I am interested in expanding my meditation practice by combining what is compatible between Goenka’s (body scanning) teaching and Mahasi’s (noting), or any other combination with Goenka found to be helpful (I have only meditated in Goenka’s tradition (10-day format courses, no longer courses yet), and have read a little bit about Mahasi’s).
I would be really grateful for some comparative information and comments regarding Mahasi’s (or other) way of meditation on the following aspects of meditation (these views are my own interpretation from instructions and interviews with the assistant teachers):Typical length of daily sittings (at home, outside of courses):
2x 1 hour per dayGeneral breakdown of a sitting:
1) A few minutes of anapana meditation (only if necessary to calm the mind, else straight onto vipassana).
2) The rest of the time spent in Vipassana meditation (with anapana to assist during vipassana whenever it is not possible to maintain the balance of the mind and continue with vipassana).
3) Five to ten minutes of loving-kindness generation (metta bavana) meditation at the end of the (hour) sitting.Technique of anapana (applicable?) :
Focusing on an area below the nostrils above the upper lip, being aware of the naturally incoming and outgoing breath (and sensations in this area as a secondary object).Technique of vipassana
Moving one’s attention through the body at about an inch diameter a time (initially over the surface then later inside) observing whatever sensations are present, moving on as soon as a sensation is felt (staying for a few minutes if the area is blank) – I usually go part by part from top to bottom and bottom to top, sometimes at great speed, depending on the subtlety of sensations. Moving goes quicker and without ‘hindrance’ as the mind becomes subtler and one can feel subtle level free-flowing sensations – this enables one to sweep the entire body in short time. The mind’s perception of sensations changes from them as gross unpleasant to subtle, pleasant sensations and awareness of sensations inside the body increases. Techniques for moving change in accordance with sensations felt.When difficulties arise:
Anapana: If there is no distinct awareness of incoming/outgoing breath, take slightly hard breaths for a while. For new students increase the area of awareness.
Treat unpleasant sensations as any other, moving on once you pass them on a part of the body. If an unpleasant sensation overpowers the mind, stay there for a minute observing it and move on (continue up/down the body). Use anapana as necessary. Keep with the sensations of the body, giving no importance to states of mind (fear/anger etc.) other than accepting that an emotion is the reality of the present moment. When really overpowering feelings/states of mind come up, keep the attention focused for longer on the soles/palm areas to remain with sensation.
Many thanks, and may all beings be happy