RatherSkeptic wrote:If I understood your answers correctly, you are recommending the use of concept-method first to gain samadhi. Allright then, even if it sometimes reminds me of hypnosis.
I'm sorry if I was unclear, what I meant to say is that I recommend knowing the sensation and quality of the breath and not simply treating it as a concept. You are supposed to establish mindfulness with the breath and I don't think just treating it as a metronome fulfills that at all.
I know many of you allready spoke about that the breath needs to be observed at one particular point, like at the nostril or the upper lip, and that your attention should stay fixed there, not following the breath all the way down to the lungs. And I also read about it in books of Bhante Gunaratana and other teachers.
This is the approach I'd recommend. If you have trouble with it switching between left or right nostril, I have two recommendations:
1. Try locating the breath on the upper lip instead of in or on the nostrils. The breath can be a little spotty in the nose itself, but it usually calms down by the time it gets to the upper lip itself. If you do end up losing touch with your breath, breath very hard for about five breaths and note where the breath hits. Try and keep your attention on that spot, usually on the curve right before your upper lip starts, and see if you can't start noticing a small pressure on it after a short period of observation.
2. If you're willing to endure a slightly unpleasant feeling, try cupping warm water in your hands, snorting it up into your nose, and blowing it back out. Doing this one or two times will clear your nose and make it far more sensitive, allowing for a much easier knowing of the sensation. Let me tell you, this little tip from Buddhadasa was the most effective advice I've ever gotten on meditation.
There's nothing wrong with not knowing the breath at a specific point, but it does, in my experience, make deep concentration a little harder. I'd really recommend trying to nail down where the breath hits at first. It's like pounding in a nail; you have to hold it physically for a short time but you can let go once you've got it deep enough in the wall. In the same way, you have to know the breath by sensation until you're concentrated enough to "take your fingers off the nail" and just know the breath itself.
Just my two cents. Please PM me if you have any other questions or if I wasn't clear. I'll try and at least point you towards someone who knows what they're talking about. Good luck!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.
Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.
His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti SuttaStuff I write about things.