When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Strive4Karuna
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When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:49 am

[When the breath becomes more refined i become afraid i will die and break my concentration

Technically when i notice this it means my attention has been taken off the breath. Does this mean my concentration not strong enough? Mindfulness not there or not strong enough? Is my virtue lacking?

How do i overcome this stage in my pratice because i always " fail" at the same part and sometimes become fearful of meditation

Is this a normal thing everyone overcomes or have you guys never had this problem in your meditation?

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Nwad
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by Nwad » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:28 am

Someone said : Meditation is a practice of diying... :meditate:

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mikenz66
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:50 am

Can you tell us a little more about your approach to breath meditation, and what happens that frightens you?

It's not uncommon to have disconcerting experiences. That is when it is useful to have teachers or companions for reassurance...

Mike

SarathW
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by SarathW » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:46 am

Is this a normal thing everyone overcomes or have you guys never had this problem in your meditation?
Once I remember when I was an inexperienced meditator I entered a tunnel made from light.
This tunnel was endless and I got scared for my life and came out of that state.
What I am not sure is what would have happened to me if I continue the journey in the tunnel.
Now I think this is an incorrect practice.
it is something like you are entering a maze without a guiding thread in your hand to come back.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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binocular
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by binocular » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:37 am

Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:49 am
[When the breath becomes more refined
What do you mean by "breath becomes more refined"? That you seem to barely breathe? If so, that looks like you're giving yourself hypoxia. In the experience of some, that explains the feelings of terror.

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DooDoot
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by DooDoot » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:20 am

Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:49 am
Does this mean my concentration not strong enough?
mindfulness not there or not strong enough? Is my virtue lacking?
This can be related to ego (depending on the actual circumstances). Ego is a survival instinct & ego gives rise to fear when ego is threatened or when ego diminishes. Right samadhi does diminish ego therefore at least you might be doing something right with samadhi development but the capacity for selflessness/emptiness is not sufficiently developed.
Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:49 am
How do i overcome this stage in my pratice because i always " fail" at the same part and sometimes become fearful of meditation
To overcome this stage: (i) abandon attachment to samadhi; (ii) do not change posture; & (iii) sit with the fear until the fear subsides or until the allocated time of the meditation session ends. Eventually, the mind may intuitively realise there is nothing to fear. Enduring fear, until it subsides & passes away, generally needs to be done many times, until the mind realises the fear will always eventually pass away. Then the mind can cease to fear fear & the fear can cease totally.
The Buddha wrote:When fear & terror came to me while I was walking back & forth, I would not stand or sit or lie down. I would keep walking back & forth until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was standing, I would not walk or sit or lie down. I would keep standing until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was sitting, I would not lie down or stand up or walk. I would keep sitting until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was lying down, I would not sit up or stand or walk. I would keep lying down until I had subdued that fear & terror.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Strive4Karuna
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:38 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:50 am
Can you tell us a little more about your approach to breath meditation, and what happens that frightens you?

It's not uncommon to have disconcerting experiences. That is when it is useful to have teachers or companions for reassurance...

Mike
I just watch the breath. That is all. Sometimes using the word buddho or "in" for the in breath and "out" for the out breath or no mantra at all. Sometimes i do not close my eyes at all and just repeat buddho buddho and my eyes feel the need to close and i can feel myself tunneling inwards and the breath seems not to be there however i know it is just refined and harder for me to concentrate because i am panicing in fear that the breath is dissipating.

Strive4Karuna
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:43 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:20 am
Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:49 am
Does this mean my concentration not strong enough?
mindfulness not there or not strong enough? Is my virtue lacking?
This can be related to ego (depending on the actual circumstances). Ego is a survival instinct & ego gives rise to fear when ego is threatened or when ego diminishes. Right samadhi does diminish ego therefore at least you might be doing something right with samadhi development but the capacity for selflessness/emptiness is not sufficiently developed.
Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:49 am
How do i overcome this stage in my pratice because i always " fail" at the same part and sometimes become fearful of meditation
To overcome this stage: (i) abandon attachment to samadhi; (ii) do not change posture; & (iii) sit with the fear until the fear subsides or until the allocated time of the meditation session ends. Eventually, the mind may intuitively realise there is nothing to fear. Enduring fear, until it subsides & passes away, generally needs to be done many times, until the mind realises the fear will always eventually pass away. Then the mind can cease to fear fear & the fear can cease totally.
The Buddha wrote:When fear & terror came to me while I was walking back & forth, I would not stand or sit or lie down. I would keep walking back & forth until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was standing, I would not walk or sit or lie down. I would keep standing until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was sitting, I would not lie down or stand up or walk. I would keep sitting until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came to me while I was lying down, I would not sit up or stand or walk. I would keep lying down until I had subdued that fear & terror.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
My friend. This post was helpful. Regards.

Strive4Karuna
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:45 pm

SarathW wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:46 am
Is this a normal thing everyone overcomes or have you guys never had this problem in your meditation?
Once I remember when I was an inexperienced meditator I entered a tunnel made from light.
This tunnel was endless and I got scared for my life and came out of that state.
What I am not sure is what would have happened to me if I continue the journey in the tunnel.
Now I think this is an incorrect practice.
it is something like you are entering a maze without a guiding thread in your hand to come back.
Sarath that may or may not be what i am experiencing cannot say for sure. Thanks for your insight.

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bodom
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by bodom » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:56 pm

It's a common occurrence among meditators as the result of the body, breath and mind becoming very calm and peaceful.

Here is some advice from Ajahn Chah on the matter:
Awareness remains with the breath and over time it will penetrate deeper and deeper inside, becoming progressively more refined. Ultimately, awareness of the breath becomes so refined that the sensation of the breath seems to disappear. You could say either that awareness of the sensation of the breath has disappeared, or that the breath itself has disappeared. Then there arises a new kind of awareness - awareness that the breath has disappeared. In other words, awareness of the breath becomes so refined that it's difficult to define it.

So it might be that you are just sitting there and there's no breath. Really, the breath is still there, but it has become so refined that it seems to have disappeared. Why? Because the mind is at its most refined, with a special kind of knowing. All that remains is the knowing. Even though the breath has vanished, the mind is still concentrated with the knowledge that the breath is not there. As you continue, what should you take up as the object of meditation? Take this very knowing as the meditation object - in other words the knowledge that there is no breath - and sustain this. You could say that a specific kind of knowledge has been established in the mind.

At this point, some people might have doubts arising, because it is here that nimitta1 can arise. These can be of many kinds, including both forms and sounds. It is here that all sorts of unexpected things can arise in the course of the practice. Ifnimitta do arise (some people have them, some don't) you must understand them in accordance with the truth. Don't doubt or allow yourself to become alarmed.

At this stage, you should make the mind unshakeable in its concentration and be especially mindful. Some people become startled when they notice that the breath has disappeared, because they're used to having the breath there. When it appears that the breath has gone, you might panic or become afraid that you are going to die. Here you must establish the understanding that it is just the nature of the practice to progress in this way. What will you observe as the object of meditation now? Observe this feeling that there is no breath and sustain it as the object of awareness as you continue to meditate. The Buddha described this as the firmest, most unshakeable form of samādhi.
:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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dylanj
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by dylanj » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:13 pm

you're not going to die from meditating

dispel that fear & keep at it
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

Strive4Karuna
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:33 pm

bodom wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:56 pm
It's a common occurrence among meditators as the result of the body, breath and mind becoming very calm and peaceful.

Here is some advice from Ajahn Chah on the matter:
Awareness remains with the breath and over time it will penetrate deeper and deeper inside, becoming progressively more refined. Ultimately, awareness of the breath becomes so refined that the sensation of the breath seems to disappear. You could say either that awareness of the sensation of the breath has disappeared, or that the breath itself has disappeared. Then there arises a new kind of awareness - awareness that the breath has disappeared. In other words, awareness of the breath becomes so refined that it's difficult to define it.

So it might be that you are just sitting there and there's no breath. Really, the breath is still there, but it has become so refined that it seems to have disappeared. Why? Because the mind is at its most refined, with a special kind of knowing. All that remains is the knowing. Even though the breath has vanished, the mind is still concentrated with the knowledge that the breath is not there. As you continue, what should you take up as the object of meditation? Take this very knowing as the meditation object - in other words the knowledge that there is no breath - and sustain this. You could say that a specific kind of knowledge has been established in the mind.

At this point, some people might have doubts arising, because it is here that nimitta1 can arise. These can be of many kinds, including both forms and sounds. It is here that all sorts of unexpected things can arise in the course of the practice. Ifnimitta do arise (some people have them, some don't) you must understand them in accordance with the truth. Don't doubt or allow yourself to become alarmed.

At this stage, you should make the mind unshakeable in its concentration and be especially mindful. Some people become startled when they notice that the breath has disappeared, because they're used to having the breath there. When it appears that the breath has gone, you might panic or become afraid that you are going to die. Here you must establish the understanding that it is just the nature of the practice to progress in this way. What will you observe as the object of meditation now? Observe this feeling that there is no breath and sustain it as the object of awareness as you continue to meditate. The Buddha described this as the firmest, most unshakeable form of samādhi.
:namaste:
Bodom, much gratitude. Thank you.

Strive4Karuna
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by Strive4Karuna » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:34 pm

dylanj wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:13 pm
you're not going to die from meditating

dispel that fear & keep at it
Dylan, yes you are right, i definetly need to keep at it. Regards.

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LG2V
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by LG2V » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:53 pm

Asubha meditation on the dead body helped for me. Meditate and imagine your body undergoing the various stages of dying, especially as a decomposed skeleton. It helps stabilize your meditation a lot. When you see the reaper, he won't be interested in you because you're a skull and bones, too. You realize that death is inherent in you.
Here are some excellent sites for giving free Dana (Click-Based Donation):
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mikenz66
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Re: When the breath becomes more refined I get scared i will die

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:21 pm

Strive4Karuna wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:38 pm
mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:50 am
Can you tell us a little more about your approach to breath meditation, and what happens that frightens you?

It's not uncommon to have disconcerting experiences. That is when it is useful to have teachers or companions for reassurance...

Mike
I just watch the breath. That is all. Sometimes using the word buddho or "in" for the in breath and "out" for the out breath or no mantra at all. Sometimes i do not close my eyes at all and just repeat buddho buddho and my eyes feel the need to close and i can feel myself tunneling inwards and the breath seems not to be there however i know it is just refined and harder for me to concentrate because i am panicing in fear that the breath is dissipating.
OK, thanks for the clarification. There are many ways of watching the breath, at particular places (nostrils, chest motion, abdomen motion, general awareness of breathing...) and various ways of dealing with what one observes. Perhaps you're not sure what exactly you are trying to watch, and so you are not building the mindfulness required to deal with the subtleties. Perhaps try taking an interest in what exactly the breath is doing. Can you discern the start and end of the in and out breaths? Are there gaps between the in and out breath? Which gap is longer? What do you observe during the gaps? The point is to refine your attention and mindfulness, so that you can notice more and more about your body and mind. If the breath seems to have disappeared try watching for the sensations that you were previously using the discen that you were breathing. If you feel panicked, focus on that feeling. Are there physical sensations associated with the panic? And so on...

My usual advice is to pick the instructions of a particular teacher who inspires you, and follow their method, for a while by reading or listening to their talks. Since you seem to be partial to some variety of Thai Forest approach, maybe listen to some of Ajahn Brahm's guided meditations and instructions.

:heart:
Mike

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