I've engaged for a while in breathing meditation, yet I've had concerns that since I'm a person with a tendency for avoidance, that meditation for me involves repressing emotions or experience. I'm not consciously attempting to deny my experience, or push things away; however, I sometimes feel that's the outcome of my breathing meditation. I wonder: is there anything else than the breath I could focus on? Will breathing meditation help or hinder with emotional regulation? Is it normal that I experience less thoughts and emotions while focusing on the breath, and should I just keep going?

Ideally, I'd like a technique that generates more contact with emotion, more ability to feel and let go emotions, but especially feel them.

Thanks for any thoughts.

EDIT: Would it be beneficial to sit for a certain amount of time no matter what meditative technique is used? E.g. sit--regardless of meditation type--40 min a day?

  • Idk, if I was you I would follow one clear path otherwise confusion and doubt could run rampant...but I suppose "sitting regardless of meditation technique" is not meant to be a mixture or something like that...maybe I don't quite understand what was meant?
    – Lowbrow
    Jun 16, 2017 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


Buddhist meditation is about taking the bull by the horn, not suppressing or avoiding. Suppression and avoidance lead to unwholesome roots.

(1) the latent tendency to lust reinforced by being attached to pleasant feelings;

(2) the latent tendency to aversion reinforced by rejecting painful feelings;

(3) the latent tendency to ignorance reinforced by ignoring neutral feelings

Pahāna Sutta

Many disturbance during mediation originates due to a physical sensation of mental sensations. Say past memories come up, this also is due to the sensation a stimuli has brought about. Also when fabrications arise due to distraction your breath will lose its smoothness. How to handle this is:

  1. know your might has gone to a distracting object
  2. know what sensation this has brought about mentally and physically and look at it dividing and dissecting it until you see the arising and passing nature
  3. bring bad your attention to the breath and look at if you breath is beep, shallow, long or short
  4. periodically, perhaps at the start, middle and end look if reaffirm or review (Paccavekkhana) if your attention (Manasikāra) is with the breath. (No verbal thinking should be involved just see it is with the breath)

You can use mindfulness of the actual sensations of the breath as your "anchor" meditation object but when there is a distraction then the distraction itself, as it is, becomes the meditation object until it falls or it is appropriate to go back to the anchor object that is usually the breath (although it could be any aspect of experience depending on who is teaching or what the technique is).

The distractions are not judged (if they are then that very judging or partiality is a distraction that can be the next object focused on, as it is, in the present moment).

We have all kinds of emotional feelings like anger, impartiality, sadness, disgust, disliking, liking, euphoria, delight, happiness, partiality and so on

We also have perceptions, thoughts and more or less solid opinions.

We have physical sensations that can often give us a clue to how we're feeling. Like tension in the neck and shoulders or a wonderful warm fuzzy feeling in the heart or it can just be an itch, pain, warmth, cold, shock, ache and so on.

We have all kinds of emotional feelings like anger, impartiality, sadness, disgust, disliking, liking, euphoria, delight, happiness and partiality.

These are examples of the kinds of experiences that arise through the senses and the mind all the time, if wee notice them or if we don't notice them.

When we really get into this kind of meditation, we will see how one thing leads to another and we start seeing more and more subtly in our own experience. We will often see how subtly partial we are with every experience we focus on. The idea is to have equanimity or full impartiality at even the most subtle level. This kind of meditation with morality and concentration* will slowly show us how to let go and accept reality as it is so we can...
...understand how to live
...be ready when we get sick
...be ready and in harmony with death

*Some techniques have the concentration part built into the meditation such as the Mahasi Technique.

There are many techniques but all I know how to tell people about adequately is the one I do myself -- two links to the full on step by step Mahasi technique (insight meditation):

  • 1
    Good answer @UUU. Maybe you could add a reference to the Mahasi method to further increase quality.
    – user2424
    Jun 16, 2017 at 22:18
  • 1
    There are many techniques but all I know how to tell people aboot adequately is the one I do myself: 2 links to the full on step by step Mahasi technique (insight meditation): Sayadaw U Pandita: google.com/amp/s/www.lionsroar.com/… Bhante Yuttadhammo: static.sirimangalo.org/howto/HTMl.pdf
    – Lowbrow
    Jun 16, 2017 at 22:58

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