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After focusing on my breath during my meditationsessions a couple of years I desided to start practisiing Vipassana. I will like to add that I have never been on a Vipassana-retreat (yet). Im still very interested of practising it, but after some months of doing it I have some questions about my practise:

I tend to struggle to be aware of my tougths as they ocour and when I become aware of that Im following a train of thougths later I "Choke" them or supress them(?). They will stop instantly. This will go on and on during my sessions and it leaves me confused if I am practising this in a productive way.

I guess I still have alot to learn about this way of meditation, but Im still interested to see what you think about this and if you got some advise.

Thanks!

  • Here's a good booklet on how to do Vipassana: sirimangalo.org/text/how-to-meditate – Sankha Kulathantille Aug 7 '18 at 14:40
  • Thank you :) Well.. When I read this looks very similar with the guidelines i followed when I was aproaching Vipassana at first. – loppilopp Aug 7 '18 at 17:32
  • Its still confusing when you take a look at my problem at the first post. Let me explain it like this with a comparison: When Im doing Anapana (observing breath) I feel like im able to find a "flow" with just focusing on the rise and fall of my breath. When im practising vipassana the flow is more like "stop...stop....stop" when I become aware of my train of thougths as Im following sensations in my body. My question is still: How do i aproach this? – loppilopp Aug 7 '18 at 17:46
  • If you have a disliking towards switching, meditate on that. Disliking... disliking... disliking .. – Sankha Kulathantille Aug 8 '18 at 1:28
  • @Loppilopp If you want, the author of the booklet Sankha gave you the link for teaches online basic courses in vipassana. On this site you can sign up for the course and ask him or the community questions: meditation.sirimangalo.org – user13579 Aug 8 '18 at 7:10
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Take a look at Mindfulness Meditation (MN10). This is one of the key meditation suttas. MN10 breaks down meditation as a progression of 16 steps, grouped in four tetrads. The first tetrad is the body tetrad. Your current practice is breath awareness, so you are already doing part of the body tetrad. The following should be familiar to you:

Just mindful, they breathe in. Mindful, they breathe out

Notice that you're not forcing anything. You are simply being aware. This is very important. Just be aware without grasping or rejecting. In particular, do not "choke your thoughts". Instead, invite the mind towards an awareness of and engagement with the steps of the sutta. Following the steps, we eventually see:

They practice breathing in experiencing the whole body. They practice breathing out experiencing the whole body

And so the sutta proceeds through feeling and thence to mind, etc.

Don't skip ahead, especially if your concern is agitation of mind. Although awareness of mind is a tetrad, it's later, after awareness of feeling. First take care of the stuff that makes sense and is doable. For example, you could spend years doing just the first tetrad. I did. Eventually, your own insight will prompt you to the next step when you are ready. It's not a race to be won. It's more like tending a garden--you can't rush this.

If your current awareness of body stops and skips, be aware of the body in the context of your breath. The breath is already smooth from the prior step, so a gentle consideration of the body while breathing will naturally become smooth. In other words, maintain the breath connection (aware of in/out/heavy/light) as your awareness touches the body.

When agitated, we breathe quickly, sometimes 6 or more times a minute. As meditation deepens, you will find that breathing slows on its own and everything settles. Perhaps you may find yourself breathing 3 times a minute. Or even 2. Effortlessly. As the breath calms, so does everything.

🙏

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    This was very helpfull. Thank you alot =) – loppilopp Aug 7 '18 at 22:42
  • 🙏I forgot to add in a note about how the breath slows on its own. Don't force long/short--they just happen. Overall, your breath will slow on its own. It will still be sometimes long, sometimes short. As soon as you sit, it gradually slows overall. Effortlessly. – OyaMist Aug 8 '18 at 13:45
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To be aware of thoughts as they arise is an extremely subtle practise and only something that can be done by highly advanced minds and is generally only a practise of "clear-comprehension" (3rd development in AN 4.41) although it also forms a small part of very advanced "vipassana" (4th development in AN 4.41).

That when you become aware of a train of thoughts and then later "choke" them, suppress them and stop them instantly is perfectly naturally and normal because the nature of the conscious (aware) mind is like this.

(i) Consciousness (clear awareness) and (ii) thinking are naturally two antagonistic (opposing) things. Generally, when the mind is conscious, aware & alert; it does not think very much. To the contrary, generally when the mind thinks alot; it is not awake & alert.

Naturally, the (false) ideas you have learned from so-called "teachers" of "vipassana" about "watching thoughts" will leave you confused because these ideas are non-sense because these ideas cannot be practised.

Buddhist meditation watches breathing (MN 118). Buddhist meditation gives up thinking (MN 19). The Buddha said Anapanasati (mindfulness when breathing) was his "dwelling" (SN 54.11) and the method he practised and developed for awakening (SN 54.8).

  • Thanks for answering =) How do you (or other in here) think that I should aproach Vipassana in a more productive way? My aproach to "focus on my breath" or "watching my breath" is to be aware of the sensations of my breath in my body as it come in an goes out and watch this during my sessions. Any input on this? Honestly, Im a little confused if I have missunderstood the practise I have done untill now. Just want to clearify it once and for all. – loppilopp Aug 7 '18 at 13:17
  • Thanks. "Vipassana" means "seeing clearly" the interrelatedness (cause & effect), impermanence, unsatisfactoriness & not-self of conditioned phenomena. Therefore, when you see clearly the sensations of breathing; and how different types of breathing (long, short) sensations (smooth, agitated) make the body and mind feel (calm or disturbed); and when you see each in breath & each out breath is impermanent; and when you see the physical body rather than "the self" breathes; this is the starting point of "vipassana". Kind regards – Dhammadhatu Aug 7 '18 at 21:52

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