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Counting the missed breaths

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Counting the missed breaths
Answer
12/3/11 12:25 PM
The idea is to follow the breath like normal anapanasati, but every time the mind wanders to "count" it, say, using the fingers, with the ideal being to end the session with a count of zero. Further to the video game metaphor of "shooting aliens" in insight practice, this allows one to keep score in concentration practice and I find it fun and motivating.

I just made this up, but I can't believe that I have invented an entirely new meditation practice. Anyone ever heard of this before?

RE: Counting the missed breaths
Answer
12/3/11 3:06 PM as a reply to Tarver .
sounds like fun, and a good way to motivate practice, but don't fall into the trap of making it so goal-oriented.

Is it 'bad' sit if you scored a 12 instead of an 8? of course not.

Is a score of 0 a perfect sit? of course not.

dont let your game get in the way of 'letting go'

RE: Counting the missed breaths
Answer
12/5/11 10:53 AM as a reply to m m a.
I am not worried about being goal-oriented in this case. My goal is stream entry, aka the "one fortunate attachment".

I don't work out physically a lot, but when I do I like to use a heart-rate monitor. If I am going to clear the time, go to the gym, get changed, set up the equipment, and invest in a one-hour workout, I want to know if I only spent 5 minutes of it putting in the level of effort which the experts tell me is sufficient to get the results I had in mind. Analogously, I wanted a metric to distinguish "few" from "no" interruptions as I work my way up the Hierarchy of Vipassana Practice into the territory which the experts tell me is sufficient to get the results I have in mind.

One more thing (half serious): All those statues and images of meditating Buddhas frequently show them touching a thumb to the tip of a finger. Maybe they are counting missed breaths too? emoticon

RE: Counting the missed breaths
Answer
12/5/11 9:28 PM as a reply to Tarver .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudra#Vitarka_Mudr.C4.81
the mudra of the 'teaching gesture'

I gave it a shot for 30 minutes or so. my 'score' was 0, but it is entirely possible that I missed the missing breaths. interesting practice, nonetheless.

RE: Counting the missed breaths
Answer
12/6/11 11:32 AM as a reply to m m a.
Thanks for the wikipedia link. There are a zillion mudras, for sure. An even more radical and irreverent interpretation is that some of those dudes are actually snapping their fingers to wake themselves up, but nobody is going to believe that.

As for missing the missed breaths, your point is very well taken, m m a, but from where I am in my practice right now, that is a nice problem to have. What I have been doing is that if there is any doubt in my mind at the time that I may have "gone away", I count it as a lapse. There are still a few intervals where it gets a little bit touch-and-go, but if I remain fairly certain (or in other words, free of doubt) that the last breath is still in my short-term memory, I don't count it. I resolve to be as honest and fair as I can, and see what happens. I am working on isolating and eliminating those remaining questionable pockets so I can make it through the meditation session with the precision of an athlete running a course of some kind consisting of about 600 maneuvers to be executed over the span of an hour without "dropping" even one along the way.

(EDIT: 60 minutes X 10 breaths / minute = 600 breaths)

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