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Can you help me understand my experience in Anapanasati?

bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
edited September 2014 in Meditation

I'm practicing Anapanasati and i don't put my mindfulness on the rim of the nose where the air touches, anyway i am practicing the 1st tetrad, and i am doing my best to be mindful of knowing when i'm breathing in long and out long, in short and out short, and every in breath and out breath is new, and feels normal, there is a rough breath and a smooth breath, and different types of breath and i try to be mindful of all that, but i get to a point say after maybe after 40 minutes or so of being really mindful, and my breath changes into something different, my breath starts to bounce up and down and it feels like it is elastic,

like a rubber band, and it no longer feels like a separate in breath and out breath, and it doesn't change to short or long anymore but is consistent in a certain length, the in the in breath and out breath turn into what feels like a one single breath, this type of breath is really easy to stay mindful of when this happens, i don't even have to try to be mindful of it that much, then after a little while as continued to put mindfulness on it, i felt tranquilized in body, i felt a pleasure in my body.

is that bouncy elastic type of breath what the Buddha meant when he said experiencing the whole breath i shall breath in and experiencing the whole breath i shall breath out? And if so, does that mean when i felt pleasure in my body mean that i was tranquilizing the bodily formation and was practicing the first 4 steps in the first tetrad correctly and completely?

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Comments

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    It sounds like you're heading in the right direction, though I don't think you need to spend so long on all that initial detail. You could try a simple "resting on the breath" approach, just notice the contrast between the in and the out breath.

    bookworm
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited September 2014

    Yeah i think you are right @SpinyNorman, i remember when i first had this experience, i didn't try to focus on the details so much, it just stayed mindful of breathing in long and breathing out long, i was exactly like like resting on the breath.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @bookworm said:
    Yeah i think you are right SpinyNorman, i remember when i first had this experience, i didn't try to focus on the details so much, it just stayed mindful of breathing in long and breathing out long, i was exactly like like resting on the breath.

    When it says "breathing in long" and "breathing in short" it just means to be aware of what the breath is actually like. But yes, I think you could relax into it more, so be more intuitive, less bogged down with the detail.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    I have no trouble at all in getting this bouncy breath when i really want to, it is easy as breathing lol, i was just wondering if anyone has experienced it.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    It might just be that you are breathing really naturally and are relaxed about it. Which is how it should be! If you are getting some pleasurable feeling then pay some attention to that, with the breath continuing in the background as an anchor - that takes you into the second tetrad. The practice is better described as mindfulness with breathing, rather than mindfulness of breathing.

    bookwormdantepw
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Oh yes that makes sence, i'll do that in my next sitting, thank you SpinyNorman.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    I think my mistake was that i didn't allow myself to experience that pleasurable feeling enough the first time around, i remembered that i continued to put my mindfulness solely on the breath when i was experiencing the pleasurable feeling, i thought i might lose the pleasurable sensation when it arised if i didn't focus on my breath, i think maybe my mistake was putting to much attention on one thing.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited September 2014

    Yes, the breath can take a back seat as the practice progresses. To put it simply you could say the practice is resting with the breath and exploring different aspects of experience.

    bookwormlobster
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    My breath was moving on it's own, I really didn't have to pay attention to it at all when it became a one whole breath.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    You might find it helpful to think of the 4 tetrads as description rather than prescription, in other words not as a set of instructions but rather a description of where a good anapanasati session might lead. Alternatively you can view the 4 tetrads as describing a progression from samatha to vipassana - calm to clarity, tranquillity to insight. I haven't come across anyone who works through all 16 steps, there is inevitably a process of simplification and adaptation. You might also find it useful to contrast and compare anapanasati to other methods like skikantaza ( we've had discussions here about that recently ).

    bookwormDavid
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    You might find this talk by Ajahn Brahm helpful - it's about letting go in meditation:

    AllbuddhaBounddantepw
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    I have listened to a lot Ajahn Braham Dhamma talks, his talks have been helpful.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited September 2014

    @SpinyNorman I discovered what exactly I was doing, I practiced Anapanasati today and I realized i was simultaneously following the air flow traveling through my nose at the beginning, then to my chest for the middle and then to my stomach for the end of the in breath, then in reverse for the out breath, the stomach for the beginning and the chest for the middle and the nose for the end, all at the same time, I got the breath to be in what felt like perfect synchrony by doing it this way.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I think it's the difference between following the breath ( observing the whole cycle ) and guarding the breath ( focussing on a particular point like the nostril ).

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited September 2014

    The 3rd step in the first tetrad is experiencing the whole breath in anapanasati sutta, there is nothing said of guarding or focusing on the nostril in that sutta.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited September 2014

    I think you're getting too caught up in the technicalities of method. I'd suggest a simpler approach, just resting with the breath. View it as a journey of discovery rather than a set of instructions. It's like you want to climb a mountain but are stuck in the valley continually checking over your equipment. Have some trust in the practice and see where it takes you! Get out of that first tetrad and on to the interesting stuff!

    robotdantepw
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Im pretty sure I discovered the whole breath when I said I discovered exactly what I was doing in my comment above, I think the whole breath flows from the nose, chest, and stomach, for in breath and reverse for the out breath, it becomes bouncy and it moves on its own, I think I would call that resting on the breath

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    OK, then carry on!

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    And I know that air travels to the lungs and not the stomach but It feels like it does when it gets bouncy and whole. And thank you.

  • thank you for the video clip. Excellent advice for my meditation. Just what I needed.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman and @Allbuddhabound I was wandering about jhana and how it can be used to practice insight, and i came across this conversation on the link below, this is an interesting Analysis about jhana and insight that might interest you, it would be a smart to read it, i found it very insightful.

    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/jhana_insight/conversations/topics/2695

  • I did find it useful. I tried an Ajahn Geoff guided meditation, and I combined some of the suggestions offered by Ajahn Brahm, and I managed to experience what appears to be some deeper meditative levels than I have before.

    Using Ajahn Geoff's instruction, I then used them in a way by viewing myself as a visitor as suggested by Ajahn Brahm.

    I did find it easier to let go. I was a kindly observer of my own meditation and it helped with my attachment to experiences. Now I need to work on my attachment to experiences that I feel when I am not in a meditative state.

    Great stuff. I hope this will enrich my meditative practice. So far, so good.

    mockeymind
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited March 2015

    Has anyone else experienced the bouncy or elastic like breathing when practicing mindfulness of breathing the way that I described?

  • @AllbuddhaBound - Thank you for sharing this. Such as good guided meditation.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited March 2015

    I begin by relentlessly establishing mindfulness on breathing and after a little while breathing feels like it is elastic and whole, then breathing is happening by itself without effort on my part, the breath quite literately feels like it is a body. Is my experience what the Buddha meant when he said the body as a body, or body in the body in the first foundation of mindfulness in the anapanasati sutta?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited March 2015

    I think it just means being aware of your body. In simple terms the four tetrads of anapanasati involve using the breath as an anchor to experience and explore body and mind.
    I wouldn't get too caught up in the technicalities, the four tetrads are description and not prescription.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman

    Have you ever experienced the rubber band like feeling of the breath in your meditation before?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I'm not sure what you mean, probably we all experience the breath in different ways. I think the important thing is to really experience it in a natural and direct way, free from perceiving and conceiving.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Watch the first 12 seconds of this video to give you an idea

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited March 2015

    Sure, I understand the biology, the challenge is directly experiencing the breathing process for ourselves. In practice the breath is most obviously noticed as movement in the chest / abdomen, and at the nostrils with mouth closed.

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    The strange part is after a little while I don't really feel a beginning, and an end of the breath, all I feel is an expansion and contraction of one single breath that moves on its own, like it has it's own gravitational force.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    And why is that an issue, at all, if at all...?

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    Well I was just curious to see if anyone else experienced anything like this when practicing anapanasati.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    See it come, experience it, let it go.

    No two people will go through the same thing, exactly, anyway....
    It's just watching the breath and not clinging to watching the breath.

    Your entire experience (if you will forgive me) is irrelevant, but if you consider it significant, it actually inhibits you, and is not conducive to Mindfulness....

    Right now, every time I breathe in through my mouth, it sets off a coughing reflex.
    I can't breathe through my nose, because it's blocked by a cold.

    Anapanasati is clearly out of the question.

    A different type of Meditation must perforce come into play.

    Who cares?
    As long as..... ;)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 2015

    @bookworm said:
    The strange part is after a little while I don't really feel a beginning, and an end of the breath, all I feel is an expansion and contraction of one single breath that moves on its own, like it has it's own gravitational force.

    It sounds good, wholesome, natural and healthy.

    The breath is an excellent indicator of our being. I spent many years in a tense, breath holding, unnatural high breath. Not good on any level.

    As the importance and anchoring potential of the breath became apparent, I would say my breath moves in the way you describe, with a consequenctial improvement of mind, body and well being.

    <3

    bookworm
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    With the greatest respect - I believe you've all got it completely wrong!

    I am of the opinion that none of you are really experiencing anapanasati as @bookworm is experiencing it, and I am at a loss really to advise the right way of experiencing natural breathing. Breathing should be respected for what it is in my opinion - I can only really describe it as 'breathe IN' and 'breathe OUT', but without trying to control it - it's hard I know!; perhaps others on this forum could be more helpful in aiding breath control as I am tending to forget about breathing most of the time...

    bookworm
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I think people can involved in thinking about the breath instead of just experiencing it.

  • howhow Veteran

    @anataman said:
    With the greatest respect - I believe you've all got it completely wrong!

    I am of the opinion that none of you are really experiencing anapanasati as bookworm is experiencing it, and I am at a loss really to advise the right way of experiencing natural breathing. Breathing should be respected for what it is in my opinion - I can only really describe it as 'breathe IN' and 'breathe OUT', but without trying to control it - it's hard I know!; perhaps others on this forum could be more helpful in aiding breath control as I am tending to forget about breathing most of the time...

    @ anataman
    breath in/ breath out ...really?

    What if when you start, your lungs are already full.
    Such thoughtless advise could cause the unwary to explode or set up their entire sitting period going backwards.

    anataman
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited March 2015
    Is it possible that at a certain point with sharp mindfulness that I was no longer experiencing the breath anymore but rather my lungs expanding and contracting?
  • @bookworm said:
    Is it possible that at a certain point with continued mindfulness that I was no longer experiencing the breath anymore but rather my lungs expanding and contracting?

    Is somebody else using your mind? :p
    Why don't you tell us what was happening? :)

    [Lobster illustrates 'tough love' mode and as punishment repeats the mantra 'I must allow others to think for themselves' 108 times]

    bookwormanataman
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @bookworm said:> Is it possible that at a certain point with sharp mindfulness that I was no longer experiencing the breath anymore but rather my lungs expanding and contracting?

    What you're actually experiencing is some bodily movement and possibly the sensation of air passing through the nostrils. Anything else is imagination and conceiving, which are out of place here.

    Please just keep it simple!

  • The initial aim of anapanasati is to achieve stillness of body and mind. Once that is achieved the sankharas (phenomena) are easier to observe as they arise and pass away.

    Bhikkhu Sona has good advice.

    The following is a brief summary of instructions for meditators practicing breath meditation:

    Attend to the sensation of breath/air wherever it enters and exits the body.
    If visual perceptions arise, ignore them.
    If the mind wanders do not allow it. Return to only the point of contact of breath.
    Hold attention on the spot throughout the entire duration of in-breath and out-breaths.
    The sensation or perception of sensation of moving air will change to a static feeling, this is the sign of the mind stilling.
    Dwell on this airy, buoyant quality, which should pervade the head. One should experience a cool and airy emptiness of the head. This may extend throughout the body. This is a further "sign" of increasing stillness.
    Remain with this airy lightness as an experience to focus upon.
    All hindrances should have fallen away and the five jhana factors will be present to a degree that may be weak, medium or strong.
    Refer to the Anapanasati Sutta for further instructions.

    All of this does not mean that there is only one way to attain serenity using the breath. If someone has developed a technique that issues in jhana and which does not follow the explicit instructions that is fine too. Whatever works.
    http://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/nimitta.html

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @pegembara said:All of this does not mean that there is only one way to attain serenity using the breath. If someone has developed a technique that issues in jhana and which does not follow the explicit instructions that is fine too. Whatever works.

    "Whatever works" is an important point, we're all different. For example I recall somebody saying that they found kasina practice the most effective approach for developing jhana.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    What if you might decide to conceive of the thing(k) that you (th)funk that the breath was isn't really 'the breath', it's just the conscious awareness of a fought/falt/footfall/thoughtful/thought or whatever aasociative notion you attach to the action or experience!

    So reflecting on what is anapanasati in this way, just makes you a little more aware of what is escaping from you and coming back to you...

    Is it it or something other other than a conscious fought/falt/footfall/thoughtful/thought?

    I don't know, but I know breathing happens spontaneously... Except when I try to hold onto it and then I get this explosive urge to exhale (or inhale), and I explosively inhale (or exhale), which suggests, there is nothing in I that controls 'THE BREATH" it does what it is going to do...

    ...\lol/...

    bookworm
  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    @anataman said:
    I don't know, but I know breathing happens spontaneously... Except when I try to hold onto it and then I get this explosive urge to exhale (or inhale), and I explosively inhale (or exhale), which suggests, there is nothing in I that controls 'THE BREATH" it does what it is going to do...

    ...\lol/...

    You explained it perfectly, that is how I saw it, I see that the breath which the Buddha said is a body, I see that it is not self.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    so are you happy now @bookworm?

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited March 2015

    I like to think that the body as a body is form, which is one of the 5 khandhas, if i'm practicing correctly, which i can't yet say for certain as of yet, but if i'm practicing correctly, then yes i'm happy, but time will tell though, and thank you for sharing @anataman, I appreciate it.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    I enjoy and rejoice in the world of form (to keep balance 'and emptiness!'), as what else is there to reflect upon...

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    edited March 2015

    @bookworm said:
    I like to think that the body as a body is form, which is one of the 5 khandhas

    But i'm just speculating, I read the 5 khandhas are visible in the first 4 form jhanas, called (rūpa) jhanas, and 4 khandhas in the other 4 jhanas called the formless jhanas (arūpa)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I think the focus of experience is increasingly towards the mind in these states, with body awareness dropping off.

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