Your Goal: Sustained awareness free from aniticipation & fear.
“They train them self: ‘I will breathe in calming formations.’ They train them self: ‘I will breathe out calming formations.” MN10 The Buddha
Back: Meditation 10: Whole-Body Breathing.
Next: Meditation 12: Access Concentration.
Your eleventh step as an insight meditator is to introduce the meditative skill of offering exclusive awareness to an experience, such as your whole-body as it breathes, in a gentle and caring way, to withdraw that awareness from sensory input within the six sense fields.
This skill develops the conditions for both attention and awareness to completely sustain in preparation for establishing access concentration (unified, stable attention free from the meditative hindrances).
As you become more aware of the experience of breathing throughout your whole body you will find that your awareness begins to develop an intimacy with it. Intimacy of awareness refers to the exclusivity of attention that you give to someone you really care about to let them know how much you care, free from any external distraction.
As intimacy of your awareness of your whole-body breathing increases, the borders of your body and sensations within your body will fade. This is not a sign of dullness as your mind at this stage is beyond this, but rather an observation of the gradual shutting down of the body sense door because your mind no longer is giving importance to it.
This same process is happening to your other senses but because of your exclusive awareness with your body will not be as obvious. Most importantly your mind sense is also going through a calming process because it is no longer being stimulated, and as this happens it will gradually enter the pleasure of seclusion.
This pleasure cannot be understood in terms of worldly pleasure which seeks and wants more, but rather the pleasure of letting go, putting down, releasing. As you mind enters the pleasure of seclusion your mind will feel the joy of relief and the sensations within your body will be replaced by pleasurable feeling reflecting this letting go.
With ever increasing intimacy of your awareness with the pleasurable experience of your whole-body as it breathes, your sense doors, including your body sense will fade, replaced with an overall awareness of growing pleasure of born of letting go in the body and mind.
Your meditation is the same as Meditation 10, except you now focus on accessing the pleasure of the experience of your whole body as it breathes until peripheral awareness begins to sustain on it.
Step 1: Sit down for meditation on a chair or the floor and gently close your eyes. Develop mindfulness of your body & joyful presence as in Meditations 03 & 04.
Step 2: Develop peripheral awareness of the experience of your whole-body breathing as you did in Meditations 05-10.
Meditation 11 Additions:
Step 2: As samadhi develops on your breathing, the pressure of this expansion and deflation will also be able to be felt within your arms and hands, legs and feet, and even inside your head.
Step 3: Gradually open your awareness to these sensations until you can experience them throughout your body. This will mature as the perception of the borders of your body fade away as a large, body-less, ball of pleasant feeling sensation. one ball of pleasant breath sensation.
Step 4: As the sense fields fade, so too will this ball of breath sensation. As intimacy increases, the pleasure of this subtle sensation will replace its sensate quality (piti**). This occurs as the body as a sense field closes down due to the seclusion of samadhi and is replaced by a mind created perception of breathing: a ball of pleasurable sensation.
**Piti - as sukha-vedana: pleasant feeling.
Step 5: Once this occurs, continue to increase your intimacy with this pleasurable sensation, allowing awareness to experience it from within. Do this until awareness enters into an autonomous flow with the feeling of pleasantness. This is experienced as the transition between effort and effortlessness.
Step 6: As you do this the pure, clean feeling of joy and happiness (sukha) will grow within your mind as it is purified from the meditative hindrances.
Note: It is important to note that since this is born from letting go, if the hindrances of anticipation of pleasure or fear of giving up control arise, that this whole process will reset to Marker 10, whole body breathing.
The eleventh marker of mindfulness of breathing, sustained awareness on your body breathing, arises as a natural progression of increasing intimacy and letting go within your mind.
Meditative Hindrances are signs of an imbalance in either your effort or the structure of your attention and are seen as an opportunity for insight into your mind.
Anticipation (15), Fear (16).
You are ready to progress to Meditation 12: Access Concentration when:
In this simple map you can observe that when practicing Meditation 11 (blue line) the main hindrances to your meditation will be Anticipation & Fear.
The Experiential Marker: Sustained Awareness, developed by Meditation 11 is the method you should use to calm/weaken the present hindrance.
You begin to develop your skill in using your meditative samadhi as the grounding point for your GOSS Formula in daily life.
Mindfulness in daily life is based on samadhi-gata sati.
New GOSS Formula:
Applying in Daily Life:
Meditative samadhi when not yet mature is highly sensitive to defensive habitual patterns and absence of sila (morality). This can be used to your advantage to develop insight by using changes in the structure of your samadhi as a viewing platform.