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TMI question (Struggling immensely)

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TMI question (Struggling immensely)
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2/22/19 12:51 AM
Hello guys:

I have been meditating, following instructions from TMI for about 4 months. I was wondering if you guys can help me out on this! 
It seems like I do most of the appreciating the aha moment in the 4 stages of awareness of sensation ( from taking all sensation into limiting to breath by 4 stages). How long should I stay in this 4 stage? It seems like half of my practice week (3/4 days out of week) is mostly doing just that. If I do get past it i seem to never forget and basically go into stage 4/5 area where attention on breath is constant and forgetting/connecting technique happen very naturally. Often times though, I appear to get stuck on the mind wandering appreciating stage for full 1 hour 20 mins of meditation session. Should I just do little bit of 4 stages to get grounded and go for stage 2 of following/connecting breath? 
Any advice?

RE: TMI question (Struggling immensely)
Answer
2/22/19 9:28 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
While there are a few people who practice TMI here, you may be likely to get more advice from the TMI subreddit.

RE: TMI question (Struggling immensely)
Answer
2/22/19 11:21 AM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Hi Roger,
Are you saying you spend 1 h 20 min going through the 4-step transition?
If so then, while that is a useful practice at times - one that I've done myself - that's not the practice.
Speed up your transitions, just spend a few minutes at each step.
By now you probably have a better feeling for each step than most.
Just use the transition to get to the breath.
Now after 4 months I'd suggest that you are no longer stage 2.
So maybe spend a few days doing those practices, but if you never fully lose the breath then you are most definately stage 3 or even 4.
Try what I said and come back to us with what happens, ie do you lose the breath or just it just go to awareness?
And yes come over to the subreddit or newly minted discord channel.
Cheers
James

RE: TMI question (Struggling immensely)
Answer
2/23/19 2:48 PM as a reply to Roger Kim.
Hi Roger, not sure if I understand you correctly ... but it sounds a little as if you are combinging the basic setup at the start of the sit with later techniques.

If I read you right ...  the four stages are just preparatory to help you focus in.  So focussing on world, body, breath formations, breath at the tip of the nose, should just take a few minutes - maybe as little as one breath each.  Then count the breaths up to eight.  After that, just keep the focus on breath at the nose.  Then if you have dullness or mind wandering just notice this and return attention to the breath at  the nose.  Keep doing it.  And keep on doing it!  At the end of the sit, count your breaths backwards from eight and go through the four stage process in reverse, then you can rise from the cuhsion.  Maintain your concentration for a little longer if you can, as you go about your daily life.   

The techniques for following and connecting the breath are more advanced, and I wouldn't do those until you have strong concentration.  Instead, if you are having difficultly keeping the attention on the breath at the tip of the nose, expand your attention to include more of the breath body (e.g. the rising and falling of the toso, or the sensations in the throat and lungs).

Over multiple sits, as you practice attention on the tip of the nose, dullness will reduce and gross distractions will reduce.  Once you can keep your attention in place consistenly, then you can start considering other exercises, as noted for each stage.  But get strong concentration first, before trying to deconstruct the breath or any of the other techniques.

Hope this helps. Ask away if it is not clear, or if I have misinterpreted what you are saying.