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 Questions: What to Do With Tongue When Meditating?

Monkey tongue sticking out.I was sitting here for a few minutes… I’ve been getting the feeling to sit in silent meditation for a little while now. I’ve been doing it off and on, and being mindful sometimes throughout the day.

As I sat here an hour ago or so, I realized that usually I don’t tell new meditators who read my books – What to do with the tongue during meditation?

I hadn’t really thought about that question before now – but, now that it presented itself – I’ll see what I can say about it.

The tongue, during meditation, seems to stick at the roof of my mouth. I guess that’s the natural resting place of it. If your tongue naturally rests some other way – I think better to go with the way your tongue is naturally relaxed and doesn’t cause you to think about it.

I realized that the tip of my tongue is resting where the two big front teeth join. My tongue actually seems to be slightly between my upper and lower teeth. I’m not biting it – it isn’t that far between, but only a couple of millimeters. Now, do all tongues rest like this? I couldn’t tell you whether that is true, but mine seems to. Other times I try – my teeth are closed and the tongue just rests on the back of the front teeth where they meet, but more of the tongue is against the top front teeth.

So, no idea what your tongue is doing during meditation, but if it’s as relaxed as possible, that’s best. It doesn’t matter too much, but your mouth (lips) should probably be closed. Ideally you’re breathing through your nose easily and without effort to hold your mouth together.

Make sure your jaw is totally relaxed too.

That’s about it. Don’t copy my tongue-position if the one you have is working for you. I just thought I’d comment on the topic since I don’t think I have done so in years.

🙂

Vern

“Meditation for Beginners – a 22 Day Course” my little ebook, gives you the basics on meditation… You can find it here.

[Photo credit – masashi mochida at Flickr.com]

Meditation Tips for Advanced Students

Found on the outside of a building at Suan Mokkh Temple in Chaiya, Southern Thailand.

There are a number of things advanced meditation students are doing that are impeding their progress. Assuming you want to progress quickly through the stages of meditation and see some tangible benefit to your practice, you are always looking for new ways to go about things. Read these two meditation tips and see if they might apply to you.

Advanced meditators want a formula. They want step by step instructions to do this, that and the other thing – and a guarantee to get further than they presently are. I would love to give you that – if it worked. But really, that is not the problem. This problem is that you are not dedicated to your practice. I don’t mean you’re not sitting enough. Everyone in the far stages of the game seem to be able to sit for hours on end meditating.

What matters is not length of time spent meditating, it’s the effort you use while there. Sit and watch the breath… if thoughts or other distractions like pain, tickles, sounds, heat, cold, or other things pull you away – refocus on the breath at that tiny spot inside your nostrils. Concentrate on watching each breath come in and out right at that spot. Watch it over and over.

When explained verbally like that – it sounds easy. Guess what? All you need to do is follow that. Really, that’s just about the entire game of meditation – right there.

It is far from easy. Some find it easier than others – and jhana levels come, a lot of new experiences come… and they are on the way to wherever they are going. Most people just cannot continually refocus the mind on the breathing – time, after time, after time… thousands of times. You don’t need more instruction. You don’t need more time sitting. You just need to work while you are sitting. Work while you are doing walking meditation. Work at being mindful outside of meditation.

Another real problem for advanced meditators is – they WANT IT too much.

This might be even bigger than the previous stumbling block.

Wanting = attachment, which = failure. Failure to go forward.

Meditation requires letting go of all resistance, fluff, experiences, and attachment in the mind. Unfortunately, the vast majority of meditators across the globe first read many books and then find a group and teacher to help teach them meditation. It’s my opinion that if you do that – you’re going about meditation the wrong way.

If your entire goal, and all efforts, all thoughts, all knowledge you accumulate – is to get to first Jhana… you’re going to have a really difficult time of it. Ask the hundreds of thousands of monks in Thailand and across Asia. There are very, very few that have even experienced Jhana. Fewer still who experience it regularly.

Why is that?

Monks want it worse than any other meditators.

Instead of going about meditation like that – where you have a goal to reach Jhana or some other experience… revise your goal and give yourself half a chance.

Revise your goal to…

I’m going to meditate to find relaxation.

If you find relaxation, then you’re already winning… the goal is yours. Continue on doing it.

When you restate your goal this way, and take the focus off attaining some level of Jhana – you are reconditioning the mind in a way that can let you move forward when the time comes. You’ll need to say it over and over to yourself as a mantra so you believe it.

What will happen when you get close to Jhana is, you’ll not be thrilled about it. The goal is relaxation. First Jhana isn’t necessarily that… it’s filled with emotion really – rapturous joy. When you start to experience first jhana – you’ll let it happen and not attach to it nearly as much as if it was the goal.

When you first experience Jhana you will see – it’s maybe the most momentous experience you’ve ever had in your life – certainly the most extreme thing your consciousness has ever experienced. If your goal is to keep that up – you’ll attach to it very strongly – and it will elude you forever more.

Instead… if you make your goal relaxation… you’ll have Jhana – not be that impressed, and it will come again. Eventually 2nd, 3rd, and the rest follow. Each one you must not get too excited about – and focus just on relaxation and letting go of all hindrances that pop up – mostly attachment to getting to Jhana.

When I first started meditating I didn’t even know what Jhana was. I knew there might be strange experiences I came up against… but I knew that I should ignore them and not get carried away by them. I let them go… Sometimes if I planned to get up in a certain amount of time – and yet I was into the Jhanas – I’d just get up and go do whatever I had to do. I gave the Jhanas no respect at all. What happened then was that they came so easily I hardly needed to do anything. Really – this is one of the very little known keys to getting through Jhana levels.

See how you would have been better off to start meditating for “relaxation” as a goal – instead of attaining something?

See how much easier it is for beginners to do so before they get wrapped up in the idea that Jhana is going to save their life, and save the entire planet once enough people know about it?

I have explained the very simple process of meditation in the book at the top right column on this page. It’s cheap, and it can help you immeasurably. If you cannot afford the $2.99, write me and I’ll give it to you.