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This is my first day on this site, and this is my first question too. It is somewhat similar to this but I believe mine is more specific.

I practice meditation for the last 1 year and I really enjoy it too. I use breath as a medium, and try to focus on that (No idea what the technical term for that kind of meditation). After around 1 month of practice I regularly started getting into a meditative zone.

This is what this zone feels like to me (might be different for others but just saying anyway)

  1. No more feeling of breath, important: this is what the question is about.
  2. Bit of heavyness in head region, as well as feeling of vibration there.
  3. Sometime no sense of my leg and hand. I clasp my finger together always but when I get in the zone I am not feeling the touch.

Okay, this is fine. Now the question.

I know thoughts are inevitable. Before getting to the zone, whenever a thought came, I acknowledge it and try to focus on my next breath. I am usually able to focus on subsequent breath for some time and avoid the next thought.

Then when I get to this zone, I am still getting random thoughts and since there is no breath to fall back on, I am having troubles to limit the amount of thoughts. So once I get to the zone, it stays there for 4 to 5 minutes and because of these thoughts, I lose the meditative state. I quickly feel myself relaxing and going out of meditation.

This is what I am facing for the past 8 months. No progress since the first month of meditation and I am starting to lose my motivation now.

Any good practices to avoid this problem?

P.S : I asked this as a prospective question at Yoga and Meditation proposal, but I didn't know about Personal Productivity site until today.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

So this is an interesting question beacuse it gets us considering the purpose of mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness has become hugely popular in recent times as a secular tool for stress management. Which is wonderful and to be grateful for. However there is a lot more to the practice. A lot, lot more.

Mindfulness of breathing is a practice that falls into the category of meditation techniques known as "Samatha". Basically calming and steadying a mind that is usually unsteady and busy. Hence the association with relaxation and stress management. The other general category of meditaiton is Vispasanna, which aims to assist the practictioner awaken to their true nature. Vispasanna practice rests upon samatha practice. You need a steady mind to practice vispasanna effectively.

So my point is that you ideally need to be clear on why you are meditating. If it is to become relaxed and feel good (which is why a lot of people practice) it is fine. But when you 'hit' experiences such as those you describe above, well you won't have any 'road map' to help you navigate the terrain.

As a Buddhist practictioner I would say that you are managing to let go of your everyday sense of who you are. With your mind quietened and stilled, 'pure' awareness is coming more to the foreground of your experience.

What is happening next it seems to me from my own personal practice and conversations with experienced teachers, is that your everyday thinking-thinking-mind is 'kicking in' and doing what it always does. It is looking for stimulation. It is looking for another experience. It's nature is to be restless and excited. So it complains, "This is boring, what is this all about?" It wants entertainment. Restless agitation comes back to take you out of stillness.

I would say, that when you experience your mind to be calm, let go of focusing on your breath. Initially you do use the breath to exclude other experience and calm the mind. But with the mind calm, you let your practice become one that is inclusive. Open up to the present moment. Open outward to the space in which you experience your life. Abide in a sense of spaciousness and let the present moment flowing through the space of awareness become the focus of your practice. Let go and relax into Awareness. Your everyday personality may find all sorts of objections for doing this, but that is just restlessness. (The very agitation that has you needing to quiet down in the first place)

The other thing I would say is that a 'trap' easily fallen into is to have a positive experience in meditation, and then to be always 'chasing' that experience in following meditations. Always seeking to get back something that by its very nature was impermanent.

In short, I would recommend finding an experienced teacher if that is possible.

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I would say, that when you experience your mind to be calm, let go of focusing on your breath That is what I am trying to do nowadays, and I must say I am getting better at that now. – Krishnabhadra Aug 9 '13 at 11:05
I would recommend finding an experienced teacher if that is possible Don't tell me I didn't search, I live in a place where there is zero knowledge about meditation. – Krishnabhadra Aug 9 '13 at 11:06
Hopefully you can find a helpful video online. Check out the talk titles toward the bottom of the link below. A few of them might yield something helpful: – Donal Aug 9 '13 at 16:10

What you are doing is very similar to the Anapana Meditation which is a prerequisite to its deeper manifestation: the Vipassana Meditation. A useful Meditation is a very intricate endeavor which is best done under experienced supervision and formal training. The Vipassana meditation worked the best for me as it solely concentrates on core meditation without thinking about anything. The major lesson to learn is never attach yourselves or crave for special feelings which you seem to long for. This defeats the very purpose of meditation: To remove all worries(including the meditation related worries).

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I suggest switching your focus on attention once you reach a state where you lose consciousness of your breathing.

You may want to try some of the following free books from this wonderful resource of free Sivananda books. They talk about the various states in meditation and give suggestions on how to proceed when you plateau.

Mind: Its Mysteries and Control - talks a lot of about meditation, search for "Obstacles to meditation".

Pranayama - as you are using breathing as your main meditation this may be helpful.

The books have a lot of religious references that you may need to ignore depending on your views on the topic.

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In my opinion you are not doing anything wrong. What you experience sounds a lot like you may just be experiencing the 1st jhana. I highly recommend you to read Ajahn Brahms books/articles and watch his videos on the net. He often talks about these kinds of phenomena (e.g. google "Ajahn Brahm" + "beautiful breath" etc.) I think what he proposes is to get even deeper into present moment awareness and become mindful of an even more subtle experience. But I'm not 100% sure. Another proposal what to focus on is this vibration in your forehead and see how it reacts.

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This is a great question and IMHO should come to every one who practices meditation.

This state is the one almost all meditation practitioners try and reach for at some point. And almost all yoga gurus that I have come across or read about have been able to give the initial ignition but unable to take people to this level. The simple reason is because the first level of lesson can be taught. But learning or really understanding this comes only by practicing this day-in and day-out. It takes a few weeks, months or years (for most of us) of continuous practice.

A simple technique would be to leave your thoughts free and just watch over them. When someone is watching, everything tends to behave orderly, be it people, animal or thoughts. This applies to most of the aspects of our life.

Give it a try and if you learn something else during this process, please feel free to share with us.

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A simple technique would be to leave your thoughts free and just watch over them I tried this. But I am not sure I understand how to do this. When thought starts to come up, I am losing my watching presence.. – Krishnabhadra Jul 30 '13 at 3:29

No more feeling of breath?

Watch your breath.

Better than this, watch your breathing.

Be in the here and now.

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protected by Rory Alsop Jul 10 '15 at 18:01

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