Your questions answered here!April 15, 2015 | 1 Comment
Thank you, Kris, for these excellent questions.
Q1: As for putting our attention on our breath, would you want to speak to the relationship between putting my attention on my thoughts and (not) sort of leaving my body? I feel like sometimes what is happening for me is that while focusing on my breath, and labeling my thoughts, I lose touch with my felt body sense, and that feels off.
Q2: Also, would you want to talk more about ending our practice? I feel that this is important for me to practice, being intentional about the beginning, the middle, and the end of the practice. Yet at the same time, I want to bring my practice of mindfulness to my day outside the practice of sitting meditation. So what exactly do we mean when we say that we let the method go?
A1: As you are discovering, placement of attention during meditation practice is complex. It is continuously moving between breath, thoughts, what it feels like within the body and what it feels like in the space around the body. This cycling is normal and natural and there is no problem as long as the breath is deemed the primary focal point and you come back to it rather than dwelling elsewhere for too long. Since the body is the entity that is breathing, when your attention is on the breath, you are in touch you the felt body sense and therefore it is not lost. Please let me know if this answers the question?
A2: When I suggest letting the method go, I mean to stop applying the meditation technique once your session is concluded. The technique is, as you know, to sit up straight (comfortably), place attention on breath and, when it strays into thought, label that “thinking” and return attention to breath. At the end of meditation, we stop doing that. If we went into our life trying to apply this technique, we would end up crashing our car or tripping over the curb. We have to pay attention to what we are doing, where are, how we feel, and who else is present. As a meditator, you are much better able to do this, not by placing attention on breath, labeling thought, and coming back to breath while you are in a meeting, talking to a friend, or grocery shopping—but by placing attention on what you are doing, how you are feeling, and what is going on for others–and letting go of projections to come back that. (As opposed to breath.)
Hope this helps! Let me know. Thanks again for the great questions.