Where to concentrate after the exhale

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Marcelo, modified 6 Years ago.

Where to concentrate after the exhale

Posts: 10 Join Date: 7/25/14 Recent Posts
Hey guys !

Everything okay ?

I'm a bit confused about my practice,so i'm looking for help !

I finally took the commitment to meditate 2-3 hours a day,and i'm actually doing concentration practices to begin with.

I've bought Shaila Catherine Focused and Fearless and Ajahn Brahm's books,i found quite useful method and techniques,but i'm actually having trouble where to rest my attention between the breathe,if they say it is one pointedness should my object of meditation be continuous ?

Since it takes a 'long time' between a breath i don't know where to rest my attention,im aware of the breath and when it ends i can't stay in the area of the nostrils because i find nothing there,it automatically goes to my posture or the whole sensation of the body, is that okay ?

I also have a trouble closing my eyes,when i do it,more thoughts come to my mind then when im with eyes open,is it okay to practice with eyes open ? Just for the beginning,as i develop and enhance my concentration.

My day consist of practicing drums and guitar endlessly so i'm always in need of deep concentration,so i'm always on an 'observer mode'...

My other question is, i've read and love it 'I AM THAT' by Nisargadatta Maharaj,what do you think about staying in the 'I AM' ? 

He says its all you need to do to go beyond the witness and reach in his words the absolute,is the i am practice kind of 'choiceless awareness' practice ?


Just being ? 

Is it concentration ? 

Thank you so much !!!
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katy steger, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Where to concentrate after the exhale

Posts: 1741 Join Date: 10/1/11 Recent Posts
HI Marcelo,
I've bought Shaila Catherine Focused and Fearless and Ajahn Brahm's books,i found quite useful method and techniques,but i'm actually having trouble where to rest my attention between the breathe,if they say it is one pointedness should my object of meditation be continuous ?

Since it takes a 'long time' between a breath i don't know where to rest my attention,im aware of the breath and when it ends i can't stay in the area of the nostrils because i find nothing there,it automatically goes to my posture or the whole sensation of the body, is that okay ?

I also have a trouble closing my eyes,when i do it,more thoughts come to my mind then when im with eyes open,is it okay to practice with eyes open ? Just for the beginning,as i develop and enhance my concentration.

Thanks for sharing your practice.

So, people do practice eyes open as well as eyes closed; generally eyes open practice is done at a wall or eyes looking downward a few feet in front at the floor in order to reduce the amount of stimulation coming in from the visual field of many objects/events. However, I assure you =) the mind can still wander this way and create funny images from the carpet or from the wall textures, too. That is okay; this is part of the actual action of our minds: like a funny puppy always looking for something to engage with, unless out-cold asleep.

What you're written about not finding the breath is familiar as well as mind going to the bodily sensations. So, first, there are some teachers that teach to follow the breath in the motion of the breahing body for just this reason you mention: mind goes there anyway in being connected to sensation, and, as well, because there is a pāli word, subkhaya?, that to some translators suggests using the whole breathing of the body. Other people learn and do well with keep attention on just one spot. 

In either case, mind in the breathing body or mind at one spot, the mind at some point become unable to find the breath anywhere simply because sensate perception in meditation becomes quite 'odd' or breathing itself becomes very shallow or both happen. So this too is mind and we learn to stay with that. Now the 'puppy' mind is developing alertness and stilling calmness, without fidgeting nor without wanting nor creating stimulating mental objects.

As for "I AM", as you say, you love this author's work; why not keep studying in that vein, perhaps locate people who've studied that deeply, and see if that practice, and tweaks you may make to it, helps you lead a content, skillful life reliable in the conditions you encounter? 
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Marcelo, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Where to concentrate after the exhale

Posts: 10 Join Date: 7/25/14 Recent Posts
That was very kind !!!

I've read about focusing on the various spots on the breath,or as Ajahn Brahm's says to focus on the entire breath instead of a particular spot,that's interesting,but i got confused as to the gaps of the breaths,for instance if i concentrate in my posture,it is continuous,but breath come and go,and then i lost my attention or it moves towards a bodily sensation,or the silence or anything else...

I'm gonna Gordo's books advice aswell for more understanding

Thank you so much !!!

And i asked about the Nisargadatta practice because i get so confused with the gradual path and the direct path,the paths of enlightment,for instance being an arhat,would it be the same as what he says about 'the absolute'? 
Will staying in the i am sense be as effective as wisdom practice ? you know,that sort of confusion,but i'll try to find answers

thanks again
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Noah S, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Where to concentrate after the exhale

Posts: 1532 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
Marcelo:

And i asked about the Nisargadatta practice because i get so confused with the gradual path and the direct path,the paths of enlightment,for instance being an arhat,would it be the same as what he says about 'the absolute'? 
Will staying in the i am sense be as effective as wisdom practice ? you know,that sort of confusion,but i'll try to find answers

thanks again
I've frequently mulled over similar questions and have worked out satisfactory answers for myself (which is why I offer an answer here).  An Arhat is one who has stabilized the absolute.  Someone who is doing serious self-inquiry practice will have nanas, fruitions and paths (or open the chakra circuit or penetrate a finite number of layers of mind) just as someone who is doing a gradual path (i.e. vipassana) will.  However, I would theorize that the technique and concepts used by the practitioner color their perspective and therefore their experience of the stages of insight.  So, a direct-path-yogi will experience many of the stages as 'glimpses of the absolute' in some form or another, even though they are still relative stages, not absolute emptiness.  

Sam Harris and Joseph Goldstein have an interesting talk where Harris is trying to posit the superiority of Dzogchen over Vipassana and Goldstein is argueing that there is no shortcut around gradual progression.  I agree with Joe.

On the practical level, the thing that has made a difference in my own practice has been practicing more (quantity over quality) but also making a small amount of intelligent adjustments.  I used to be obsessed with where to place the attention between the breaths when I practiced with a Rinzai zen group (diaphragmatic breath counting).  I had to just decide to focus rigidly on one spot in order to eliminate my obsessing.  But its not that that one spot was more correct than the others, its just what worked for my mind at that time.
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Marcelo, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Where to concentrate after the exhale

Posts: 10 Join Date: 7/25/14 Recent Posts
That was very very informative,i'll go check the books NOW.

Thanks for your time Gordo,means alot !

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