heartbeat instead of breath?

Patrice Berube, modified 9 Years ago.

heartbeat instead of breath?

Posts: 21 Join Date: 9/15/10 Recent Posts
If someone can feel the heartbeat in the chest area pretty much constantly, would it be a good object to note and to return to instead of the breath?

Especially since the heartbeat is more easily to note, faster and more similar to a vibration than the breath.


ps i used the search function but found little to nothing about noting the heart beat..??

thank you very much!
Sean Lindsay, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: heartbeat instead of breath?

Posts: 46 Join Date: 11/3/09 Recent Posts
Seems like one of those "try it and see" kinds of questions. For what it's worth, some vipassana teachers discourage focus on heartbeats, though I confess I don't remember exactly why.
Aaron Johnson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: heartbeat instead of breath?

Posts: 10 Join Date: 11/20/09 Recent Posts
One of my main teachers discourages meditating on the heart beat also. As I recall, that advice comes by way of Sayadaw U Pandita. The heart beat is the only primary object of meditation I've been told to avoid, because it's possible to screw up the heart beat by making it too conscious -- or such is the belief. I don't know any more than that, but I've tended to avoid it. Because, that's just not a problem I'm looking for, and there's no lack of other meditation objects. My personal favorites are the rising and falling of the breath in the abdomen, the whole body field and the ringing noise in my left ear (though that ringing noise can be a tough master for some; personally, I find the vedana gets pretty neutral with close attention, but others find it helplessly unpleasant) or the pitter patter of my ear drum, which is more subtle and I always find reassuring for some reason; for jhana practice, I like starting out with the sensations at the nostrils. Honestly, I probably shift primary objects too frequently, but some objects seem better for arousing specific faculties or factors.

Personal experience is that as access concentration really ramps up, detecting the heart beat in the chest becomes quite difficult anyway.
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tarin greco, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: heartbeat instead of breath?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
the heartbeat is a gross object, not very fast (may even get more slow than usual at some points), and not very conducive to refining attention and increasing the rate of perception. if you find yourself going the heartbeat route, try feeling for the movement of the blood throughout the body instead. this can be felt either as simple pulses occurring more or less at the same rate as the heartbeat does (then possibly diverging into greater complexity), or as fast vibratory rushes of fluid ricocheting through the blood vessels. i found these vibrations to be very prominent in my field of attention, and when i told one of the sayadaws in u pandita's tradition (with whom i was sitting at the time) about this, he encouraged my use of them as my primary object.

tarin