Re: Chasing sensation
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2020, 03:19:22 AM »
Have you tried to focus with great detail on the sensations of the breath? For example, you could try to identify the beginning and end of each inhale, exhale, and pause. You can also try to identify as many different sensations inside the nose as possible, like the changing shape of the nostrils with in and out breaths (similar to ribs and abdomen going in and out); cool temperature in; warmer temperature out; movement of air going in and down; movement of air going out and up; tingling (like a mild sneeze sensation) that stays present even during pauses and gets stronger or weaker with airflow. I have been practicing with The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa and have found it to provide the details needed to progress in my practice that would be difficult for me to discover on my own. This technique corresponds to Stage 3 in that book and is aimed at maintaining exclusive attention to the breath. Culadasa defines meditation as a practice to strengthen both attention and awareness and improve their ability to work with each other, resulting in unification of parts of the mind that were previously at odds.

Velvet Donkey

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Breath
Re: Chasing sensation
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2020, 01:09:34 PM »
Thanks cp, yes it's possible that my attention may be superficial. I find sometimes by putting more 'effort' into the breath focus that the start, pause and end of a breath is very hard to identify, and often overlaps. Also sensations are very subtle. Perseverance is my only friend at the moment!

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
12 Replies
14406 Views
Last post December 03, 2007, 09:47:28 PM
by Stefan
2 Replies
2025 Views
Last post January 26, 2008, 07:12:30 PM
by pamojjam
6 Replies
4564 Views
Last post June 01, 2016, 12:12:40 AM
by Matthew
13 Replies
4942 Views
Last post March 26, 2014, 10:14:36 PM
by Matthew
4 Replies
1578 Views
Last post January 17, 2014, 07:33:34 AM
by 7homas
3 Replies
963 Views
Last post September 21, 2016, 07:25:13 PM
by Dharmic Tui