Following the object as a "rabid dog"

Joakim Bobbetibob, modified 8 Years ago at 9/14/15 5:17 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/14/15 5:14 PM

Following the object as a "rabid dog"

Posts: 14 Join Date: 9/14/15 Recent Posts
Hi. I'm new to this forum. About twenty years old, have been meditating a lot, with various degrees of success. I have spent a lot of time doing self inquiry (during normal life activities) and have been practising a form of vipassana. 

I think this is the approach that has worked best for me in my sessions: 
- Stay with the breath at the tip of the nose
- When I have a thought about the past or future, I just say "back" and then I'm back to focusing
- When I have a thought about the present moment, I say "okay" if I agree or "no" if it is something of a negative quality

I have read a lot on this forum, and especially in the concentration sub.
What I've come across in lots of posts is the "chasing of the object as a rabid dog". 

I remember I had four sessions of about half an hour each, with intense, long and forced breathing and just chasing the breath as hard as I could. Although I surely used a lot of energy, I also had some profound experiences where my whole body was tingling, and third eye pressure, a strong pulsating wave in my spine. In these moments (which came after about 10-15 minutes of intense concentration) thoughts didn't bother me at all, and rarely showed up. My mind was just so extremely interested in what was happening in the body.
I have read a lot about these kind of experiences, but can't really tell exactly what this was. 
After these four days, I had massive insights, most of them being about my negative beliefs about myself. I was obsessed with my own bodily functions, and it came to a point where it was hard to socialize or just do stuff in general. After these sessions I had lots of insights about this, and I had such a positive outlook on life. I was excited, energetic. 

And, of course, it dropped. I remember the specific event when it happened. I was about to put butter on a piece of bread, and I consciously started to self-obsess about it, just to sort of mock how I earlier would perceive that situation. And within a few hours I was in the same old negative space. I could not believe it, but all was lost. I tried the same approach to meditation, but the interest to do it was just not there. 

After a few months, I wanted to try this approach again, although I didn't want to force the breath as much, as it was noisy and probably annoying for other people in the house. I've been trying to follow the breath like this for a few sessions. I've not really been getting the same feeling of concentration. I would say that after a few minutes I get into a state where I'm not very bothered by thoughts, but I'm still not able to hold onto the focus as well as before. It just seems like a lack of energy, and I've tried to work out, eat healthy, but it doesn't seem to make a big difference.

What is your experience of following the object this way? 
For some reason I find it hard to really stay with it, and I feel like part of it is just me lacking motivation, or an inability to follow through.

A few times in my sessions, at what I would say is peak concentration, there is this extreme energy in my stomach and chest, which also makes my heart beat fast and very hard. I'm a bit afraid of what this really is. Although interesting, the heart beat scares me, and usually draws the focus away from the breath and to thoughts about what is happening. Does anyone know what this is? Should I just follow through with focus, or should I try to calm the energy down?
Not Tao, modified 8 Years ago at 9/16/15 11:50 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 9/16/15 11:50 PM

RE: Following the object as a "rabid dog"

Posts: 995 Join Date: 4/5/14 Recent Posts
I think the analogy is dumb.  Concentration happens when you relax and forget about other things.  You don't chase the object until you catch it, you get intrigued by it and pulled in.  Whenever I've spent a lot of energy "trying" to pay attention, I've generally found myself to get more and more distracted by my failure.  But concentration is something that kind of revs up in the background.  There's a point where it just locks in on it's own and it seems silly to expend any effort at all.  This is why the jhanas are blissful - they're what happen when effort goes away completely.

The fastest way in is to pay attention in a relaxed way. Whenever you notice you aren't paying attention, concentration is revving up a little more.  Don't even think of yourself as the one doing it.  It just happens when you sit with the intention to pay attention to the breath (or whatever).  The mind naturally wanders, then it naturally comes back.  The loop gets tighter and tighter as long as the intention remains.  Eventually the loop pops itself and the mind stays steady.  That's when jhana begins.  So, the best technique is to watch the breath like watching TV.  You don't have to try to pay attention to the TV, you just do because it's interesting.  Just be interested in relaxing and breathing.