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vipassana - no sensation

I usually practice samatha vipassana in the tradition of Mahasi Sayadaw but I decided to try some body scans Goenka style. So to begin I sat and concentrated on the moustache area for 10 hours over 4 days and still I felt nothing there. I dont know why. Usually when doing body scans I barely feel anything at all in the part I am focused on but quite often will feel something somewhere else. Like right now as I write this I feel an itch on my chest and my back. Im not sure why I can't feel anything when I am focused on an area. Anybody can please advise?

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2016

    Don't flog a dead under-nose caterpillar.
    ... it might be easier (a traditional practice) to focus on the sensation of the breath on the nostril, through the nostil or on the upper lip.

    ... or you can just see where the mind decides to alight in the body and focus there until it moves ...

  • ZaniaZania Explorer

    @lobster said:
    Don't flog a dead under-nose caterpillar.
    ... it might be easier (a traditional practice) to focus on the sensation of the breath on the nostril, through the nostil or on the upper lip.

    ... or you can just see where the mind decides to alight in the body and focus there until it moves ...

    I also focused on the nostrils and the sensation is so subtle that its too difficult to remain focused. I feel slight coolness on way in and nothing on way out. So i gave up and have started focusing on abdomen again as instructed by Mahasi Sayadaw. Maybe I should just keep doing what works for me. The abdomen sensations are much easy to notice for me and so I can stay focused more. Its just I hear so much about Goenka style and so occasionally I try it but never can seem to get it.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I prefer Ajahn Brahm's approach, which is basically to just feel the sensation of breathing where it is most obvious to you. This may well be the abdomen or chest. With anapanasati the aim is simply to pay attention to the bodily sensation of breathing, there is no need to get bogged down in technicalities.
    So I would suggest a simpler approach, and one that actually works for you.

    lobster
  • It is the discipline, focus and attention that is important as @SpinyNorman says. Always do what works, later things may change, and what did not work might in time ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I also had trouble with the body scan when I first began. By intense focus I find of forced the issue and I now have very good awareness in most parts of my body, but it was quite uncomfortable. Not sure if I would recommend that approach to others, in hindsight it wasn't very gentle or very much "working along with what is".

    You could try external touching to go along with the body scan, touch usually awakes the sensations in a given body part.

    lobster
  • I rather like the body touching idea.

    Body/physical awareness comes easier to those who have been practicing awhile or used to body awareness training in Chi Kung, yoga Nidra or pranayama, or led meditations one can find on Youtube.

    @Zania said:

    I also focused on the nostrils and the sensation is so subtle that its too difficult to remain focused. I feel slight coolness on way in and nothing on way out.

    Not too tight. Relaxed attention. In fact ...

    So I gave up and have started focusing on abdomen again as instructed by Mahasi Sayadaw. Maybe I should just keep doing what works for me. The abdomen sensations are much easier to notice for me and so I can stay more focused.

    You are doing fine. <3
    The perfect focus can be a spot on the ground, the abdomen, a corpse (not sure where you get those) ;) a mandala, a sound etc.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:> You could try external touching to go along with the body scan, touch usually awakes the sensations in a given body part.

    Yes, I have done that with beginners, getting them to touch their leg or arm with a finger tip, and then applying a little pressure. I also use the bodily sensation of pressure resulting from weight/gravity, it is always present and changes according to posture.

    Generally though I think it is worth reflecting on the purpose of such exercises, which I would suggest is about developing insight, not merely body awareness. Personally I'm not sold on the usefulness of lengthy body scans, I reckon there are quicker and easier ways to get to the point.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Lengthy body scans i have been told miss the purpose - it seems to be a bad thing to end up in meditative states through a focus on feeling or touch. But as a centering exercise in order to get ready for a deeper meditation or sleep it works fine.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I would call it re-establishing mindfulness in the body, and this is something that can be done quite quickly.

    I went on an MBSR day years ago and it included a really long body-scan, well over an hours. After about 10 minutes I was done, but the woman leading it said "Now we're up to our left knee". I was completely bored by that point and started thinking about ice-cream and other nice things. Later on she handed out grapes in preparation for a mindful eating exercise. However she gave no introduction to the exercise, just assumed everyone knew, so I just scoffed mine straight away, just to make the point. She gave me another grape, but still no explanation, so I scoffed that one too. Eventually she got the message.
    Amateurs! :p

    Walkerlobstermarcitko
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    I would call it re-establishing mindfulness in the body, and this is something that can be done quite quickly.

    do you think this is 'kaye kayanu passi viharathi/establishing mindfulness in the body'

    can you explain this a bit further please

    ... Eventually she got the message.

    what exactly the message she got? sorry for being a dumb-ass

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @upekka said:

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I would call it re-establishing mindfulness in the body, and this is something that can be done quite quickly.

    do you think this is 'kaye kayanu passi viharathi/establishing mindfulness in the body'

    can you explain this a bit further please

    Just paying attention to bodily sensations.

    ... Eventually she got the message.

    what exactly the message she got? sorry for being a dumb-ass

    She got the message that she wasn't explaining the exercises properly...she wasn't clear about the purpose of these exercises,

  • @SpinyNorman said:

    Just paying attention to bodily sensations.

    in other words, meditation (paying attention to) on six sense bases

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @upekka said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    Just paying attention to bodily sensations.

    in other words, meditation (paying attention to) on six sense bases

    Yes, bodily sensation is one of the sense bases.

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