RE: Focusing on breath worse my depression, but not mantra or fire kasina

Nosferatu neophyte, modified 1 Month ago at 5/7/22 10:44 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/7/22 10:44 AM

Focusing on breath worse my depression, but not mantra or fire kasina

Posts: 2 Join Date: 5/7/22 Recent Posts
I practiced breath meditation for about 1 month and I felt that my depression got a lot worse, I decided to test the mental repetition of the word "buddho" for two weeks and then two more weeks of fire kasina, neither of these two techniques caused a worsening in my mood. Why does this occur only when i focus on the breath? Thanks in advance.
George S, modified 1 Month ago at 5/7/22 10:55 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/7/22 10:55 AM

RE: Focusing on breath worse my depression, but not mantra or fire kasina

Posts: 2475 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Focusing on the breath involves awareness of the body, whereas kasina involves awareness of visual sense and mantra involves cognitive sense. If I had to guess I would say that maybe your depression has a basis in the body. In order to test this, try focussing on feeling depressed and see if you can identity any physical sensations or locations in the body where the depression might be residing.
Steve Rudx, modified 1 Month ago at 5/8/22 1:28 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/8/22 10:23 AM

RE: Focusing on breath worse my depression, but not mantra or fire kasina

Posts: 17 Join Date: 2/26/22 Recent Posts
I can relate.  Or, at least, I had a similar difficulty and long wondered why I was getting more depressed the better I got at focussing on breath.  The best explanation I've heard is that focusing on breath builds concentration in a very tight range, and can increase tension (the opposite of relaxation).  Other meditation objects, which make it less of a competition with yourself, might not do that. You might to try metta, instead, which is emotionally pleasurable, and increases "collectedness" (instead of concentration, per se), and reduces tension.

You might try, specifically, TWIM, https://www.dhammasukha.org/beginner-lovingkindness

Let me know if it helps or not!  Otherwise, go with kasina os something else which doesn't produce that tension. 

Another alternative, which I use, is to find a sensation, like a tickle (something pleasant), on your body which is distinct and reliable enough, and watch and cultivate that.   Don't be surprised if that takes you to a really nice place!

P.S.  Sometimes I still use watching the breath to get to access concentration and then leap off onto some other meditation object (usually pleasant sensations, these days, although I'm inclined to try fire kasina, again).  Good luck!  Great question, IMO!
Nosferatu neophyte, modified 1 Month ago at 5/8/22 11:07 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/8/22 11:07 PM

RE: Focusing on breath worse my depression, but not mantra or fire kasina

Posts: 2 Join Date: 5/7/22 Recent Posts
I tried it about three or four time after reading a similar thing in reddit but maybe my concentration is not that good to get this kind of feedback from focusing on emotions or virtues like metta as steve has suggested, I can only feel absorbed enough to generate any effect on mind/body when using these 3 types of meditation or a distinct body sensation.
Steve, i may try the tickle sensation! 
Thanks guys
Steve Rudx, modified 1 Month ago at 5/9/22 5:33 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/9/22 5:33 PM

RE: Focusing on breath worse my depression, but not mantra or fire kasina

Posts: 17 Join Date: 2/26/22 Recent Posts
I made up the tickle meditation method during a "dry" ten day vipassana retreat and never looked back.  I sat down and started doing breath meditation, when the inside corner of one eye started to itch terribly.  I was going to stop and scratch it, but I remembered Brasington's advice about how to get to first jhana.  So I didn't stop.  I didn't just "ignore it" nor "watch" it, either.  I thanked it from my heart and encouraged it to get relax and take up habitation, and then to invite all its brothers and sisters as well.

By the end of he hour I was grinning from ear to ear and the instructor was looking at me with what looked like significant distaste.

The key things are to remember that you do not use forced "concentration" nor any other compulsion nor "trickery" to force the itch to stay. Instead, you need to honestly thank it and appreciate it and attempt to gently cultivate it. If it starts to diminish or go away, be gentle with it and thank it -- and thank yourself -- for dropping by and ask it to please come back when it has more time!  Something else will show up soon, just be open to that and patience a little patience.

Again, you can still use breath concentration, especially to get started.  Just don't force it too hard, and get off that bus as soon as an alternative ride comes along.

Now the tickles show up all the time in the middle of my work day.  If I possibly can I try to stop for a few minutes to cultivate them.  If I honestly can't stop what I am doing, I at least thank the tickles and invite them to stick around while I go about my work.

There is a lot more room for creativity in meditation than some teachers will condone.  At the end of the day it is your practice.  Nothing to be depressed about.

Oh!  Remember to smile and relax as much as possible!  Fake it until you make it.
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Month ago at 5/10/22 2:23 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 5/10/22 2:23 PM

RE: Focusing on breath worse my depression, but not mantra or fire kasina

Posts: 6460 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
Now that is a skillful way of dealing with a tickle! Very cool.

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