2022-01-11 Satipatthana (6) Breathing Aware of the Whole Body
4:05PM Jan 11, 2022
So, good day and we continue to explore. And to help you explore your capacity for awareness for attention, then how the attention to breathing can be supportive and helpful. And one of the ways it's helpful is that the more you can be connected to your breathing, following the rhythm of breathing in and breathing out, the less mental energy attention is available to feed thinking. If all our attention energy, mental energy goes into thinking we reinforce it, and if what we're thinking about is not helpful, it's may be debilitating even, that we're reinforcing that unhelpful kind of trains of thoughts. And but if we pour our attention into the simplicity of breathing, then that is considered in Buddha's into very wholesome and helpful, that leads to all kinds of good states of mind. Some people might feel like their concerns what they have are so important that they have to think them, some people can't help because there's so much energy and thinking so so that they even if they don't want to it just like mind is pulled into it so strongly. But it helps maybe to consider that. That sometimes we have to retreat from certain challenges, to get refreshed, to put ourselves in a good state of mind, so that we can come back and address them better. And that's one of the functions of meditation is not to withdraw from life and not be part of it. But rather to step away, be in a sense by closing your eyes and meditating not being involved in the usual thing. But more importantly, to step away from the mind, preoccupation with things long enough to get refreshed, long enough, then to return with the better kind of inner eyesight, better wisdom to how to address it. So the rhythm of breathing is a place. So there's something about rhythms of things, that it's easier to kind of stay and follow, like the rhythm of the waves, washing across the shore view, some people could just didn't watch it for a long time just watching it something about it, that you wouldn't be if it just completely, still lake in the water is not moving, it isn't had the same kind of absorption. So there's a due to movement. So like a flowing river, for example, it's possible to watch that for a long time, or watching a fire in the fireplace, just watch all the patterns of moving and coming and going and appearing and disappearing. It's much more stressful, if you just fixate your attention on a single point someplace, and then don't move it, there's something about the eyes moving gently. And that mind moving gently kind of following something likely without the word doing work. And whether is stress, just kind of listening very relaxed about it. And so with the breathing, the idea is to kind of find that place of relaxed attention, like you're watching the river flow by to watch the movements in the rhythm or breathing in and breathing out. And so if you're too focused on being concentrated, and you know, bear down on it, that's actually stressful. But if, if you don't have enough attention on the breathing, the mind will wander off or under often the thought. And the middle way between not having enough attention. And having too much kind of tight attention is a kind of alertness of the mind that's relaxed, a kind of engagement with a breathing, that's more like a play or more like love than it is like work. And so it does involve some kind of getting absorbed, getting involved and settling in. And that's one of the reasons why sometimes I give these images that go along with it like today I give the image of a bird soaring on the in breath. And somehow the way you know, as as the updraft of the inhale as the movements of the body to go up to expand occur. If you imagine that like your wings are catching that, then maybe it's a little more compelling to kind of all ride it and then gliding down again with the exhale. That might give a kind of a sense of how to do this without a lot of work, but stay really closely connected to it. or the image I
like a lot is that of also is that the as it used also, the waves washing up across the sandy shore back and forth, back and forth. So I don't know if that works for all of you. But it's something that works for me in terms of helping me kind of find the right balance between not being tight or forceful in the attention. But also not too lacks with it, just right there. And then it's with time, it's self reinforcing. With time as more attention goes into breathing in less than to thinking it might find itself more more easy to get absorbed to be present for it. Now, one of the things that can help also with a breathing is its current instructions. It's not just a breathing, but to ride in breath, be with a breath, and experience the whole body experience the whole breath body as the all the different ways in which the movement of breathing comes into play in the body. Both both course the bigger ones, like the movements of the chest, perhaps or the diaphragm or the belly. But also more subtle, like it could be the back ribcage. So if you're very sensitive, you can feel that little movements of the spine as soon as you move, maybe the upper spine can move and you can sometimes I can feel it right down into my hip joint I can feel ever so saw a slightly alternating sense of pressure and release or pressure as I breathe in and breathing out, the shoulders can move. So all these places in the body kind of and, and so this expansion into that breath, body experience, the sensations of breathing. And as you as we're aware of all that, chances are sometimes that that's also a place where you feel your emotions, maybe you feel sadness, or in an area of the heart. And so that's also that's an area of the expanding of the chest as you're breathing. And, and so include that as part of experiencing the whole body, but included not as an emotion at this point in the practice. But as just more physical sensations. It's almost like you know, this is where as the water as the waves wash across the sand, maybe there's some seaweed there that's under washes around, or a sandcastle someone built and mostly washes around it and it's kind of untroubled by it, but just comes and goes and washes, washes around it to the side of it and slowly the sandcastle dissolves. So, it may be some of the emotions difficult emotions dissolve, if we just kind of let it rock let it move that it will be washed over. But the more important thing than it dissolving is that to have the experience of feeling the this physicality, the sensations of emotions, without being troubled by it without making a story about it. When we feel emotions, as emotions, many of us have ideas, beliefs, concerns, identifications, with it, the naked, sometimes more complicated needs to be, and to just feel the emotions, the physicality of it, in this rhythm of breathing in and breathing out, moving through you and just feeling back and forth, back and forth. And no matter what happens, end up being concerned with what happens with the emotions, just be concerned about moving through it and back and forth. And, and you know, maybe it's a little bit like, you know, like, I like the idea of, you know, petting a cat. So they have your pet, or whatever is going on sensations, that awareness moving through the bodies like just stroking the cat stroking a cat and whether it's difficult or not. And so what we're learning here is how to be involved with breathing, without getting pulled away into the world of the mind and thoughts and ideas and concerns. And as I've said just to be I said before, this is not meant to be a denial or pushing away or dismissing of how we're feeling. But it is very respectful to feel the physicality of it without adding all this stuff on top of it. And also it's a way of becoming refreshed or create more clarity, so that we have a more useful way of being present for the challenges of our life. Then the sometimes the usual way we bring along so much baggage hold with us as we go along.
So learning to breathe through experiences, learning to breathe with experiences, is one of the great skills that can come from this practice. And so whatever is happening, breathe with it, breathe through it, stay grounded in your breathing, and learn how to breathe with it, breathe through it. And you might find that you end up being more balanced that way, you might find that you become less reactive that way, less tense that way. Just breathe with whatever's happening. So so in this teachings of the Buddha, the Buddha begins by emphasizing a taking a supportive meditation posture, and establishing awareness with the breathing. So this is a really, you know, this, this is where the, the, the, this is where we're anchored, this is where we're going to be rooted. For the meditation and the breathing. Of course, it's not easy to be routed there. But that's the understanding. And then become aware of what breathing feels like, the sensations of breathing and get more familiar with it and hang out with breathing and stay with it. And with especially the rhythm of the breathing, and then as you get settled into it, then as you breathe in, feel the whole breath, body feel the whole influence that has the movements of breathing have in the body. And as you exhale, feel the whole influence. And why I use the word influence is that is that is that we don't, there's a lot of different ways in which breathing can affect us. Not just it affects us the physical movements of the body, but it can, there's a kind of relaxation, there's an opening, there's softening, there's, there's all kinds of emotional also impacts that good emotional impact that breathing can have. And so just to have the sense of allowing yourself to be influenced by it, being open, rather than being the one who's directing the show, be the one who's receiving the full experience of breathing in throughout the body, the full experience of breathing out throughout the body. So I hope that this kind of encouragement around breathing and exploring it and discovering it encourages you to take your time to become more familiar with your breathing and, and more familiar with a skill of breathing with things, what's happening, breathing through breathing with a whole body staying connected there. Even sometimes when you're talking or engaged in the work. What happens if you're breathing with that experience. And even if you're meditated for a long time, I think there's always room to discover more and find greater value with breathing. So if this appeals to you, you might spend the next 24 hours more with this experience of breathing in experiencing the whole body, breathing out to experience the body, just really feeling that experience. Get familiar with it. Make it second nature to be connected to it and discover all the things that open up when you're with your body with your breathing, that maybe won't open up if he just stay kind of locked into your mental concerns and thoughts. So thank you, and I look forward to being here tomorrow.