Breathing Meditation Phrases that Help | 1998

Breathing In and Out Phrases to Help Attention and Numbness

I’ve made a commitment to dedicate some time to meditation a few times per week for a half an hour or however much time I have to do so. I just finished an hour session.

I was able to stay focused on my breathing and on my own thoughts. Outside noises didn’t interfere much at all after 10-15 minutes. I was able to continue through the neighbor’s dog’s persistent barking without getting upset at all.  I was able to remain very still and comfortable throughout the hour.  I am really calm when I get out of it too.

Right now I feel a real sense of tranquility and evenness. I am not high, nor low. Just even and tolerant and unstressed. I experienced the numbness stage today. My hands were numb though almost the entire hour, and at one point I felt my mind try to leave the confines of my body.

At a couple points my body started to dissolve from feeling and all there was that existed was mind. I am going to read more about non-attachment tonight from either Thich Nhat Hanh’s or one of the books that Dr. Supawanich gave me. I used breathing in I smile to myself, breathing out I relax for a bit, as well as one I made up, breathing in I don’t attach to anything.

Breathing out I let everything go…  I like this one a lot…

Meditation Journal Entry 25 | 1998

I just meditated for 25-40 mins. In the blue room of the house.   The mind became calm eventually–but followed many thoughts.  Probably because this one is tired.  One felt numbness.  One was presented with many visual photos –mostly of demons and ghouls–like stuff at an antique shop we saw days ago and the Aztec stuff. One saw the mind as a mailbox to put (hang) thoughts onto.  Mind is a depository to hang things to use later.

One saw thoughts being hung up on the box as one let go of each one in the mind.  One felt some joy today as one realized that we all are human.  One felt very happy to be alive and openly smiled a few times.  One felt numb, light, and unbothered by outside noises–on just kept bringing the focus back to breathing.  The butt hurts and the foot fell asleep–floor is very hard here. I say these silently to myself as I watch the breath:

Breathing in One smiles to the self.

Breathing out one relaxes.

or

In:  Non-attachment

Out: Let it all go

Day 11 – Intensive Meditation Practice

May 2009 Intensive Meditation | Day 11

Today started out with rain, ended with rain and had lots of rain in the middle. It’s unbelievable that it could rain every single day for weeks at a time. It’s more unbelievable that there are so many people with motorcycles here that just ignore it. I have trouble ignoring it sometimes since drivers are not very courteous or skilled here in Thailand – especially around the crowded tourist areas.

The other thing about rain is that it affects my eating times. I don’t want to drive in it – so I just sit here on the computer until it stops. I have no refrigerator or stock of food in the house, but that will change today. I realized last night as it was pouring down rain at 8 pm in the dark on the way back from picking up my g/f (commonlaw wife) that I really need to be smarter about having food IN the apartment that we can eat so we don’t need to drive another 6 km out of our way to get to a restaurant in the rain to eat. I’ll load up on things we can eat today… tuna in cans, instant noodles, maybe I’ll splurge and get a Skippy Peanut Butter jar – since I seem to be having protein cravings a lot over this past year. We have cheap versions of RITZ crackers that go well with the pb.

(note 27 Feb 2019 – we were living on $300 per month from my wife’s job at a local travel agency. I was making little as I was trying to ramp up some websites to provide income. We had very scarce food!)

So – I worked on the web sites a bit today and finalized the sales pages for the sites I want to get rid of. I am not much into writing blog posts and they definitely take me away from other things I could be doing – namely, writing books. I have this idea that I’m a book writer, not a blog writer. We’ll see if that’s true or not if I can sell these blogs and get out from under them. 🙂

I went to the temple around 3 pm. There was no rain at that moment. I ate som tam at the stand there and she gave me day old sticky rice which was really lame. I left it for her to reuse if she wants. I made a mental note not to go there anymore for som tam. There are only two good som tam places in the whole area, that was never one of them but it was convenient if I hadn’t eaten – again, because of rain!

So – I grabbed 2 cookie packs for 5 baht (15 cents) each, 2 raisin breads for 10 baht each and headed up the mountain. At the top, I met with many people who were in the mood to talk. Girls from Poland, Czechoslovakia… wow. A young couple from New Zealand.

Then, I was walking down to my private meditation spot and I saw my favorite monk – Pra Pornpitak. He’s a 44-year-old monk that has been at the temple for 17 years I believe. He loves to practice English with me – but usually we end up speaking much more Thai. He’s a good teacher – but WOW does he speak fast. I have a lot of trouble understanding when he forgets to tone it down a bit and goes warp-speed.

With him today was a young, 20 yr old monk that was a monk for 3 days. He would be a monk only for 7 days. Apparently, he was going to be married and it was a good idea for him to ordain for a week. He spoke no English but enjoyed my speaking Thai as he could finally converse with a foreigner!

We talked over an hour and it was getting dark. It was really cold and windy. There was rain surrounding the mountain – on all sides. Amazing to watch the bands of rain moving with the wnd over the countryside and town.

I walked down the steps in mindfulness and told some people that were going up that it was going to be dark in 30 minutes – they might want to rethink their trek because they’d get stuck in pitch black on the steps – not a good idea, they’re pretty treacherous.

I drove back to the room, put on some warm clothes and raincoat and proceeded to get soaked through while picking up my friend. Her name is Nou. Like new. But with a rising tone at the end. It means mouse.

Day 28 – Intensive Meditation Practice (Last 10 Days)

May 2009 Intensive Meditation | Day 28

It’s Friday. I spent about 10 days of being more quiet – not talking when I usually would have. Going inside instead of moving the mouth for no good reason. I realized early on in these 10 days that I needed to speak just to be cordial to people I met during the day. So, I spoke when I had to and not when I didn’t have to. ‘Have to’ meaning whether or not someone expected a response from me and wouldn’t understand if I didn’t give one. My friends understand. But, strangers?

[was a photo here]

Large queen ant – really nice colors and it was as long as my thumb is wide.
I found it under my motorcycle seat and put it in my helmet for some pics.

 

There were a couple moments of profound stillness while sitting recently. Previously I believed, or, never questioned really – that I needed to sit in a certain posture in order to meditate, focus on the breath, or be still. I’ve experimented with some other positions and found them to be much more comfortable than sitting in a half-lotus on the concrete or tiled floor, as is usually the case in Thailand. There aren’t rugs anywhere here.

As I said in a previous post – I found a flat concrete step that I sat at a few times. Like sitting on a small chair, my feet on the ground and my butt on this raised (14″?) step and lower back supported by a square column behind me. I placed my hands in my lap similar to what I do as I sit in the half-lotus – and it’s a really comfortable position.

Then I found a better position.  There is an altar at the highest spot on the mountain at Tiger Cave temple… It has a Buddha, a ganesh, and a Chinese or Indian saint of some sort – he’s memorialized various places around the temple but I don’t know his name. They are all on a raised platform about 4 feet off the level one stands at. If you walk around to the back there is a small place to sit behind the altar which faces some sheer limestone rock faces and if it’s cloudy it can be shady and a cool breezy place to sit. In the past I’ve sat in a half-lotus here and been comfortable enough.

However, recently I started just sitting in a normal sitting position, legs hanging off the platform. Dangling off I guess you could say. I rest my back fully flat against the vertical wall and close or open my eyes and watch as the body goes relaxed… then the mind stills. It’s a really nice position. I was able to sit like that without much back pain for an hour and 20 minutes once and a few times around 40 minutes. In the past I’ve not sat much past 30 minutes.

I still don’t know if there’s any reason to sit longer than 30 minutes. Well, there isn’t. But, if I have the time I allow myself to really relax and recuperate from my trip or trips up the mountain.

I’ve been speaking in Thai quite a bit to the monks and visitors I see during the day. Originally I studied vocabulary words and got the first 1000 words down pretty well. But, for the past 18 months I’ve not tried to learn new words. I realized I probably should as it’s difficult explaining some things to people with what few words I know. General conversations go fine – but it’d be nice to go a bit deeper, especially when talking with the monks about states of mind and things.

Again I’ve been offered a chance to see the private meditation platform that exists on a small hill (40m vertical elevation) close to the foothills area. Every time I go up the padlock is locked – sometimes from the other side – so I know someone is meditating there and it’s an active spot. Pra Pornpitak offered to take me next time we meet at the bottom of the mountain – problem is, we’re always at the top when we see each other.

My friend is going away for a couple days so I’ll have a chance to stay overnight at the top of the mountain. I’m looking forward to that. It’s the quietest place I know of to sit or do walking meditation. Would be nice to go for hours without seeing anyone up there. Sometimes, like this week especially, there’ve been few tourists. Farangs (western tourists) have gone home for the most part and it’s become almost a ghost town in some areas. I like it better like this.

I don’t know if my mind state is the same as it’s been or if I’m just noticing differences more… It’s really still. It’s an effort to bring up thought for most things except those that get me emotional. I have a couple things I notice that bother me and fire up the emotional fire and those things come up quickly and though I see them for what they are – they continue unabated for a minute, five minutes or so and then finally go away. There doesn’t seem to be anything that has the power to affect me much longer than that. Nothing.

I’ve had some trials and nothing affects my mind for more than 10 minutes. Most things are gone in an instant. An example is driving as I’ve said many times before I think in my journal already. Some Thai people are clue-less and that is the reason I see the results of so many accidents each month. I’ll be during the average month I see 5 horrible accidents just after the fact. I see one happen once every two months maybe. During some months – especially rainy months I see 10-15 accidents.

Anyway, so the prospect of becoming the victim of one is high in my mind because I’m on a motorbike and most of the accidents involve a motorbike and a car, truck or dumptruck. If someone does something stupid to endanger me on the motorbike my temper flares instantly and in that moment I could whack someone on the head with a stick I’m so enraged. Thai people as a culture don’t value life very highly, not their own and not others. It’s fate, it’s karma if death or accident catches up to you. A Thai might, in all seriousness just think of it as outside his/her control. They drive as they wish, some of them, without a thought in their mind about their own driving habits affecting others. I see it on a daily basis.

So, while I don’t value my life so highly – it’s neither here nor there for me, I do value staying out of pain highly. That hasn’t gone away. I still “avoid pain and seek pleasure” like Freud postulated… Death, if it came quick and without a highly painful experience is welcome anytime. It’s not something I think about. Pain is something I think about sometimes. 🙂  But, pain as an experience has changed for me recently too. There is something about pain that is temporary now – it’s not all consuming. It’s as if I’m able to step back from it… like it’s external to me in a sense. I realized this picking up a hot pot of soup by the metal. It was extremely hot – but I didn’t react – I just continued to put it on the table where I was going. Previously maybe I’d have screamed and dropped it or thrown it on the table. It was kind of taken like, pain is – so, just continue what you were doing. In this case, it didn’t have the power to cause the mind to ripple much at all… much less react.

So, while I’m ready to beat someone senseless in the instant someone drives like a nut endangering me and immediately afterward after a few minutes it’s gone and I’m driving without thought again – nothing really stays, emotional or not. Nothing has the power to produce much thought on its own. The underlying state is stillness. Emptiness I guess you might say. I seem to be operating on just memory. Another example.

I went to the restroom. I used it. I sprayed off. In Thailand we spray the bottom of “us” with a dishwasher type spray nozzle. It really cleans one up. I then washed some plates in the back area. I walked toward the front of the apartment and as I passed the room with the towel I grabbed a towel and wiped my backside until dry. I hung the towel and went to the front to put dishes in the spot they usually are.

I realized as I was wiping my butt, that I didn’t think anything – I’m just operating straight from memory. Thought is not part of the general goings on now. I respond according to what memory tells me I usually do.

As I write this there is very little thought going on. I am writing straight from memory. I’m not actively thinking, playing with ways to say something, or trying to come across in a certain way, style, or with a certain effectiveness… I’m just putting down digitally what is in my memory – almost without thought at all. When I stop typing – there is no thought. I’m aware of other things going on when these fingers stop typing something – cars passing, saws running for construction in the back… birds chirping, the fan going… but there’s no thought about any of it.

Sometimes I put music on – my favorite group of all time must be “The English Beat”. They have a complicated music full of beats and changes to the beat. It’s really fun music that I never tire of – even after 20 years of listening to their same 50 songs. In the past after I’ve listened to great music, it stays in my head. I mind hum it, sing it or find it playing in my head on auto-pilot for hours… maybe at night when I’m sleeping – It is replaying over and over in my mind.

Now? Nothing. When the music stops, it stops. Nothing carrying over – no thought continuing it… it’s just done.

It’s a fascinating state to be in – and yet, while in it – it’s nothing. It’s not fascinating, scary, weird, or fun.

It just is as it is.

I realize though if I were looking at someone else functioning like this – and I was my normal thought-filled self that I would find it very strange that someone was operating like that. I’d wonder if they were OK. If the person was normal…

Here, now, as it is – I don’t ask myself those questions – it just is. Nothing to judge about it. Nothing to compare to except when my memory realizes in a split second that “usually” I have thought running through my mind – pointless thoughts, my voice asking me questions, comparing things – finding the best way to go about something… planning some future event… dissecting some conversation…

When I talk to the monks at the top of the mountain – the most conversation I get all day – sometimes an hour or more… and I stop, they go back down the stairs or need to pray or collect donations from the donation boxes… I’ll go to sit and sometimes I realize – my memory tells me – usually, in the past – this was impossible. Your mind would be ruminating over dozens – hundreds of parts of the conversation to see what you could have said better. Asking yourself, What did he mean by this…? by that?

But the mind is perfectly still now – none of that. I can have the most engaging conversation with someone  – a monk or someone from Poland, Czech Republic or wherever… and go sit with a blank mind 3 minutes later and not have to calm the mind – it’s calm like a cup of mercury. Nothing much can make it vibrate to produce thought…

I remember that this is strange. But right now – as I experience it – not strange at all. Just is. It’s fine. It’s normal. ‘Tamada’ Thais’ say. Normal operating procedure… or, ‘usually’.

There is still some thought… it can come up. I can force it up. I can question in my head – or ask questions of myself and answer them. But, the impetus to ask them doesn’t arise often at all. I think the most common impetus or invitation to start thought comes from asking myself – now what?

Once I’ve chosen something to do whether it’s shower, write a journal entry, clean the motorbike, go to the store, get some exercise, or something else… thought will probably be absent during that activity… and then the question might come up – what next? Or maybe, I just operate on memory from there – If I go to exercise then memory tells me after I exercise I shower… so I might return to the apt. to shower. I might then feel hungry. I’ll go to eat. I might need to pick up my friend after work – I’ll go do that. Then, I can just follow what she ‘needs’ to do… I don’t need to ask myself anymore. I’m following her plan – and that’s just as good as any plan.

So – this is what I’m experiencing lately…

Just now I looked around the room to see if memory was jogged for anything I should do today. I saw the VCD’s – movies on cd-rom that we rented from the store I need to return today. I don’t have any cash so I’ll withdraw 500 thb to use for food, gas, and oil change for the motorbike…

So, I’ll do those things. I will also outline some chapters of a book I’m writing at some point today. My friend comes home late tonight – 9:30 pm so I’ll go to the temple from 4 until 9:00 perhaps, bringing some rambutan to snack on while I’m there. Maybe I’ll write the book on the mountain when it’s quiet. Probably will feel the state of mind that is conducive to sitting … maybe not sit – just stand open-eyed and experience things in the field of view without naming them… without thinking about them – just looking and seeing…

I’ve just produced a lot of thought to guide me during the day… It doesn’t hurt to produce thought now – it is difficult though. Usually thought just pops up as a result of things that are bothering us, things we notice, things we question, things we like or dislike, things that we feel a need to do…

Without any of that – how to produce thought? That’s what I mean – strange – it’s hard to get it to come…

Ok then – bye for now… Maybe more photos coming. I remembered I haven’t shown any for a while here, though I’ve taken some.

sawatdee krup

Update 27 Feb 2019

I just found this ‘draft’ in my wordpress dashboard. I found a lot of them. This is the first day of the flat-mind experience I think. I mean, there had been minutes and hours of it at times before, but this is when it became permanent. Unfortunately, I didn’t copy over the exact date of it happening to this new draft. These posts were published on one of my other websites previously. I’ll have to see if I have the info somewhere else. This was sometime in 2008 or 2009. Probably 2009.

It’s funny because for the last few years I’ve asked myself a few times – what happened to bring this on, and I couldn’t think of anything. I had completely forgotten about this series of days I called “Intensive Meditation.” you can read all that I wrote during that time here.

I just asked my wife if she remembers that time, and she does. She said I was in a different state of mind with all the meditating. Funny… I haven’t remembered for years, but now that I read these posts I wrote back then, it comes back to me.

So, yeah, there was some preliminary ‘event’ that brought on this process. Or, the process was coming on anyway, and it compelled me to meditate often over this time period.

***

The following are descriptions from photos I posted that I must have lost. 😛

A baby gecko just minutes old after hatching from egg.
It could already run and climb walls. HOW did it know how?

Buddha at top of Tum Sua mountain.

Some sharp clouds the other day.

A Ganesh – Indians hold this symbol in high esteem…
so do Thai Buddhists (Theravada)

Lotus ready to bloom…

A meditation spot I use that’s hidden
(top layer of brick has a flat spot).
It’s cool and shady before 4 pm.

A dog at the top of the mountain.
He jumps all over me until I give him his box of milk.
He devours it.

Nou has been cooking at home on the weekends
now since she has 2 days off a week.
This new job is good for her. For us.

Group of statues at the base of a Boddhi tree.

Tum Sua from the top looking down. The chedi is still under
construction. Maybe another 6 months?

Not sure you can see the chedi and Buddha at the top of the mountain.
It’s 270m vertical – about 810 feet. It seems much higher as you walk it
in Thailand’s heat and humidity. Bring water for the trip up. There’s
usually cold water at the top for free.

 

Day 1 – Intensive Meditation Practice

I thought for a couple minutes – what to call this that I’ve started. I’m calling it intensive practice for lack of a better phrase coming to mind. Is it intensive – I guess. But I’m not really intent on anything. If that makes sense. It’s intensive just because I’ll make it a focus now. It’s been in the background for so many years, I’ve not regularly sat much at all in 10 years. This will be a more intensive practice than I’ve had in 10 years, that’s all.

Starting today I want to focus daily on being mindful of the present moment and probably do some sitting and walking meditation everyday.

The mind – thoughts and ego, are nearly absent lately. When I’m quiet. When I’m not quiet and listening to the mp3s I brought from home and singing or thinking about the past – mind is there. It’s here when there are things going on – when I’m quiet, it’s gone. When I try to focus on the breath as I was able to in the past – I cannot. “I” cannot. There seems not to be an “I” when I want one – when it’s quiet and I want to focus on breath. So meditation becomes almost the same as mindfulness of the present moment, there is no mind and only direct experience – unfiltered by the mind.

I differentiate the two – mindfulness of present moment and meditation because the level and length of time I can stay mindful of the moment is extended during meditation. I’m doing nothing but just sitting or walking during meditation and it’s much easier to remain in a thoughtless, mindless state for a longer period of time than if I’m going about daily activities.

So today I did some sitting meditation. My back was extremely sore and yet after 15 minutes or so I was able to see it for what it was – nothing – and watch other mind objects or sensory objects going on. Birds seemed to be all over, I heard chirps of many kinds. The cicadas have come back after a short time away during the rainy season. They are like mindfulness bells. They have a gentle sound when they’re far away. When they’re 20 feet away it’s like fingernails on chalkboard. People would talk, cameras would click. The wind was very strong – 40mph gusts that sometimes were sustained for a minute or more.

After the pain wasn’t the main focus the arms and feet disappeared. Meaning – there was no feeling that they existed. If you haven’t read any of my journal articles or seen video or listened to mp3’s about what happens during meditation this is a routine experience. It usually starts in the feet or hands and goes inward, numbing everything… sometimes the entire body feels as if it’s not there anymore. Like I don’t have a body. It’s strange to write, but the experience is quite ‘normal’ now since it has happened many times.

In this case it didn’t progress to cover the body – it just stayed – arms, hands, feet and sometimes legs were absent. The wind was so strong that it was felt with the hair on my arms and legs. I said somethign about that in the video – but didn’t finish. I started to talk about bicycle racing – when I was shaving my hair on my arms and legs – and how it made me feel so slippery while facing a headwind. Any wind, wasn’t felt at all. It’s a great morale booster when cycling or swimming, not to feel the resistance, but more so – not to have the mind create mental resistance. The wind is not much to overcome, but the mind makes it into this wall pushing you back – and it’s quite a dramatic effect a little bit of wind could have.

So, I thought about that as the wind was blowing so hard it felt as if it’d take me as a kite off the top of the mountain. I wished for it for a brief second.

I will probably shave my arms and legs today or tomorrow if my razors are sharp enough. I anticipate sitting at same spot a few times a week and it would be nice not to feel the wind so much.

Anyway, so – I made a video about the experience… I’ll try to make a video each day – and pull out just the audio for those of you that just want to listen. The video portion won’t be of anything spectacular. Today’s video was taken just walking through the jungle in the foothills area of some limestone karsts here in Krabi, Thailand.

Day 1 audio only (3.5Mb)

After the videos were made I went to a quiet walk through the forest that I know of away from the temple. It’s only a couple hundred meter walk, but it’s almost always free of other hikers and cars, trucks and motorbikes aren’t heard.

At the end of that trail it leads to a stream. I sat on the raised wooden walkway and watched the crabs below. There were so many different types. In Florida we have a couple kinds of crab that can be seen if you sit down near the beach. There must have been 20 different kinds in the small area around me.

Thailand is like that… the variety of wildlife is amazing. Just yesterday I saw a walking stick that was about 11 inches stretched out (pic below) and another colorful blue-green beetle that I’ve not seen before. Oh – I also had a spider jump on me in my room that I’ve not seen before. Oh wait, I saw another spider on the steps at the temple that I’d not ever seen before. And yet another I just remembered – a very large mosquito – as big as my hand, I think a mosquito – I took a photo – also below.

If you’re looking, you’re going to find unique bugs in Thailand. Just one of the bonuses of living here. To me anyway!

So I noticed as the day went on – the mind started to rebel at being mindful so much. There was some anger that it was being made to be present in the moment all the time. Yes, not joking. It was as if it was rebelling. There was still ego left – and it didn’t want to be subjugated like this for so long. I think that will increase as time goes on here, at least for a little while – then it magically disappears. I had a similar thing happen so many years ago. The mind furiously rebelled at being made to be quiet – it was much more difficult then – but, it reached a point where the ego dissolved enough that it offered no resistance anymore. Every sitting session or period of mindfulness was without resistance of that type after that point…

So, interesting to see it arise – and it was difficult not to just throw in the towel and say – Oh, forget it! What am I meditating for again? WHY? What is the point? Where is this going?

I watched those reactions arise and let them stay as long as they did – and then they went. Amazing mind processes… good to start to get to know it again on this intimate level… as a subject… an experiment.

Photos from today below:

Buddhist shrine at Wat Tum Sua foothills, Krabi, Thailand.
The foothills area is where 8 monks live in kutis (huts) and also in makeshift
rooms inside the caves. This shrine pictured is at the base of a 800 foot
(270m) limestone karst. Kids always run around on the marble floor here.

 

Huge mosquito or other bug, Thailand.
This was the massive bug. I think it’s a male mosquito – not sure though.
It was as big as my hand – this pic is not lifesize, it’s too small!

 

Rambutan, exotic fruit of Thailand.
It’s a happy time when rambutans come into season! I bought a kilogram
of them today – they were so delicious. But, the sweetest and biggest ones
are coming in the next month or so. The best rambutans come from Ban Na San
District, just south of Surat Thani. They have a rambutan festival there yearly.

 

Walking stick on wire above Krabi, Thailand.
Here is the largest walking stick I’ve ever seen – 11 inches I’m guessing.
This is 2nd walking stick I’ve seen at the top of the mountain.