Thursday, August 28, 2008

My breath don't live here no more

I've been reflecting more on my experience of Mahamudra Shamatha ... resting with the breath.

Continuing from where I got to in my last post ... the breath isn't anywhere ... and it's not a thing. There is no breath as such, nor is it in a particular place. So how do I rest on it, if there isn't a locatable 'it', as it were.

One of the things I've been noticing in particular, is that there is no 'place' or dimension in my meditation. When I visualise Machig Labdron on a lotus above my head, I have a sense of that .... but actually, there isn't any above at all in experience, in mind. Whilst it's true that to a certain extent I can sense things as being spacially in relation to each other .... there's no absolute or real sense of up or down to be found, or any other dimension. Dimension doesn't apply.

Similarly with the breath ... where is the breath? Is it a sensation in the abdomen. Is it a sensation in the nostril. Is it a sense of movement in the chest. In a way, it's all of these and none.

The breath isn't there in the sense of perceiving it directly. All I can do it perceive various sensations in the body. And they give a clue that the breath was 'passing by' at that point. It was 'there' ... it was 'here'. And then what do I do? .. I string all those disparate sensations together, and call that 'the breath'. I say conceptually, that these are all 'breath' ... and other sensations aren't. So this is the 'breath'.

Ok .. you say .. but actually ... most of the time, those sensations are not there. Most of the time, whatever that is, when I'm resting on the breath in shamatha, there's no appearance or sensation arising. Most of the time I'm between breaths, or sensations. There's space, you could say. Or emptiness. Well, most of the time, I'm kinda hanging around in that space, and waiting for the breath to show up. I'm hanging around, perhaps where I suspect my next sensation around the nostril will be .. for sensations, which indicate that the breath is there.

But how do I hang around in the area of the nostril? Where is this? Spacially? There's no place, or dimension in mind, in experience, only that which I impute. So I'm hanging around .. my awareness is open, and resting .. some'where' .. but where? Somehow I'm hanging in awareness .. and somehow, I'm resting somewhere ... where I think that the breath will reappear, rather than somewhere else ...

and yet I'm not, because I'm just resting .....

and wherever the breath appears, that's where my awareness is, and rests.

However, then it's not resting on a particular sensation, or set of sensations, like 'nostril' ... but wherever the breath shows up ....

I suspect that's why I've got less shamatha and more vipassana in this nowadays, as I can't really switch off the knowing aspect, which knows things as they appear, and knows things as they really are ... or at least, knows these two to some degree.

Can't really just switch that off .... and somehow just rest on a particular object .... and become absorbed in that object .... as nothing is so solid anymore ....

Seems like the 'knowing' aspect is there, and doesn't wanna be turned off!

hmm ... random thoughts on where my breath went

1 comment:

tropicalrob said...

Hi there,

Interesting reading about your meditation experiences. I know that feeling, where there seems to be an infinity of time between each breath and one is really on the point of moving into the void or the Dharmakaya. I think that's the point where you have to have to give up the idea of meditating altogether and let go of techniques altogether. As unenlightened beings, most of us still try and cling on to something tangible.


PS Check out my Global Buddhism blog. I've just started it