Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

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Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:36 am

Hello everyone...

I am finding that if I use anapanasati I find it excruciatingly difficult to stay focused. I mean more than any other method I have ever used. It gets to the point currently where its almost a sleep induction exercise!! :shrug:

I have used this method in the past to calm the mind as a precursor to other methods like Hwadu or Shikantaza. But never used it as the fulcrum of my practice. Now its the main focus I am luck (if counting the breath) if I can get much past three or four before I am away with the fairies....its ridiculous!

Its almost like a challenge now (Wrong Attitude maybe) as I can't believe that after all these years I can't count past four without falling asleep!

All thoughts gratefully received - I don't have much time to spend online and really appreciate this resource so don't think I am being mercenary if I don't reply/thank straight away! :anjali:
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby daverupa » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:44 am

Why count the breath? That's an old trick to try to fall asleep! It's also not an anapanasati instruction. :shrug:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby SarathW » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:07 pm

I meditate with my eyes open.
By the way sleep if you are sleepy, till you get enough of it :)
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:52 pm

daverupa wrote:Why count the breath? That's an old trick to try to fall asleep! It's also not an anapanasati instruction. :shrug:


...just to focus really.
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby daverupa » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:06 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:
daverupa wrote:Why count the breath? That's an old trick to try to fall asleep! It's also not an anapanasati instruction. :shrug:


...just to focus really.


That simply shifts the question, though: why focus in that way? It seems to be causing drowsiness. Are you simply trying to give the mind something to do, since otherwise it just talks and rambles? Or is there something else you are trying to accomplish via such focus?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:27 pm

daverupa wrote:
Beautiful Breath wrote:
daverupa wrote:Why count the breath? That's an old trick to try to fall asleep! It's also not an anapanasati instruction. :shrug:


...just to focus really.


That simply shifts the question, though: why focus in that way? It seems to be causing drowsiness. Are you simply trying to give the mind something to do, since otherwise it just talks and rambles? Or is there something else you are trying to accomplish via such focus?


Ah I gotchya!

Well, I am following Leigh Brasingtons' advice regarding Jhana.
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby daverupa » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:23 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:Well, I am following Leigh Brasingtons' advice regarding Jhana.


If I understand that approach, you're advised to stop counting after a period of time. Perhaps skip that step altogether? It doesn't seem to be doing what it's designed to do, in your case, and following instructions by rote without letting your experiences feed back into the method is going the long way 'round.

:heart:

http://www.leighb.com/accesscon.htm
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:59 pm

I have struggled with sleepiness on and off for years and im in the sleep if you are sleepy camp as well. Imo if you have been practicing a while and have developed good concentration otherwise you might actually just need some sleep or rest or havent eaten enough recently to maintain your energy.
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby marc108 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:09 pm

first thing would be to work on your actual sleep, make sure you are getting enough.

some other tips:
use caffeine wisely and skilfully, have a cup of tea.
splash cold water in your face.
meditate eyes open.
turn on some bright lights.
stand up and do standing meditation. if you're actually falling asleep, this will stop that pretty much in its tracks.
arouse energy by visualizing yourself doing something that gives you an adrenaline rush... lifting weights, bungee jumping, etc.

also, on counting, it doesnt work for everyone. once and a while i find it useful, but mostly its boring.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby FatDaddy » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:19 pm

Change or expand the object and increase mindfullness. There are many stimulating things going on with the breath. Stop counting and notice them.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby IanAnd » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:44 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:I am finding that if I use anapanasati I find it excruciatingly difficult to stay focused. I mean more than any other method I have ever used. It gets to the point currently where its almost a sleep induction exercise!! :shrug:

I have used this method in the past to calm the mind as a precursor to other methods like Hwadu or Shikantaza. But never used it as the fulcrum of my practice. Now its the main focus I am luck (if counting the breath) if I can get much past three or four before I am away with the fairies....its ridiculous!

Its almost like a challenge now (Wrong Attitude maybe) as I can't believe that after all these years I can't count past four without falling asleep!

first thing would be to work on your actual sleep, make sure you are getting enough.

Good first advice. Yet, beyond even this common sense approach to diagnosing the problem involved would be . . .

Have you been establishing mindfulness before attempting to meditate? Do you know what I mean by "mindfulness"?

Have a look at this thread (The Practical Aspects of Establishing Mindfulness) and see if you can help yourself out of this jam you're experiencing in your meditation practice.

    In the two Satipatthana suttas (MN 10 and DN 22), the Buddha gives the following instruction: "And how, monks, does a monk abide contemplating the body as body? Here a monk, having gone into the forest, or to the root of a tree or to an empty place, sits down cross-legged, holding his body erect, having established mindfulness in front of him. Mindfully he breaths in, mindfully he breaths out. Breathing in a long breath, he knows that he breathes in a long breath, and breathing out a long breath, he knows that he breathes out a long breath. Breathing in a short breath, he knows that he breathes in a short breath, and breathing out a short breath, he knows that he breaths out a short breath. . . ."

Whenever mindfulness is established before one begins to meditate (and of course during), it is virtually impossible to fall asleep (unless one is already predisposed to sleep by lack of proper rest and sleep). There are some tips for being able to accomplish this in that thread. Read through at least the main portion (first six posts) of the thread.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:01 pm

Assuming you are getting enough sleep on a regular schedule, try to precede your meditation period with a light workout, like some stretching, pushups, situps, jumping jacks, or maybe some work like cleaning. I often do this, even when sleep is not an issue, and find that my meditation is often much more clear and peaceful... more insightful this way. Don't overdo it though, strenuous exercise before meditation leads to it's own difficulties.

I am also in the sleep when sleepy camp. However, to ensure I am not indulging, sometimes I will try to meditate anyway, then when I catch myself waking up as I am starting to tip over on my cushion, I will lay down on the floor (slightly uncomfortable instead of on my comfy bed) and just sleep 10-15 minutes. Often when I get back up, my meditation is rather strong.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby manas » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:50 pm

Beautiful Breath wrote:Hello everyone...

I am finding that if I use anapanasati I find it excruciatingly difficult to stay focused. I mean more than any other method I have ever used. It gets to the point currently where its almost a sleep induction exercise!! :shrug:

I have used this method in the past to calm the mind as a precursor to other methods like Hwadu or Shikantaza. But never used it as the fulcrum of my practice. Now its the main focus I am luck (if counting the breath) if I can get much past three or four before I am away with the fairies....its ridiculous!

Its almost like a challenge now (Wrong Attitude maybe) as I can't believe that after all these years I can't count past four without falling asleep!

All thoughts gratefully received - I don't have much time to spend online and really appreciate this resource so don't think I am being mercenary if I don't reply/thank straight away! :anjali:


Once/or/twice
i/experimented
(got/creative/with/instructions
that/are/in/the/satipatthana/sutta/itself
i/just/tweaked/them/a/bit)

how/to/arouse/interest/in/the/breath
which/is/as/you/point/out
a/calming/object/in/general
so/if/we/are/feeling/tired/or/despondent
that/calming/attribute
needs/to/be/balanced
with/another/attribute
that/conduces/to/wakefulness

I/recall/making/myself
focus/on/its/arising/and/passing/away
the/quality/of/how/when/it/arises/its/there
but/after/it/falls/its/gone
i/recall/mentally/noting
"arising"/as/the/breath/begins
"cessation"/as/soon/as/the/breath/has/ceased
the/perception/could/be/like
watching/an/entire/life/unfold
the/life/of/a/single/breath
so/maybe/one/could/be/creative
and/note/"birth...death"
focussing/on/how/limited/and/fleeting
the/lifespan/of/a/single/breath/is

i/recall/investing/just/a/touch
of/emotional/investment
the/tiniest/amount
so/that/emotionally/it/was/like
watching/someone/get/born,/live/and/then/die
from/our/perspective/a/breath/doesnt/live/very/long
it/can/be/an/almost/poignant/experience
anyway/you/have/to/take/an/interest
in/the/life/of/just/one/breath
ie:the/breath/you/are/drawing/in/right/now
after/it/dies/you/have/to/then/let/it/go
that/particular/breath/will/never/return.
but/because/you/invested
just/that/tiniest/amount/of/emotional/interest
in/that/breaths/"life"
when/it/"dies"
you/notice...

(in/that/space/between/the/breaths
you/can/have/that/perception/of/"absence"
how/what/was/here/just/before
is/now/gone)


you/then/do/this/again
with/the/next/newborn/breath

i/find/that/that/kind/of/awareness
not/the/smooth/sensate/attribute
(which/is/too/calming)
but/rather/the/arising/vanishing/attribute
(which/can/make/the/mind/take/notice)
the/way/it/comes/in/to/existence
and/then/ceases/to/exist
is/more/conducive/to/wakefulness
ime
than/watching/those/smooth/sensations
if/you/are/already/tired/or/despondent
the/smooth/soothing/sensations
do/tend/to/send/one/off/to/lala/land
i/agree!
so/try/to/find
another/characteristic/to/focus/on
hope/something/there/was/of/assistance
metta
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby SarathW » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:02 am

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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby alan... » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:45 am

Beautiful Breath wrote:Hello everyone...

I am finding that if I use anapanasati I find it excruciatingly difficult to stay focused. I mean more than any other method I have ever used. It gets to the point currently where its almost a sleep induction exercise!! :shrug:

I have used this method in the past to calm the mind as a precursor to other methods like Hwadu or Shikantaza. But never used it as the fulcrum of my practice. Now its the main focus I am luck (if counting the breath) if I can get much past three or four before I am away with the fairies....its ridiculous!

Its almost like a challenge now (Wrong Attitude maybe) as I can't believe that after all these years I can't count past four without falling asleep!

All thoughts gratefully received - I don't have much time to spend online and really appreciate this resource so don't think I am being mercenary if I don't reply/thank straight away! :anjali:


i had this problem for years. it is annoying. what got me out of it is:

1. get enough sleep! but not too much. find an amount that works.

2. exercise, but don't overdo it. exercising quickly just before meditation can help, but just enough to get you moving, not a strenuous workout that will make you sleepy.

3. meditate when you have the energy, so if you wake up from a long sleep, then meditate. as an experiment try sleeping as long as you can. until you simply cannot lie in bed anymore because sleeping any longer would be impossible. then get out of bed and meditate and see what happens (but don't do this too much or you'll become a more sleepy person overall i think). you should meditate every day, even if you don't have the energy, but if possible you should meditate when you feel it will be a wakeful session. this will take some time too figure out as until you solve the problem you won't know when the good times are.

4. sometimes take a nap. this helps. i find that after a long day i will be tired but not enough that it would hamper any activities BUT meditation or perhaps reading. so it's hard too notice this level of tired since it's not a problem. once i got used to noticing it i started taking twenty too thirty minute naps and then i awake very energized.

5. generate JOY in meditation. this keeps your mind interested. if you're just bored you won't stay awake as well, if you're deep in jhana and seriously enjoying it your mind will take interest in this and the joy can help you too taper off into more equanimous states and still be awake and alert.
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby Zimesky » Fri May 31, 2013 12:39 am

I feel drowsy after Ananapana, does that put me in the sleep camp?
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby BlackBird » Fri May 31, 2013 2:26 am

Don't worry too much. With the methadone programme, I often fall asleep practicing anapana, or doze off momentarily more to the point. If I am experiencing such a state of affairs I will switch my focus to a Goenka-ish sweeping of the body, once that helps regain some mindfulness I will graduate to thoughts and feelings, and finally to trying to observe the state of mind - Which in this case is often sloth and torpor. I've found under certain circumstances you can effectively fight your way through it and come out the other side quite concentrated. At other times I just fall asleep again :lol:

Since I assume you're not on a high dose of opiates like I am, I would say it may have something to do with your sleep pattern. Too much or too little sleep can cause excessive drowsiness throughout the day, in such a way that you may not notice it until you get down to the business of anapanasati. So I suggest it may be beneficial to have a look at your sleep pattern and experiment with some changes. That is only one of many possible causes though and I'm far from an expert in all of them :)

metta
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Re: Anapanasati actually inducing sleep...!

Postby dharmagoat » Fri May 31, 2013 4:07 am

I always become sleepy when I practice in the early afternoon, so I nap beforehand. Mornings and evenings are fine.

Increasing one's effort can help to stave off sleepiness, as can meditating in bright surroundings.
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