So hard at the moment to find the breath....where's it gone??
Used to be the anchor, now its hard to even find and if I do its of little use in terms of a focus as its having a numbing effect.
Anyone else had that?
Yes. Sometimes you just get this wooly / brain-fog type of feel inspite of how much effort you make to observe the breath closely. Instead of feeling sharp and attentive you feel dull. Do not let it dissuade you.
Keep making diligent effort, eventually you begin to get back the sensation of air touching the area around nostrils and the mind becomes sharp again.
If you cannot feel the touch of respiration, stay aware of the act
of respiration. When the breath comes in, note it as incoming and so on. Also make an effort to observe the pauses between the incoming and outgoing breath. See if they are the same length etc. Keep the mind focused on the act of respiration and eventually you will get back sharpness. For me some sittings are just dull, but after a couple days the mind becomes sharp again.
Also, posture seems to be very
important as I am beginning to understand. Keep the back very straight, even if it feels a bit uncomfortable first few days. I find that even slacking my back by few milimeters dramatically alters how sharply I can observe the breath, although this might be a personal artifact. To get the best out of my sittings I have to sit with the back held very straight and tight, even if it hurts. As soon as I relax the back my 'catch' on breath weakens almost instantly.
I do not know what goes in the depth of mind and body that causes this brain-fog phenomenon, but it is
temporary and goes away as long as you keep making sincere efforts to observe the breath.