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Producing feelings of bliss

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Producing feelings of bliss
Answer
2/1/18 12:48 AM
I would like to share a technique I use to produce feelings of bliss during and after meditation. (I have seen people use different definitions of various states like jhana and piti and I don't want to make any claims about what this technique does in terms like that. I don't mean bliss in any technical sense just in the ordinary vernacular meaning.) I am posting here in case anyone might want to try to experience it. I find it very beneficial and think others might also. It seems to me to be fairly easy to do, easier than other similar techniques I've seen. I don't think access concentration is even necessary.  I was reading a book by Thich Nhat Hanh where he wrote: "... practice breathing with a half-smile. You will feel great joy." I tried it and it worked. Some people might think it is artificial to force yourself to smile. I agree and I only suggest smiling if you feel like it. I don't know if this phenomenon is well known or not (maybe it is) I've seen other "smiling" techniques (ie. Bhante Vimalaramsi , and , Leigh Brasington ) occassionally but not very often.

The simplified instructions are quoted below, there are more detailed instructions at the link with a detailed trouble shooting section. The web page is intended for beginners and people meditating to cope with stress.

https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/meditation-1#meditation_serenity
Notice how you feel throughout your body. Do you feel anxious or tense? Try to relax your whole body. Take a deep breath and relax your whole body as you exhale. Notice the pleasant feeling of relaxation? Now breathe normally and relax your whole body as you exhale. Notice the same feeling of relaxation. Relax your whole body as you inhale and notice a similar feeling of relaxation. It might help you to relax if you slow down your breathing somewhat. Continue to relax your whole body as you inhale and exhale and notice the pleasant feelings of relaxation. While you do this, also say to yourself, (inwardly not aloud) "in" as you inhale, and "out" as you exhale. Notice the absence of mental chatter as you focus your attention on the words "in" an "out". Do this with the understanding that you are trying to have a pleasant, relaxing, calming meditation session. After a while, observing the pleasant feeling of relaxation might make you want to smile. If you feel like it, go ahead and smile and notice the pleasant emotions that accompany smiling as you continue to meditate. If your mind wanders don't worry about it, it's normal, but take a few seconds to notice what thoughts or emotions distracted you, and any sensations they produced in your body. Then return to meditating, relax your whole body as you inhale and exhale, notice the pleasant feeling of relaxation, and smile if you feel like it.  That's it. You should do this as a form of sitting meditation but you can also do it during daily activities. When you start a session, it can be helpful if you remind yourself how the technique works by thinking:
 
Relax as you inhale, relax as you exhale, notice the pleasant feeling of relaxation, and smile if you feel like it.





UPDATE 1/2/2018:
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/7387393#_19_message_7387393

When you repeatedly go into a peaceful relaxed state in meditation it causes you to notice what disturbs that state after the meditation session is over and you get back to daily life. Over time you begin to see how your reactions that make you upset are optional because in meditation you develop the skills and attitude needed to be peaceful and relaxed. When you see they are optional, you start to chose not to become upset (without suppressing or repressing anything). Over time you notice and let go of reactions that are increasingly subtle. In this way, bringing the practice into daily life is natural and automatic. And it provides insight into your own mind. I'm not saying this is the same as body scanning or noting or that it has the same results. But there is an aspect of insight in it, and it is also natural and automatic because it feels good. The technique provides positive reinforcement so you don't need as much will power. 


RE: Producing feelings of bliss
Answer
2/6/16 5:00 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
This technique has been my main squeeze lately, all day long basically.  It starts to develop some serious momentum.  I vouch for it as well.

RE: Producing feelings of bliss
Answer
2/6/16 5:19 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Paweł K:
Personally I like something more technical and universal. Pleasure in body is result of having muscles being tensed and relaxed in just the right way, neither fully tensed nor fully relaxed. There are four main ways it can be done corresponding to four formed jhanas. To have pure 'bliss' (sukha) one need to use 3rd jhana which is having diffused tensing up and centered relaxation. It is possible to make any part of body feel bliss setting muscles in this way. Mind itself is mapped onto body, subtle muscles are used to store and experience emotional states, used to color thoughts, etc. and these can be 'blissed out' by setting them to this configuration. I practice this mostly with my hands and muscles in face linked to visual perception but it works with any part of body/mind.

That's interesting. Is there somewhere I get more info on this? Are there terms I could search for on google?  Thanks.

RE: Producing feelings of bliss
Answer
12/19/17 8:00 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
Isn't that fourth jhana?
At least that's how I got down to it, going from breath focus to relaxation into space, softening with every new breath.