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When breathing is difficult

zenguitarzenguitar Bad BuddhistNew England Veteran

Hi Sangha, my principal form of meditation is simply to focus on my breathing, as many Buddhists do, and it works pretty well for me. However, in the past week or so I've had a cold, which makes breathing difficult and erratic, which in turn disrupts my samadhi. Is there something else I can concentrate on during meditation besides my breathing until my congested airways get unclogged? :smile:

Comments

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    @zenguitar -- There are a zillion other things you could focus on, obviously. But perhaps you could just -- temporarily -- stop focusing on anything: Just sit down, wait for the period to be over and see what happens.

    Of course, you could just stop breathing, but I understand that has a downside. :)

    lobsterzenguitar
  • 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

    I mentioned in another thread that my cold is impeding my breathing practice so I just watch my thoughts and sit serenely. There's so much more you can 'do' other than breath-watching...

    zenguitaranataman
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Perhaps the challenge is there to bring a new experience to your meditation :) I agree with the others, just sit, see what happens. In the very least, I find meditation helps me feel better by reducing tension. I find when I am sick, even minorly, I hold a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and cause myself headaches, which of course makes illness feel even worse. When I meditate those symptoms disappear. I have allergies and frequently have a stuffy nose in the morning until my meds kick in. If I am desiring to do breath meditation, instead of following at my nostrils, I use the feather meditation if I need to breathe through my mouth. Breath out, imaginary feather floats away, breathe in, feather floats to me. Be careful not to suck it in your mouth ;) lol

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

    @zenguitar said:> Hi Sangha, my principal form of meditation is simply to focus on my breathing, as many Buddhists do, and it works pretty well for me. However, in the past week or so I've had a cold, which makes breathing difficult and erratic, which in turn disrupts my samadhi. Is there something else I can concentrate on during meditation besides my breathing until my congested airways get unclogged? :smile:

    Lots of things. Bodily sensation, thoughts, feelings, a visual object like a candle or kasina, maybe some metta bhavana, or formless meditation with no object. All sort of possibilities.

    zenguitar
  • howhow Veteran
    edited March 2015

    @zenguitar

    One of the most persistent attachments that can arise in a meditation practice comes from associating some developed form of sense data with the Meditation when the practice is really about learning how** not** to molest that data.
    Your meditative job only requires your observation of what ever your sense data info simply is, not pandering to our conditioned reflexes that are forever trying to manipulate them.

    Learning how to have breathing just be what ever it is in meditation is pretty much a major
    requirement if you ever intend to have that practice serve you on your deathbed.

    zenguitarlobster
  • zenguitarzenguitar Bad Buddhist New England Veteran

    @how said:
    zenguitar
    Learning how to have breathing just be what ever it is in meditation is pretty much a major
    requirement if you ever intend to have that practice serve you on your deathbed.

    Thanks, this is probably a good idea, since my body is also wracked with coughing fits. Serenity just doesn't seem to be part of the experience lately, or it only appears in dribss and drabs.. :smile:

  • 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

    From 'New England' to 'Old England' sounds as if, even if separated by a modest stretch of water known as the Atlantic, we're suffering from the same odious impediment. Ah well, you know that old mantra... "This too shall pass... " ;)

  • zenguitarzenguitar Bad Buddhist New England Veteran

    Yes alas, it does seem like a similar affliction on either side of "the pond." :wink: :

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited March 2015

    "Is there something else I can concentrate on during meditation besides my breathing until my congested airways get unclogged?"

    Yes....Concentrate on finding a pharmacy and buy some quick acting Coldex....(I'm being serious ...Don't make such a big deal about it- Or you'll end up winding your self up)

    zenguitar
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited March 2015

    It's a good practice to meditate when sick. Not always pleasant though. If you can meditate when sick then that is a practice that can take you to sicknesses developed in old age.

  • You might do some guided meditations. At your sangha you could ask your teacher for an idea.

  • zenguitarzenguitar Bad Buddhist New England Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    You might do some guided meditations. At your sangha you could ask your teacher for an idea.

    Okay, sangha, do you have an idea? :smile:

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    Chanting or mantra meditation is good.

  • yes :) 'insight timer' has a website with guided meditations. I thought you already had a teacher.

  • zenguitarzenguitar Bad Buddhist New England Veteran

    Nope, no teacher except my Buddha nature. :smile: Thanks everyone!

  • 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

    Don't forget you also have Mara nature....

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited March 2015

    What is Mara nature? I would say Mara nature would be defilements that are like clouds in the sky. Rigdzin Shikpo says they (the kleshas such as anger etc) are not 'you' (mind or buddha nature) rather they are passing thoughts and feelings etc..

  • Following on from what @how said, which is the more skilfull capacity but not for everyone:

    Learning how to have breathing just be what ever it is in meditation is pretty much a major

    requirement if you ever intend to have that practice serve you on your deathbed.

    Find the Metta in the breath as is.

  • 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

    @Jeffrey said:
    What is Mara nature? I would say Mara nature would be defilements that are like clouds in the sky. Rigdzin Shikpo says they (the kleshas such as anger etc) are not 'you' (mind or buddha nature) rather they are passing thoughts and feelings etc..

    Until enlightenment, everyone has both.
    With enlightenment, you end up with neither.

  • zenguitarzenguitar Bad Buddhist New England Veteran

    Thich Nhat Hanh tells a very interesting story about the Buddha and Mara:

    http://plumvillage.org/transcriptions/mara-and-the-buddha-embracing-our-suffering/

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