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When to let go?

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by ukn742, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. ukn742

    ukn742 Member

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    Hello,
    I recently starting meditating and I have a few immediate questions.
    After about 10 minutes, I start to really feel something happening – my body is very still, my breath is short and there’s a sensation that I am really small, and the place I am in is huge. I am trying to understand where does that fit in the longer process of meditation, if it has a name or definition.
    So I read that you have to be aware of your breathing, but not intensely focus on it; but the idea is to eventually let it go, and not “think” about the breathing either. My confusion is caused by some sources (e.g. Deepak’s Introduction to Meditation) which say that when imaginings or thoughts come in, you go back to being aware of your breathing, resetting yourself to where you started.
    So do I let it go eventually or I always go back to being aware of my breathing? It is tempting to indulge in the sensations, and not being mindful of my breathing, but I want to be disciplined about it. Is there such a thing, or I just do what feels like?
    If it’s the question of timing, when is best to let go of thinking of breathing? How can I determine what are just imaginings and thoughts, and what is a state of meditation where I need not to think about anything at all (not even my breathing)?
    Many thanks
    ukn742
     
  2. GilesC

    GilesC Member

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    Hi ukn742 and welcome to the project meditation community,

    Yes, it's ok to let it go eventually, and this will be a time when you reach complete awareness. When this happens, if it's something new to us, our mind often kicks in and says "wow, what's this" which then breaks through the awareness and it seems to disappear and then we get distracted (and disappointed) trying to get back to that state, which we can't do when we're trying to, as that's the mind at play.

    So, recognise the difference between putting your focus on your breath in terms of thinking about it, because thinking about it will try and control the breathing and make it awkward and forced; and the focus of simple awareness on the breath, just watching it breathing in... and out... however it needs to. It's subtle but there is a difference between just witnessing the breath and putting full focus of the mind on it. Ideally you want to just witness it.

    When the awareness goes from the breath, if it has been distracted by thoughts, use those thoughts as a trigger to recognise that your mind has taken control and bring your awareness back to your breath again. If the awareness has gone from the breath, but is that sense of complete awareness, then simply be aware, as that is the deep state of meditation (you'll simply know when it happens)

    Hope that helps

    Hugs

    Giles
     
  3. ukn742

    ukn742 Member

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    Hey, thanks for that. I can now totally relax about it and now I know if it's meant to happen, it'll happen. I thought I was being overindulgent, but it appears I was getting into a state of meditation of some sort for sure, so if I can stay there, without thinking about anything else, I perhaps don't need to reset myself to square one. My problem last night were these questions (I asked here), but other than that, I think I was comfortable not to be aware of the breathing, but also comfortable to be "spaced out" - by that I mean I wasn't thinking about anything else either. I almost couldn't help but forget about the breathing, so it seems it's a good sign somewhat.

    You're absolutely right though about experiencing something unusual and getting completely out of meditation as a result of the mind getting busy, and then getting disappointed and then ending up trying. Will try again tonight - no distractions :)

    Thanks again
     
  4. Bryan555

    Bryan555 Member

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    Hi ukn743...

    Just a quick comment, if I may. Yes, there is a wide difference between observing the breath, and trying to control it. That said, however, we must remember that observation -- in itself -- ALWAYS changes the object being observed.

    Breathing is normally an unconscious act. As soon as you make that act "conscious", it immediately changes its nature...no matter what your intention may be.

    I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But if you don't realize that it's inevitable, you can twist yourself into a lot of confusion about it. You notice the change, so you wonder: "Am I controlling my breath?" You are not; you are observing. But that fact DOES change the breath.

    Kind of a funny conundrum. The solution is simple: Observe the breath. Observe the change in it. And don't worry about it.

    Best of luck...:cool:
     
  5. ukn742

    ukn742 Member

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    I understand, I think. Initially, when I started meditating, I found it very difficult to simply be aware of the breathing, but without putting any mind to it. However, I couldn't quite grasp the idea of what was literally required, so I thought I'll do the best I can to not let the mind think of anything else other than the breath, and slowly I'll figure out how to let go of that too. One has to start somewhere, and this is where I started. I think, in an abstract kind of way, I know where that gap is where one is aware of the breath but really, not. But when I start meditating, the mind is so busy that I literally focus on the breath, then slowly it's easier to let it go.

    My obstacle recently has been such that I did manage to let go of my awareness of the breathing, but what came forth was unfamiliar and stimulated my mind which made me wonder whether to go back to breathing (and at the moment, I'd say yes, because I already snapped out of it), or to absorb the visions and feelings. Hopefully in a few days the spaced out feeling will become familiar so I can let it brush past me rather than alert me to its nature and make me consciously think what to do.

    thanks very much for your input... it's all very useful, and best of all, I feel that I get it.
     
  6. TurkeyOnRye

    TurkeyOnRye Member

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    Meditation is like peeling away the layers of an onion. The only way I've ever made progress in meditation was by dispensing with the formalities and diving in head-first into unknown water. It's hard for beginners to get anywhere because they continuously hit the reset button once they're making progress. To progress in meditation requires an enduring curiosity and not immediately grasping for the first goody that comes down the belt. There's more...much more. Consciousness is like a light with an unknown source. But you can tell when you're getting closer because it shines brighter and brighter.
     

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