Cant feel the breath?

Micheal Kush, modified 9 Years ago.

Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/6/12 Recent Posts
So far in my anapasanati practices, i have had success in maintaining concentration on my breath as i have been doing for a couole of months now. My short term goal is to enter the jhanas. However, at tiimes my practice seems inconsistent. What i mean is that ill have one session where the practice is effortless, paying attention to the breath couldnt be more easier with one little thought floating around. Another session is composed of tirelessly trying to find it with thoughts scattered all over the place, i end up leaving the session without ever finding it. What can i do to relieve the problem?

Also I dont want to think my progress has been for nothing because of this inconsistent factor. My practice has gotteb better in duration and concentration and effort.

Best wishes, mike
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Michael:
My practice has gotten better in duration and concentration and effort.

This is the only proof you need that, whatever is happening in phenomenological terms, you're doing it right.

If you're cycling then your general baseline will be dependent on which ñana you're in, this will then influence the quality of your attention and your ability to focus on your object. Remember, you're not trying to stop thinking or prevent though from arising, just observe them and return to the breath; if you're having difficulty finding it, use a more physical anchor like the abdomen to keep track of where you're at in the breath cycle.

Don't beat yourself up, don't force anything, just keep on gently returning the attention to the object and you'll get to where you want to be. You seem to really "want" to get into jhana but it doesn't come about that way, learn to relax and enjoy your practice 'cause it makes it so much more fun.
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Tommy:
If you're cycling then your general baseline will be dependent on which ñana you're in, this will then influence the quality of your attention and your ability to focus on your object. Remember, you're not trying to stop thinking or prevent though from arising, just observe them and return to the breath; if you're having difficulty finding it, use a more physical anchor like the abdomen to keep track of where you're at in the breath cycle.


Also you may find that widening your attention to include the "whole body breath" will bring that little anapana spot back online. Another technique is to just imagine you can still feel it at the spot. That's often good enough.
Micheal Kush, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/6/12 Recent Posts
Appreciate the advice. I noticed that i must increase my mindfulness ad not too worry about the breath. Staying with it in and out is extrememly difficult. There are times where i can do it for a good amount of timd but extra effort is needed in other sessions. Next time, i will continue to just be with the breath and relax.

However, i have a couple of questions. I once comtemplated that what would happen if i can never acheive anything with the breath. When is it acceptable to choose another object to meditate upon when you know one isnt working? Im not quitting on the breath anytime soon but this question to me is vital because i do plan onto move onto other objects as well.

Thanks for the help, best wishes
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Hi Michael. I don't really know your practice history but I assume you are quite new to this?

There's good reason why the breath is taught more than any other type of meditation: Pretty much anyone can do it. With practice it becomes less of a "training exercise" and more of an "advanced" practice. It's truly an amazing object to work with.

These problems you are having are NORMAL. Everyone has them to a lesser or greater degree when they start out. Just keep going.

Good luck.
Micheal Kush, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/6/12 Recent Posts
Thanks for the help.

Ive actually progressed much, noticing bits and pieces that make me mindful of the breath. I do agree with Tommy that i might be going thru cycles as i would end up a session never following the breath but actually searching for it. So far, ive been able to accept the agitation my mind recieves whenever i end up lost in the transmission of thought. However a couple of questionss, since ive become confortable of the breath, ive been completely bored with it. Any suggestions to make my mind absorbed into its qualities?

It seems to me that its too easy. One thing i have noticed that i have to drop the thought of achieving jhana and stay with the breath.

So any suggestions? Best wishes
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Bagpuss The Gnome, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 704 Join Date: 11/2/11 Recent Posts
Try this.
Micheal Kush, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/6/12 Recent Posts
Thanks, it really helped. However, this is why i always wanted a teacher, it motivates me to want to do it or atleast it seems mandatory. But i'll get past my phase of boredom, i always do.

Best wishes, Mike
Jim Wilson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 27 Join Date: 2/8/12 Recent Posts
Brilliant website ATI - I have the Android version on my phone so I can dip into the suttas when I'm on the move - saves lugging around Maurice Walsh's translation of the long discourses (or any of the rest of the Pali canon come to that!)
Jim Wilson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 27 Join Date: 2/8/12 Recent Posts
Hi Michael - been there ! Just keep going and try not to worry about attaining or getting anything. Just sitting and trying to follow the breath is enough.

I have found it helpful to think of the mind as 'resting' on the object - sense of air in and out the nose / on /around upper , or feeling the rise and fall of the abdomen. Everyday general mindfulness practice can help too, as can a little simple metta.

Keep going, it will be easier!

cheers

J
Jim Wilson, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cant feel the breath?

Posts: 27 Join Date: 2/8/12 Recent Posts
...also remember that there will be 'good' days and 'bad days' - at least that is what your mind will try to tell you !

Also, if you are tired / run down / stressed / sick (i.e have low energy levels) it is harder to maintain focus (even for more experienced practitioners).

Great advice from Tommy and Bagpuss, especially with regard to 'widening attention' and the importance of relaxing and trying to have fun ! The mind can often flare up and get busy - just be aware that's what it is doing and try not to evaluate / judge the experience / loose patience. There is no failure. Success is just about persistence in practice.

When the mind goes off on a wander, I have found it helpful to just tell myself (something like) 'oh well, the mind has gone off on one again, at as it tends to, since that's what the mind does' and gently bring yourself back to the breath / whatever your point of focus is.

It is easy in the earlier stages of your practice to start beating yourself up with a little voice in your head saying: 'why can't I do this?', or 'I am not progressing' or 'this should be easier', 'what if I am wasting my time', 'maybe this isn't for me', or ' I should have reached 'x' stage/attainment', or 'I am too tired/stressed/upset/bored/angry/annoyed/hungry ..etc etc' (been there, done that many times!)

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