Author Topic: Body Scans  (Read 6402 times)

Jimmy Coconuts

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Body Scans
« on: November 07, 2007, 04:36:15 PM »
I've done, maybe, three body scans in the two years I've been practicing.  My local center focuses more on mindfulness of breathing.  I've read that body scans figure prominently in the Goenka tradition.

Do you folks have any experiences or thoughts you'd like to share about body scans?

-Coconuts

mettajoey

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2007, 07:31:47 PM »
Body scans are the bread and butter of Vipassana, especially in the Goenka tradition.  The experiences are why they like to teach in a ten-day course.  Everyone has some unique experiences and some are similar but they like you to have those without any expectations.  The expectation drives desire and diminishes the experience.  That's why you find most Goenka "followers" mum about describing what happens.
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

Matthew

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2007, 08:40:32 PM »
"With the awareness with which the Awakened one lifts his foot".

Mindfulness begins in the body. It is not just the mind that perceives. The brain is an organ of certain functions including some of mind but mind pervades the body. Where we feel there is mind. Where we find the organs of perception there is mind. "Know thyself, look within" refers to the body to establish one pointedness as well as mind.

Body scans and yoga are all good.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Paul

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2007, 09:14:24 PM »
In the Goenka courses do you practice choiceless awareness too or do you just concentrate on the body scans (after the mindfulness of breathing)?

Coconuts, I've practiced body scans for about 4 months but have never had any immediate effects (meaning that samatha is there, but apart from that and spacing out from time to time nothing else happens), although somehow they do seem to point strongly to impermanance, if that makes sense.  I guess maybe I'd have more to say if I'd been on a Goenka course.

Jimmy Coconuts

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2007, 09:29:41 PM »

Mindfulness begins in the body.


As I practice now, I establish a general awareness of the body as a whole.  Once I have some momentum in that direction I will focuses more closely on the breath in the body.  If my concentration is broken I will be begin by dropping back into the body and then go back to the breath.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Body Scans
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2007, 11:02:28 PM »
As I practice now, I establish a general awareness of the body as a whole.  Once I have some momentum in that direction I will focuses more closely on the breath in the body.  If my concentration is broken I will be begin by dropping back into the body and then go back to the breath.

Good practice.

:)
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

mettajoey

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2007, 11:55:48 PM »
In the Goenka courses do you practice choiceless awareness too or do you just concentrate on the body scans (after the mindfulness of breathing)?

I'm not sure how you mean choiceless but you approach the practice with equanimity and don't favor pleasant sensations over unpleasant.  Another piece is to keep the scan moving in a more or less set pattern so you'll not just notice big sensations but all sensations.  If one just focuses on the large or gross sensations than the more subtle are left out and one's sensitivity does not develop to the same extent.  It is good practice at times to try and notice the more subtle sensations around the gross.  All this may be similar to your choiceless, I just haven't heard that term used. 
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

mettajoey

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2007, 12:01:38 AM »
As I practice now, I establish a general awareness of the body as a whole.  Once I have some momentum in that direction I will focuses more closely on the breath in the body.  If my concentration is broken I will be begin by dropping back into the body and then go back to the breath.

Good practice.

:)

Whatever works, the technique is recommended in the inverse as well.  If you find you have blank spots in your scan or awareness you can go back to that focus point on your breath and with a calm mind and equanimity, increase the awareness or sensation in the body.
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

Paul

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2007, 09:04:13 AM »
Hi Joey, what I meant by choiceless is you get to a state of calm by mindfulness of breathing, then you just focus on whatever comes, good or bad, just be aware of it and stay with it until it recedes.  There is no structure whatsoever, no method like body scans, etc.

Jimmy Coconuts

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 05:09:25 PM »
As I practice now, I establish a general awareness of the body as a whole.  Once I have some momentum in that direction I will focuses more closely on the breath in the body.  If my concentration is broken I will be begin by dropping back into the body and then go back to the breath.

Good practice.

:)

Whatever works, the technique is recommended in the inverse as well.  If you find you have blank spots in your scan or awareness you can go back to that focus point on your breath and with a calm mind and equanimity, increase the awareness or sensation in the body.

Pardon my redundancy but you are basically saying that one can start with mindfulness of breathing and expand the field of awareness to include all bodily sensations.  Right?

mettajoey

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 07:48:32 PM »

Pardon my redundancy but you are basically saying that one can start with mindfulness of breathing and expand the field of awareness to include all bodily sensations.  Right?

Yes, in the Goenka style one starts with the breath sensation and focus and then moves that focus to the body and scanning.  If one feels that they have lost the focus they recommend returning to the breath and often that will re-establish the connection to the body.  Their style is to keep the awareness moving through the body in a pattern and not necessarily the body as a whole so that smaller or more subtle sensations won't be ignored or missed.
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

Paul

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Re: Body Scans
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 08:50:16 AM »
In the Anapanasati Sutta the order of the contemplations is breath then the body, in that order.  I guess what's really important is what works best for you, maybe you could try the breath than the body and going back to the breath to refocus your concentration if needed to see if you find it useful?