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Old 10-04-2019, 03:19 PM
janielee janielee is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,886
Second Gem and sky123 as well.


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Old 13-04-2019, 12:13 PM
Gem Gem is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 18,870
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I should at least attempt to articulate the issue of stress.

The workings of this kind of meditation are geared to purification of the mind, so the experience is a healing. It is akin to when you have a surgery and the surgeon cuts a very deep wound so that the malady can be taken out. In the case of meditation you are the surgeon and patient both. The surgeon is developed in skill and works with tremendous care, just as does the wood-turner in that much discussed analogy. In the meditation we are developing the skill while simultaneously performing the operation, and can only feel our way through it as best we can - so we take care, do our best, and continue honing our ability.

Before commencing meditation, we don't know any better because we are not as conscious of ourselves as we are after commencing. When anything unpleasant arises in our experience, we react with aversion while simultaneously distracting ourselves with available pleasure. For example, a person harbours old trauma, and each time a glimpse of it appears in conscous awareness, unpleasant sensations come in the body, an adverse reaction follows, and we sate the unpleasantry with 'emotional eating'. Just an example.

In this dynamic we have always thought we don't want to be hungry and we crave chocolate, but actually we react adversely to the hard sensation produced by the trauma, desire that orgasmic sensation we get from the chocolate as a distraction, and through that reactive dynamic, never full face ourselves truly, and remain distracted and unconscious of the truth of it 'as it is'. We have always run from pain and chased pleasure to try to make it 'as we want it to be' instead of just stopping and seeing what's true.

As soon as meditation began we felt the air at the nose and ceased all activities so we could merely feel what the sensation is like, just as it is. Not only that, but we used a subtle feeling which requires close attention and started to observe it quite intensely. This not only brings us to the truth at the real-lived-sensation level, but we also began to penetrate and feel things which we were not able to feel before, so the mind went deeper; 'looked in', and thus first incision was made.

In addition to this self penetration, we investigated the dhamma, how nature is doing it, instead of controlling, we watch just how nature does our breathing. Because we stopped 'doing anything', we ceased the unconscious reactive distraction mechanism I just described.

Indeed if you sit for an hour with the pure natural breath alone, discomforts arise in bodily sensation and you become aware of how you react to them. You become conscious of that aversion tendency and you notice how you 'don't want it' and try to find a more comfortable feeling. You notice how strong sensations in the body distract you from the more subtle breath. The hitherto unconscious 'defense mechanism' becomes exposed, and because you intend to remain ardent with breath, you intentionally cease that tendency to distraction.

In so doing, you bring to an end the reactive tensions which keep old trauma quelled, thus setting things free on deep levels of the psyche. Now freed they start to arise into conscious awareness without the unconscious avoidance mechanism which you intentionally stopped employing. You didn't know that was the deeper effect. You were just trying to observe breath, but that effort instigated deeper healing processes beyond what you intended.

Thus, if you meditate in this way once the purification immediately commences, and because you are scared of the things now freed to show up, it's quite unsettling, so feelings of stress emerge and it's all a little disorienting and discomforting - then you cease this mode of meditation, feel quite relieved, and reinstate the reactive mechanisms which one is 'comfortable' with.

I'm not one to say, 'Keep going,' because I do not know if it's safe to. One has to assess for themselves if they are prepared to undertake it more fully. We are not in a properly protected space on the open forum. We are not forced to keep strong foundations of sila by the stringent rules of an ashram. I can only create conducive conditions in a completely insignificant and superficial way here. We might say it's like doing surgery in an unsterile setting. And I do not know if the circumstances of anyone's life are conducive to a deep healing. It can be harmful to open a wound in a harsh environment, in which case one's protection mechanisms are better remaining in place - and all this time I have wondered if any of this is appropriate, or if there unacceptable risk...

...And now I think best that we shall not refine things further here nor go into the deeper body awareness stages. It's safe enough where anapanasati is concerned up to about here, but I think that is the limitation of this environment.

I feel happy that this thread has explained the practical applications of anapanasati to some depth and pleased if it is beneficial to any or all of the participants.

I appreciate the sangha here having kept a high standard of all that is 'right' and providing all participants with a mutual sangha that is truly worthy of refuge.

May you all be happy.
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