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Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/23/14 9:56 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Colleen Peltomaa 12/23/14 11:13 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/23/14 1:20 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Bill F. 12/23/14 1:49 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/23/14 2:59 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/23/14 4:58 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Psi 12/23/14 11:38 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/24/14 12:59 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/27/14 2:15 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/27/14 7:31 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/28/14 4:49 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/29/14 4:30 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Bill F. 12/29/14 7:22 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/29/14 9:29 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Bill F. 12/29/14 9:32 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/29/14 9:41 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Bill F. 12/23/14 5:26 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/24/14 12:52 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Bill F. 12/24/14 1:45 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/24/14 6:45 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Bill F. 12/24/14 8:09 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/25/14 12:03 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Colleen Peltomaa 12/25/14 1:29 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Not Tao 12/26/14 12:47 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Bill F. 12/26/14 12:49 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/26/14 5:12 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Colleen Peltomaa 12/29/14 7:33 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/29/14 9:36 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Colleen Peltomaa 12/24/14 5:56 AM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Pål 12/24/14 6:55 PM
RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method? Colleen Peltomaa 12/25/14 12:02 PM
My sitting practice is something I've developed by my self, inspired by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, AYP, the Vitakkasanthana and Anapanasati suttas and what kind of "feels right". It feels like the main hindrance that comes up during sessions is doubt about the practice, and doubt about other practices. Could you guys say what you think about it and what it might lead to? That would be of great help! emoticon
Here's how I do it:

Posture:
Either sitting straight but relaxed in the bus seat or sukhasana if I'm at home or in the woods. Mostly, I don't controll the breath,  I just check out what it does on it's own.

1:
I bring my attention to the breath and "say" in my head, one word per breath cycle, something like this:
 
"I am now practicing mindfullness of breathing..."

2: 
Then I bring attention to the breath sensations in the middle of the lower abdomen, then in the right side of that point, then the left, then all of the lower abdomen, "saying", one word per breath cycle, something like:

"...in order to learn to rest in the moment and let go of what agitates the mind."

3:
Then, bringing attention up to the breath sensations in the middle  of the solar plexus, the right and left side, then all of it, "saying" one word per breath, something like:

"May all living beings be happy through clear seeing of, and harmony with, reality"

4:
The middle, the right, left and all of the chest:

"If mindfullness breaks, I will reestablish it through..."

5:
At the base of the throat:

"...A: leading attention back to the breath, not letting it cling to temptations..."

6:
The middle of the brain:

"...B: Seeing the drawbacks of getting involved in temptations..."

7:
On the in breaths, letting attention wander from the perineum along the spine up to the third eye area, on the out breaths, back down to the perineum:

"...C: Ignoring the temptations..."


8:
The same "attention journey", but starting at the feet, through the leggs ,up the spine etc. this time:

"...D: Relaxing the root of the straying thoughts..."

9:
From the hands, through the arms, shoulders and neck to the third eye:

"...E: Forcing away the distractions."

10:
Through both legs and arms to the thrid eye. No words.

Then, until timer rings or bus/train stops:
General awareness of the breath without any specific focus point. 

I've been practicing like this, sometimes with other words, for the past 5-7 months. It's relaxing and has sometimes led to spasms. No jhanas or nanas yet I think. I practice about 10-50 mins a day, often divided into several sits.
Where do you think this could lead? Is there anything you would have changed? How much in line with the suttas and the dhamma would you consider it to be?

If something isn't clear it might be because of my mediocre english.

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/23/14 11:13 AM as a reply to Pål.
It's nice to have the mind do something else rather than what it normally does and to exhibit such command power over the mind and your practice is simple enough for everyone, using wording that is meaninful for them. 

Does your dhukka get stirred up when you do this, or is it a type of satiation?

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/23/14 1:20 PM as a reply to Colleen Peltomaa.
Normally it's a little satiating. But not like ecsatic yet. It's really fun though to get spontaneous movement or sometimes pleasant breath sensations in the chest, when the breath naturally gets deeper.

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/23/14 1:49 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pal: Thanks for sharing. I don't know that I have an educated answer to your questions, but is the practice carrying over into your daily life? What do you see as the desired outcome of your involvement with meditation? Be well. -Bill

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/23/14 2:59 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Thanks for answering (to everyone answering)!
People around me have commented on how calm and peaceful I seem so I guess it's carrying over into daily life, or it's just me playing with my new yogi identity haha emoticon What I  want most from meditation and have wanted like all year is jhana as it is described in the suttas.

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/23/14 4:58 PM as a reply to Pål.
Hm ok, would you recommend focusing on breath sensations in one single point of the body, or should I continue "trying" (I try not to put any effort in it because that feels wrong) to get full body awereness? I'm not a big fan of the division of meditation into samatha and vipassana, since there seems to be no support for that in the suttas. And about single object vs multiple object: I think the Anapanasati sutta makes it pretty clear that we should be sensitive to more than just the breath, that we should focus on various physical and mental phenomena as they occur while we are watching the breath. And I'm not really sure about whether the standard "samatha jhanas" really are the jhanas that the Buddha talked about. I don't know any sutta that says "there is the case when a monk is so concentrated on one thing that he enters the first jhana...etc." But rather the "example monks" in the suttas seem to clear their mind from the hindrances (probably through the methods explained in the Vitakkasanthana sutta, which invovles replacing unskillfull thoughts with skillfull thoughts - that's why I use affirmations paced with the breath) and when their minds are clear piti arises and _because of that_ the mind becomes concentrated, not the other way around. 
I fear that the true buddha dhamma is lost emoticon

Still, thanks for the advice! 

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/23/14 5:26 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pal: If you are interested in jhana, and you find doing this method inclines you in that direction, you could spend more time practicing (1-2 hours a day) and see where that leads you. Or you could practice full-body breathing, or even practice metta with a focus on the body, and when metta gets stronger drop the words. 

Bill

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/23/14 11:38 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
Hm ok, would you recommend focusing on breath sensations in one single point of the body, or should I continue "trying" (I try not to put any effort in it because that feels wrong) to get full body awereness? I'm not a big fan of the division of meditation into samatha and vipassana, since there seems to be no support for that in the suttas. And about single object vs multiple object: I think the Anapanasati sutta makes it pretty clear that we should be sensitive to more than just the breath, that we should focus on various physical and mental phenomena as they occur while we are watching the breath. And I'm not really sure about whether the standard "samatha jhanas" really are the jhanas that the Buddha talked about. I don't know any sutta that says "there is the case when a monk is so concentrated on one thing that he enters the first jhana...etc." But rather the "example monks" in the suttas seem to clear their mind from the hindrances (probably through the methods explained in the Vitakkasanthana sutta, which invovles replacing unskillfull thoughts with skillfull thoughts - that's why I use affirmations paced with the breath) and when their minds are clear piti arises and _because of that_ the mind becomes concentrated, not the other way around. 
I fear that the true buddha dhamma is lost emoticon

Still, thanks for the advice! 
The true Buddha Dharma is not lost, keep practicing, alot is trial and error, one day you will look back and know the changes that have occurred through reviewing knowledge, keep working at it.  And by the way, you can't develop every skill at the same time.  Can you learn to ride a bike and swim at the same time?  But having learned both how to ride a bike and to swim, would you not be able to travel farther, more skillfully?
You will be fine, you certainly have the factor of Investigation of Dhamma down pat....

Psi

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/24/14 12:52 AM as a reply to Bill F..
"If you are interested in jhana, and you find doing this method inclines you in that direction..."

I don't know if it does but it's certainly calming and concentrating most of the time. 
Yes I guess I should practice more. 
Do you have any tips for how to "attain" full body breathing?  What are the best metta instructions? 

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/24/14 12:59 AM as a reply to Psi.
"And by the way, you can't develop every skill at the same time.  Can you learn to ride a bike and swim at the same time?  But having learned both how to ride a bike and to swim, would you not be able to travel farther, more skillfully?"

I didn't really get this one, could you elaborate please? The reason why I use many different affirmations is that
a) Good way to brainwash my self
b) I get to learn the Vitakkasanthana instructions better
c) the breath paced chanting kind of ties the mind to the breath, since it blocks out unskillfull thinking, like a very long mantra

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/24/14 1:45 AM as a reply to Pål.
Hi Pal,

      O.K. For the whole body breathing one way to do this would be to place attention on the sensations of the feet, then move slowly up the body spending time putting your attention on the different parts of the body in a bi-lateral way. For more specific instructions, you could start with the feet, then lower legs, then upper legs, genital area, stomach, back/chest, neck and head. Once you have spent some time attending to each of the different parts of the body attend to the sensations of the body as though the patterns of the body were one cohesive whole. With that cohesive whole at the forefront, notice the way that the energy of breathing feels.

For specific metta instructions, you could google those. I don't practice in the traditional way. I wrote up the following and have used it consistently with good results, but it may not work for you, so do whatever draws you in. Bare with me here, I am going to try to link this directly, but if it doesn't work, I'll just copy and paste a link to the instructions. I would include that if you do this for a while the words will begin to feel cumbersome, and the sensations associated with metta will be prominent without needing to continuosly incline attention with the phrases, at which point, like in the example above, just feel the body as a whole. It should be an experience of immense depth, pleasure, quiet, and immediacy.


SomaticMetta

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5556399

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/24/14 5:56 AM as a reply to Pål.
I agree with Pawel that even though the exercise quiets the mind it needs a more mentally invasive companion to get the job done, i.e., nirvana. I'm not here to persuade anyone against their convictions and this is what I am convinced is necessary for me, and I make an honest attempt to practice everyday.

I like that you sort of designed this for yourself and find it working and I wish more people would do something like this rather than other things (tv, shopping, eating, etc., etc.). May the yogi in you die a smooth death :-))))

love,
colleen

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/24/14 6:45 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Thank you, I'll check and try that out!

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/24/14 6:55 PM as a reply to Colleen Peltomaa.
How do you mean invasive?
I don't know if I find it working, but I definately find it leading to cool stuff. Like for example last session, just before I wrote this, I sat for several minutes with strong spasm and spontaneous wierd movements like every fifth second or so, mentaly quite peaceful. Is that a sign of some kind of progress? Do you think it could be just placebo (that thought has occured to me sometimes, but the spasms/movements are sometimes really like "powerful", sometimes non-existent) or is it as I hope: a result of the meditation? emoticon

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/24/14 8:09 PM as a reply to Pål.
You're welcome. Experiment a little, and see what works. Have fun with it. Enjoyment leads to concentration.

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/25/14 12:02 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pål:
How do you mean invasive?
I don't know if I find it working, but I definately find it leading to cool stuff. Like for example last session, just before I wrote this, I sat for several minutes with strong spasm and spontaneous wierd movements like every fifth second or so, mentaly quite peaceful. Is that a sign of some kind of progress? Do you think it could be just placebo (that thought has occured to me sometimes, but the spasms/movements are sometimes really like "powerful", sometimes non-existent) or is it as I hope: a result of the meditation? emoticon
My practice gets me to practice bringing up the past, checking for importances or significances carried over into the present, and then to put the past back into the past with no further importances attached to it. That is what I meant by "invasive". The practice you describe I don't think will do that but it is a good companion practice while one still has a chatty mind, or when one's mind gets stirred up. 

From how you describe it it seems to serve the purpose of temporarily quieting the mind and releasing tension. Everyone should have a good stress relieving, feel good technique :-)

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/25/14 12:03 PM as a reply to Bill F..
Yes that's how they put it in the suttas emoticon

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/25/14 1:29 PM as a reply to Pål.
Good and thank you for the feedback :-)

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/26/14 12:47 PM as a reply to Pål.
Pal, the main trick to attaining a tranquil mind is stability of awareness.  People get there many different ways, but it's actually a pretty simple idea.  At any moment, you are either aware of what is happening or you are embedded within your mind.  First you need to recognize what it is like to be aware, then you simply maintain that awareness.  That awareness, itself, is tranquility.

Recognizing awareness is easy.  Since you've meditated a bit, you will be familiar with those moments when you suddenly realize you have been lost in thought and imagination.  You're thinking along and then - pop - you say, "Oh no, I'm not meditating!"  You are suddenly aware.  That awareness that suddenly appears is meditation itself.  It's the watcher recognizing itself.  When that happens, you have succeeded in meditation for a moment.

The best method I've found to accumulate these moments until they lock in is to appreciate them.  When it happens, savor the feeling of clarity it brings.  If you feel like you notice it slipping away - realize that the very fact that you notice it means you are still aware.  Continue being aware and the mind will eventually stop doing much at all.  There will just be a tranquil, still awareness.

In the past I've given two pieces of advice - let go, and concentrate on an object.  These are both ways of creating less mental resistance so the awareness is less likely to get turned away from itself.  If you stabilize the mind on an object, like a mantra or the breath, then that very stability will transition into the mind simply recognizing that it is aware and needs to expend no effort to continue being aware.  If you can let go of everything, the mind is no longer occupied with planning and ploting, thinking and imagining, and the natural awareness that is always present is no longer obscured.

In any case, this is all a lot easier than it seems.  Just remeber that you can't remember awareness and you don't attain awareness, you are just aware right now.  When this awareness goes into the mind and makes little holograms for itself to play out past and future events, it can't be tranquil, it's unconscious and dreaming.  When the mind comes to a rest, the awareness doesn't identify with anything and there is just a still presence that is samatha.

Buddha means "a person who is awake" - so just be awake. emoticon

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/26/14 12:49 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao, Pal: I think this is a very coherent and good explanation of the process of building shamatha. I would implement them with the advice given previously that resonated.

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/26/14 5:12 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Wait, does that mean that you think my method is or isn't good? Because that's basicly how I've meditated for months. I think/believe that the playing around woth awareness and mantra affirmation stuff I do makes it more enjoyable and thus easier to maintain a continuous awareness. But if "the method" to get what the Buddha meant with jhana is as easy as locking awareness on something the why did the Buddha...
•...give so complex anapana instructions (the instructions on metta, saddha and cancama seem pretty simple though which is confusing. According to Sujato it's because at least cancama was meant to be more like a preparation for meditation rather than a meditation method in it self)
•...not teach mantra japa? (Well ok mahayana claims he did, but I'm a sutta/agama extremist as you know ;) The only sutta that could justify mantra japa as taught by the Buddha is, as I see it, Vitakkasanthana, and that is only if you count mantras as a form of "skillfull thinking".)

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/27/14 2:15 AM as a reply to Pål.
"Because of how it works there is no need to full body awareness. That would be bad because your body/mind awareness is what needs to be gone and the less of it the better. It is only needed to sustain awareness, nothing more."

this is really interesting, since it is quite the opposit of what Ajahn Lee andThanissaro Bhikkhu  taught/teaches.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/inmind.html#method2

See method 2

Do you think you have different opinions because you use different definitions of jhana, or are you all succeding in the same thing, though one part is making it harder for themselves?

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/27/14 7:31 AM as a reply to Pål.
Oook, I didn't really get that but I guess I will later on emoticon 
no jhana w/o discernment no discernment w/o jhana 

So you think I should basicly drop everything I'm currently doing in my practice and just focus on breathing (which kind of is the last "step" in my regular practice anyway)? Even though it feels like it increases/ is stabilizing breath awareness?

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/28/14 4:49 PM as a reply to Pål.
Thanks, I'll try that out emoticon
Now why...
...didn't the Buddha teach that energy stuff (I write this without having read all of it yet)? Well, he did teach that one should spread piti and sukha over the body when jhana has been entered, maybe that's related.
...do you think my current practice makes me spasm and wave my arms spontaneously and stuff like that? Isn't that like energy stuff? or could it be just placebo? I've no idea haha but it's fun.

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/29/14 4:30 AM as a reply to Pål.
Thanks för the advice!

What I mean by spasms? 
Ok, muscles twitching in the core, chest, shoulders and arms. Pretty often this leads to my arms raising upwards quickly, sometimes to shoulder height, sometimes even above my head, and if I let the hands meet above head then the clap becomes really hard, it almost hurts sometimes. Lately I've started to spontaneously hit my right chest muscle with my left arm. Stuff like that. According to Daniel it can be a sign of nanas but I doubt that since I have zero insight, except I intellectually get the four noble truths and the 3C:s.
Edit: Except Anatta. I don't get anatta.

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/29/14 7:22 AM as a reply to Pål.
Have you been practicing more? In my expereience involuntary movement of muscles has always preceded some shift of some kind. Not to set up any expectations. Perhaps you are just going crazy ;)

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/29/14 7:33 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
NOT TAO writes, "Since you've meditated a bit, you will be familiar with those moments when you suddenly realize you have been lost in thought and imagination."

I love the idea of cultivating awareness through being aware of aware -- ha! sounds funny doesn't it!

The chattery mind also loves to create and visualize -- at least mine does it quite royally -- and in addition to cultivating "Aware", I also get some command power over the mind giving it things to visualize, which I do until it goes calm, like a crying baby finally finding sleep.  Then, after that, if I still have the time, I work the next step of cultivating self-determined pan-awareness, not just some fixed, limited awarenesses.


RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/29/14 9:29 AM as a reply to Bill F..
Well sometimes there are periods were there are no spontaneous movements at all, if that counts as a shift. A teacher in school who has been doing some kriya yoga say that movements occuring during meditation come because prana tries do break through energy blockades. Yes I'm probably just completely mad haha

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
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12/29/14 9:32 AM as a reply to Pål.
OK, ha. To bring things back home, are you still using primarily the method you first described or have you begun to experiment with other methods?

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/29/14 9:36 AM as a reply to Colleen Peltomaa.
I guess that's what my affirmation "mantras" do, they give my chattery mind things to say while cultivating awareness until it goes quiet. Not that it does that often. It just start thinking more about one thing rather than constantly jumping from this and that. And then when it gets quiet for a millisec or two those weird spasms come. 

Oh, the spontaneous movements also include the breath getting all deep and irregular.

RE: Could you review this homebrew scanning method?
Answer
12/29/14 9:41 AM as a reply to Bill F..
No not yet, too lazy.