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In this lecture, by B. Alan Wallace, of mindfulness of breathing with relaxation, it has been instructed that I have to release all thoughts, relax every part of the body and let go of all involuntary thoughts during exhalation.

Now what exactly is meant by releasing all thoughts with exhalation? What should I do during exhalation? Does it mean that mind will go blank during exhalation? If yes, then how is it possible?

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Briefly, "let go" here means you turn your attention to something else (like the room in front of you) - and then whatever thoughts you had the moment before dissolve by themselves.

Normally our attention is dragged around by thoughts and experiences. Being able to disengage from them, and either hold on firmly to one thing, or to switch around at will, or to kinda suspend mid-air as thoughts and experiences flow by - is a useful skill to have.

Specifically in this case you're learning to disengage from whatever particular thoughts you have at the moment - to disidentify and to stop feeding.

It doesn't mean your mind goes blank, since you still have experiences of your body and surroundings, exhaling etc., - and you have an overall idea of what it is that you are doing (meditating, disengaging). So all mental functions keep on going, it's just that you are learning to gently let go of mental chatter, daydreaming, worrisome replays etc.

(no reference for this: I'm summarizing broadly based on what I was taught by the live Zen Master, what I read in books, and on my own meditation experience)

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Relaxing body and mind has a deep meaning though many never get to know what actually this means.

What this means if Kāya (body) and Citta (mind) Lahutā.

The achievement of this you can practice meditation on the wind element (expansion contraction feeling tied to inhalation and exhalation process) or passing you consciousness or attention in a zigzag manner though any heavy, gross, solidified or painful areas or just simply being consciously aware of the sensation in itself. Also developing continuous and recurring attention on a particular object might be of help as this creates bodily pleasantness when closing on the the Jhanas. Also smiling mildly helps as it creates pleasant feeling in the body and mind.

Also though during meditation you have to cut out thought (Vachi Sankhāra) and concept proliferation (papañca). This is not the same as the mind going blank but more towards developing:

  • Samadhi - collection of the mind with the ability to direct it to a chosen object which is felt, or mastery over the mind.
  • Jhana - close scrutiny and examination of an experienced object what is felt.
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Watching breathing is like learning alphabets of watching. Thats how we practice vipassna. First you just get read of this idea of doing something. This destroies all meditation,attempt to be calm or release thoughts. Keep it simple the way of Zen. Just watch your breath don't try to resist the thoughts let them come and gradually go. Just don't cling to them. After some time you will be blank without any effort watching your breath. Meditation is simple we insist making it complex.

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