My heartbeat as a meditation object

aurélien berthomé, modified 9 Years ago at 4/15/13 4:43 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/15/13 4:43 PM

My heartbeat as a meditation object

Posts: 12 Join Date: 12/15/12 Recent Posts
Hi everybody,

All is in the title. I've been having a lot of trouble with the anapasanati technique as a meditation object, probably because of my previous health background where I had asthma, allergies, and polyps, and it felt like a pressure at the back of my nose, which would lead to headaches sometimes, and I felt like the skin around my skull was kind of contracting, and it was realy unpleasant. But I really wanted to use a meditation object that was part of my body, I just felt like that an external object as a kasina would feel too much artificial to me. So I started to use the tactile sensations of my heartbeat, when I put my hand on my chest. I haven't done that for a long time, it's only the first day to be honest, but I'm really having a lot of interesting results, I don't know if it's because my concentration skills improved a lot, but it was really like easy to get to a state of no thoughts, or a least just some that try to sneak in my mind but weren''t quiet successful. And several times, my heartbeat totally disappeared like for the breath in the anapanasati method, I looked for it for a long time, and wasn't really able to find it, so maybe with the time I will learn that I still can spot some sensations, because I don't think that my heart stopped. One theory I have about the efficiency of that method, is that our heartbeat was probably one of the first sound we were able to hear when we were still in the womb, so it's feeling home when you hear it and focus on it, something that really keeps you in the present moment by telling you "hey dude, you're alive". I just thought it was something interesting, that some of you might like to try, it's always go to have new possibilities and more choices to be able to suit the diversity of each one of us.

Good night all,
Keep practicing hard, I'm sure we are all gonna go somewhere =)

Metta,
Aurélien
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fivebells , modified 9 Years ago at 4/15/13 5:06 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/15/13 5:05 PM

RE: My heartbeat as a meditation object

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
I've experimented with this too, because I have some pretty bad allergies as well, and my (likely impossible) benchmark is the capacity to meditate under any circumstances, even very stressful ones where you can't breathe, like drowning. I've run into two problems with it. The first is that my heart beat is too fast to do anything like pleasant breath-energy manipulation. Perhaps this is just a matter of practice. The second is that I get a (probably specious) sense of intention to make my heart beat, and if I hold off on the intention the beat gets veeeeery slow and it feels like I'm running out of oxygen. I find this frightening, partly because there's a bit in the book from which I first properly learned meditation about how dangerous it would be to mess with the energy which keeps your heart beating. I welcome any advice about this, because I'm curious as well as frightened.
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 9 Years ago at 4/15/13 5:38 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/15/13 5:38 PM

RE: My heartbeat as a meditation object

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
You would be one sick mediator if you could control your own heartbeat. Good luck with your explorations! Have fun and enjoy going nowhere.
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 9:57 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 9:57 AM

RE: My heartbeat as a meditation object

Posts: 3232 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I would caution against using the heartbeat as an object based on a few small data points:

1) The end of the out-breath is when all things related to state shifts happen, and so using the breath as object somehow helps shift into new and interesting territory.
2) The breath, unlike the heartbeat, falls at the boundary of conscious and unconscious "control" in a way that few other things do, and so makes an unusually good concentration object.
3) The breath, unlike the heartbeat, can be felt in a large number of places, so if one doesn't work, you can try another one.
4) I know a few people who had strange negative effects when they took the heartbeat as object: one with heart rate issues as described above, one with very strange heart-area pains that persisted for a while after meditating.
5) No meditation tradition I am aware of recommends it as an object.

All those things being said, all sensations demonstrate the Three Characteristics, so technically any of them could be good objects, but that said, clearly there are better objects and worse objects, and, based on my limited data, the heartbeat is not a good one.
Brother Pussycat, modified 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 12:14 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 12:14 PM

RE: My heartbeat as a meditation object

Posts: 77 Join Date: 12/21/11 Recent Posts
In counterpoint to Daniel's wariness, someone here posted about getting very good mileage out of using the heartbeat as a mediation object about two years ago. Ain't the diversity of life fun.

I'll post here again if I can find the thread.
aurélien berthomé, modified 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 12:39 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 12:39 PM

RE: My heartbeat as a meditation object

Posts: 12 Join Date: 12/15/12 Recent Posts
I wasn't expected that there might be some "bad meditation objects", it makes me be scared a little now ^^, hum interesting how our minds can be controlled by the fear of death. Well, yes it would be good, to have the opinion of somebody that has tested this methode and knows that it's safe. Damn it, it's such a pity, I really liked that meditation object... =(
Brother Pussycat, modified 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 1:11 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 1:11 PM

RE: My heartbeat as a meditation object

Posts: 77 Join Date: 12/21/11 Recent Posts
I'd say don't give up on the heartbeat just yet, just be careful (duh).

Have you tried doing breath meditation with movements of the belly as an anchor point instead of the nose? Alternatively, the Tibetan Kum Nye system recommends breathing through both nose and mouth, maybe this would help?
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Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 11:28 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/16/13 11:27 PM

RE: My heartbeat as a meditation object

Posts: 1664 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
I've done concentration meditation on the heart. Big MISTAKE. It messed up my heartbeat and it was quite unpleasant. I avoid noting it exclusively like the plague. emoticon I'm better now but I'll never do that again.

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