Posted by Savaka (220.127.116.11) on August 28, 2000 at 20:04:51:
Thank you, Michael and Susan, for echoing my respect for Meditation of the Breath in one of the topics below.
Nobody would frame you for bad practise, Michael. Methinks we are all doing fine here.
I have experimented with the belly-watching technique before. This technique is used in Vipassana (Insight) meditation practised in Burma and Malaysia...and other parts of the Theravada world.
But it doesn't work very well for me because the general area of the belly is too large compared to the nostril for the intense concentration that I am familiar with. (Maybe it's just because I have a bigger than average belly. LOL)
During meditation retreats, I, uh, keep the hair in my nostrils very well trimmed so that the physical touch of the breath is more apparent to me. :o) I also wash my nostrils very well with soap each time I bathe. (Warning: It hurts). A soldier takes good care of his rifle at all times; so a meditator of the breath must know how to take care of his nose!
It may not be well accepted by certain Buddhists, but I also smoke clove cigarettes (an Asian/Indonesian culture) during meditation retreats to keep the sinus away. I know an accomplished old monk (passed away) who takes a few puffs of his Burmese cheroot before he begins meditating.
I know another meditator who breathes ferociously when he is meditating. I asked him why he breathes like there's no tomorrow when he meditates. He says it prevents him from feeling sleepy and his mind finds it easier to concentrate on hard breathing.
Book-knowledge is all nice and fine. But one's own experiences counts more importantly. Refer to books as guidelines. But I feel we should be more independent in finding our own unique way around.
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