Airplane Practice

thumbnail
David Starflower, modified 3 Years ago.

Airplane Practice

Posts: 33 Join Date: 9/10/17 Recent Posts
Hi everyone,

I am going to do a long haul flight soon and thought: "That could be a good opportunity for meditation". I'd like to get some input from you regarding the challenges of the environment and maybe techniques that might be appropriate.

Challenges I can think of so far are the ability to find a place to sit with an unsupported back. The airplane seats are usually so tightly packed that I can't move to sit on the edge and they are a bit reclined too. So a technique sitting in there should be engaging enough to avoid getting dull.

The noise level might make it hard to do breathing meditation.

On the other hand, the constant vibration of the plane might be a good meditation object for other things. I don’t have a lot of practice in insight meditation though…

Any ideas or experiences?

Cheers
David
thumbnail
Lewis, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Airplane Practice

Posts: 155 Join Date: 5/13/15 Recent Posts
I got a couple of hours practise in on a plane recently, I would agree that concentration practise isn't really going to work very well. Noting practise on the other hand works great, and you're right a lot of the sensations of flying (vibration, subtle shifts in altitude) are great for tracking and investigating. I don't practise MCTB high frequency noting though, I use Shinzen's slower technique, not sure if that makes a difference, it might with all the stuff going on in the background. I wouldn't worry too much about posture, I guess it depends on temperament, I don't really get sleepy on planes, too much going on in the environment.
shargrol, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Airplane Practice

Posts: 1563 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
So, standard rules apply -- doing meditation practices can lead into big openings and difficult states. Are you ready for that? Do you have a support group you can rely on? Is your life in good order? Airplane meditation have often let to big insights/experiences for me, so I'm especially aware that it's appropriate to be cautious and give a warning before answering your question! emoticon


Airplanes are a very rich opportunity to be aware of experience at the level of sensations. Feeling and hearing sensations. Touch and sound.

You can go quite deep doing this. If you pay attention to the raw sensations themselves, you _will_ develop a concentration, just a faster moving/dynamic vipassina-samatha blend of concentration. 

When you move "into" experiencing sensations, you might find that your narrative thoughts also become clearer. You might notice how thoughts are just more sounds.

Then the whole field of experience is one of touch and sound. Wow!

This can be a powerful meditation.
thumbnail
Lewis, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Airplane Practice

Posts: 155 Join Date: 5/13/15 Recent Posts
shargrol:
So, standard rules apply -- doing meditation practices can lead into big openings and difficult states. Are you ready for that? Do you have a support group you can rely on? Is your life in good order? Airplane meditation have often let to big insights/experiences for me, so I'm especially aware that it's appropriate to be cautious and give a warning before answering your question! emoticon

When I first tried this a couple of years ago I felt like I was going to fall out of the plane somehow and backed off completely, since the physical sensation started to become so open and spacious! I'm also a naturally nervous flyer and end up working with a lot of fear sensations at first, which are particularly potent when it comes to meditation and perhaps not quite so strongly felt when sat in your home. So the intensity level definitely goes up. That said, the conditions are pretty good for just casually having a background noting practice going even if you don't go full intensity, since you're not doing much but sitting for hours with very little to do!

It also might not be a good idea, if you're unfamiliar with noting practice, to try and 'learn' it on the plane, for this reason, it'd probably be a bit too intense for that, you'd want to be pretty comfortable with a technique first I would think.
thumbnail
David Starflower, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Airplane Practice

Posts: 33 Join Date: 9/10/17 Recent Posts
Thanks for the input. By "not a lot of practice" I mean less than half a year of Goenka-style Vipassana (Body Scan), not "none at all". I also have found quite a few fellow meditator of different styles and have a bit of social stability, so I guess my support network is quite good. Furthermore, the flight is only in three weeks time, so I will have the chance to practice on the cushion first. Hence I am more than keen to give it a try.

Would you generally say that noting lends itself to practice while flying (more than Goenka does)?

What would be a good starting point? The main noting techniques I found so far is Shinzen Young's, MCTB's and the "original" Mahasi noting. They all have some online resources, some better than others. What would be a good source for learning?

@shargrol what technique do you use?
thumbnail
David Starflower, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Airplane Practice

Posts: 33 Join Date: 9/10/17 Recent Posts
Would you people deem Goenka's body scan appropriate as well? After all the movents of the plane get into the body.
thumbnail
Lewis, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Airplane Practice

Posts: 155 Join Date: 5/13/15 Recent Posts
I haven't practiced Goenka so wouldn't be able to say specifically, but any technique that allows for a more open awareness where any sense perception can come and go would be good - it's not just the plane moving, there are babies crying, announcements over the tannoy, the smell of food, people getting up and walking around, etc - it's a full on sensual assault! So a technique centred around one object may not work so well without very strong concentration. I would think any type of body scan would be fine with the caveat that you should be comfortable doing such a practice in an otherwise distracting environment. 
Jinxed P, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: Airplane Practice

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Metta is a good practice for the airplane. There are so many people that you can you wish each one of the individually well. 

"May the person to the right of me be well, happy, and peaceful", etc..

 

Breadcrumb