Concentration Meditation: Breathing Tech (Beta)

At some point it became a mission of mine to teach you concentration practice (samatha) in order that you could reach jhana in the shortest possible time. I believe that the breathing technique itself is the most key aspect of reaching absorption in the breath, and this technique seems to be very much neglected in the materials I have read. I’m hoping this post will put a dent in that.

This is a beta tech, meaning I would like you to practise it in a dedicated way for at least a week and report back to me in the comments section before I turn it into its own post.

We will now be using LuminousBliss‘s awareness spot for feeling the sensations of the breath entering the nostrils, which is the columella, indicated as the blue “V” on this bizarre picture I found on a rhinoplasty site:

Learning this breathing technique should replace any other meditation style you are currently practising for at least the next week (with the exception of pranayama which is an excellent warm-up for this).

The technique is split into two phases: Discovery, where you learn the mechanics of the breath, and Practice where you use what you have learned to enter absorption and hopefully jhana.

Discovery

This phase will likely take up most of your time during the first few sessions, and that’s a good thing as it trains both mindfulness and concentration.

  1. Sit down in your normal meditation pose and close your eyes. Bring awareness to the spot indicated on the above diagram.
  2. With mouth closed, exhale somewhat forcefully through your nose in a short burst.
  3. Notice how there is now a reflexive inhale. The inhale happens completely by itself as a product of the exhale, meaning you do not have to do anything extra to have air coming into your lungs. During this reflexive inhale you should notice your chest filling slightly, a sensation of energy rising up your body and spine, and sensations of air passing over the awareness spot into the nostrils.
  4. Now, you exhale again through your nose, but notice you do not need to push out so hard to create the reflexive inhale. This is key. You need to notice that gentle pushes out create an immediate reflexive inhale, and you need to discover the optimum energy of the push to create an ongoing cycle. So, a breath is always instigated via an exhale in this way. (You do not “suck air in”; breathing is always started with a push).
  5. Spend time working out how hard to push out through the nose, and when, in order to maintain the cycle. Also notice that you can use a push to start a new breathing cycle if your mind wanders (which is an excellent way to keep re-anchoring to the breath and getting out of distracting thoughts). Maybe you will need to do lots of little pushes at the start to keep your mind on the end of your nose, and in the breathing process generally. That is fine!
  6. Now, you need to notice that there is a sweet spot in which you can time the exhale just after the inhale peaks so as to create an uninterrupted flowing cycle of breathing. This can be super-subtle. It means that out-breath becomes in-breath becomes out-breath by itself, with the process seeming to become automatic. Finding this sweet spot is really the start of concentration. You must master the art of creating breathing cycles using gentle out-pushes until you find this sweet spot whereby the cycle begins to maintain itself in a flowing way.

Once this subtle cycle is happening you should find that your mind is going completely into the process, and this is the start of absorption. Your whole mind just gets sucked into the process of gently breathing in this way, partly because it takes so much mental power and concentration just to set up and maintain awareness on the cycle.

If your mouth opens a little bit by itself during any of this, then that is perfect. It’s natural. This whole thing should end up feeling pretty natural, even if at the start all the little out-pushes feel a bit unnatural.

Additionally, if you find your awareness going onto other parts of your face or your body (like those parts want “attention”) then that is cool, too — just settle into that kind of awareness, attend to those areas by just noticing them, then return to the cycle, using a little exhale push at the nose to start it up again if you got lost.

Just cultivating this awareness of breathing like this will build massive mindfulness AND concentration, largely centred on the columella, the bit in between the nostrils. If it takes a week to set up this technique, then that is time well spent. You can also practise breathing in such a way while walking around in daily life, since breathing using the exhale to begin the cycle is correct and is a central pillar of Alexander Technique.

Practice

Practice begins when, in your meditation, you have established the out–in flowing breath cycle described above. All you do now is allow your mind to go more and more into the sensations and process of the breath cycle.

If you find yourself beginning to smile during this, then that is a great sign.

The most important sign to watch out for however is the nimitta, the growing bright light behind your eyes. The more absorbed you become in the breath, the brighter the nimitta will become. This will almost always be accompanied by growing feelings of bliss, pleasure and happiness. You must however stay with the breath (at the columella), and not be distracted by the nimitta or the bliss. Eventually the nimita will become so bright that it will kind of “suck you in”, at which point you will enter jhana, which is noticeable via total orgasmic heroin-like bliss (it cannot be mistaken; it really is that obvious).

It really is as simple as that. But “simple” does not necessarily mean “easy”. Maybe this will blow jhana wide open for some people; for others it could take weeks to establish the mindfulness to set up the breathing cycle then the concentration to stay with it long enough to enter jhana. You won’t know till you try it in dedicated fashion for some time.

I really think this is key, so please practise it and report back to me in the comments section below.

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86 Responses

  1. Illuminatus says:

    MORE NOTES

    – Emphasizing the out-breath in this way is what keeps muscles relaxed. The out-breath corresponds with an activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”).

    – During the sweet spot there is a short time when you are gently blowing out (the exhale) while the previous reflexive inhale is still taking place. This leads to a “pushing sensation”, like you are breathing against something that is gently pushing back. It is THIS that gives pleasure/bliss/piti. It is a simultaneous activation of sympathetic AND parasympathetic nervous systems. This, I believe, is the core element that creates jhana.

    • Pat says:

      I noticed you are using the whole “sympathetic vs. parasympathetic” dichotomy to describe this again, like you did in this post, and a few other old ones that you had on that part of the site with links to “best of” the old forum.
      http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/forum/social-dynamics/one-area-sleazy-hasn't-talked-about-much-in-'debunking'/
      I remember on that page (with the “best of” links) you said something about how you didnt like the SNS/PNS terminology for it anymore, is there a reason you have now come back to it?

      On a somewhat related note, I remember one of the “best of” threads was one started by Bliss, where he talked about how being good with women was really about switching to PNS/a circuit one fix. Ever since I started getting legit jhana states, I noticed women react to me in a far better way in social situations. Is this what he means (or what you mean, as I’m pretty sure you made the same observation at another point?)

      • Illuminatus says:

        The main reasons I abandoned it are:

        1) I knew life was a mixture of the two systems interacting so it wasn’t “one or the other” (the same way I largely abandoned left brain vs. right brain but came back to it later from a new angle). It was something that filtered in later that happiness = receiving sympathetic stimulus while in a parasympathetic base state.

        2) I had no clear-cut way of activating PSNS (the official abbreviation for what we were calling PNS) reliably at the time. But this breathing technique (push out first) does exactly that.

        I have also made many more observations from meditation and life indicating characteristics of PSNS vs. SNS states so I’m more confident using that terminology again, now.

        Regarding Bliss, I find his advice generally meaningless because he is ALREADY in those states, and basically has no shareable tech to triggering them in someone who is anxious.

        Yes, your observation about the post-jhana state creating favourable social situations is right, as this is a switch to a PSNS base state. Socially it really is the difference between night and day.

        • Pat says:

          “I had no clear-cut way of activating PSNS (the official abbreviation for what we were calling PNS) reliably at the time. But this breathing technique (push out first) does exactly that.”
          Wait, I thought you have know about jhana for years (and before you knew it was jhana, you referred to it as a “bliss state?”) Or are you sayig that this breathing technique can activate PSNS without going all the way to jhana?

          • Illuminatus says:

            My ability to enter jhana was very unreliable till I made the connection that it was this breathing style that induced it most effectively.

            “Or are you sayig that this breathing technique can activate PSNS without going all the way to jhana?”

            Being in a PSNS state is not “special” in terms of being a living creature on this planet; we have just developed bad habits that keep us in SNS, and it’s mainly to do with how we apply attention to the world. The “exhale first” breathing helps reset the balance and broaden awareness.

            • Rigz says:

              How common do you think PNS states are among the general population in the West? Does the average joe transition between the two states naturally i.e. people who actually enjoy going out clubbing. On the one hand I suspect this is true (can’t understand how anyone would actually enjoy such extreme environments wihout being in some sort of fundamentally different state) but then againthe West is outright schizophrenic so I’m not sure

            • Pat says:

              Ah, ok. Were you still having trouble reaching jhana because of drugs, insight, or some combination of the two?

  2. Pat says:

    I just tried this, and I’m definitely willing to give it a shot for at least the next week. It did take me a little while to get used to the new method, as I have been using Absolutus’ labeling method of doing concentration meditation pretty steadily for the last year or so, but I definitely reached a jhana state. I definitely intend on trying to use this new method to try and reach the deeper levels of concentration that I have never previously attained (or only attained very rarely.)

    • Illuminatus says:

      Nice one. Thanks for the feedback!

      • Pat says:

        Np, I actually got it again yesterday, and once I got a decent jhana state, I set an intention to get to work on this paper I had to write, and then went amd cranked out a few pages really quickly (I had been reslly putting it off.)

  3. Kautilya says:

    Wow…..

    Can’t believe you managed to break this down!

    A few questions I’d like to ask but definitely count me in the clinical trials.

    1) The columella – is that another name for the nasal septum?

    2) Tried it today and was very good! but after reading again…when I read your comment above – it felt like a profound insight, the part about pushing against the ‘previous reflexive inhale’ – I lost it though! in order to do this intentionally my body (or mind) stops the inhale wherever it is or simply overrides it. So in practice I’ve kinda lost the ‘move’…..

    3) Usually I feel actual sensations of the breath at different places around the skin of the nostril. In the picture that would be like having a thin blue line outlining the ‘two hlack holes’ – nostrils.

    So this is slightly different in that – even if the location of this ‘columella spot’ is a mere mm or cm away from the ‘usual point of focus’ – I find it difficult to actually ‘feel air striking’ this point.

    Kinda like the usual places are actually on the motorway and this ‘columella spot’ is juuuusst ‘safely’ outside the actual motorway paramters. Cars (breath/air) doesn’t actually travel ‘substantially’ on or over it. More so if this sweet spot is INSIDE the actual flesh of the nose.

    Does imagination once again play a part here or do somehow eventually the breath and columella sport ‘merge’ like your suggestion with the 3rd eye.

    Apart from that I’m really excited about this, the ‘game’ element and simultaneous mindfulness and concentration is fucking spot on – no pun intended lol!

    In future I can see myself asking for way ti make this more ‘challenging’ to cause further deep engagement.

    Thanks Illuminatus

    • Illuminatus says:

      1 + 3) The septum is the thin band of cartilage separating the two nostrils. The columella is the fleshy bit on the outside at the bottom of the septum. I specified the columella because it has a bone within it. It is easy to mentally “grab” this bony structure. The air can be felt passing either side of it into the nostrils. You should place awareness wherever you can feel air moving. Your “blue line” is perfect.

      2) Okay, so we are talking about the specific moment when an automatic inhale is moving up the spine. As it reaches the face, let the mouth drop open slightly and you will feel your back open up. Now start your “push” from the nerves lower on the spine, deeper in the abdomen (you can think of this as your stomach region to make it easier). This is how you get both “in” and “out” nerves working simultaneously and then cyclically. It is a trick. Your goal is to get that going automatically through practice so you can keep awareness on the columella.

  4. Might I add this spot makes all the difference in the world.

    Many times I tested that when I choose another spot over the one between the nostrils, it doesn’t produce nimitta as fast and strongly. Also when you find a good breathing pattern (usually it has a fixed ratio which is most likely important as well , there is a reason why in pranayama there are certain breathing ratio to apply) the breath ratio makes the energies enter the central channel, when that happens you will feel the breath being very ecstatic, that’s because the channels ida and pingala are stimulated.

    Buddhist aren’t into this whole chakra system thing, but people who have had experiences with other energy practices and kundalini related energies will see that everything is connected in the end.

  5. William says:

    All I can say is WOW. I haven’t reached jhana but right now after doing this for 20-30 minutes I feel like a drugged monkey. Every breath out (the push) was VERY estatic.

    Played around a little with deeper and shallow breaths, and I might be mistaken but it seems like you can figure out the right inhale-exhale moment for various depths of breathing and still reach the sweet spot?

    Also this style of breathing reminds me very much of one reached while sleeping or being close to falling asleep is that correct?

    All in all this is wonderful but I am wondering if my breathing isn’t too shallow. Of course if it works, why fix it and I should just shut up and go practice some more. Caught some glimpses of nimmita – means I am on the right track.

    Huge thanks for both Illuminantus and LuminousBliss.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Well done.

      Depth of breath is not important and will self-regulate in time; what matters is concentration on the process.

      Yes, this is a level of parasympathetic activation that most people aren’t used to in our ridiculously sympathetic-based lifestyles. In time the sympathetic response will balance out the parasympathetic allowing the stimulation required for jhana. All authentic pleasure in life is sympathetic stimulus occurring in a parasympathetic base state. That is exactly what this breathing technique achieves, and it is HEAVEN.

      Yes, jhana does utilize aspects of the sleep state, especially reflected in the parasympathetic breathing state. But the sympathetic response maintains consciousness. You can use what you learn here to enhance sleep, too, by activating these breathing pathways and letting them carry you down into sleep. This leads to crazy-good dreams, too.

  6. Kautilya says:

    I tried again and its going better.

    1) Just to clarify, in normal concentration meditation we focus on air hitting the skin on our nostrils or just inside. Thats the usual and what I meant by my description of the ‘thin blue line’ around the ‘black holes’ (nostrils) in the rhinoplasty picture above. So if I feel air hitting the inside of my right nostril on the right hand side – thats a centimetre away from the columella spot which you said was ‘perfect’

    But after that comment, LuminousBliss said this spot SPECIFICALLY the one indicated in the picture makes all the difference in the world and you agreed.

    Can you help me reconcile these things?

    2) Ok, I’m getting the pushing out and the active pushing out DOES help concentration because essentially I’m engaging and controlling. Without going into detail of what happens I think this will help you understand better…..I’m ending up doing ‘partial Kapalbhati!’….

    You get what I mean….I have to actively push out or I get to relaxed and mind starts to drift – the active strong exhale seems sympathetic to me

    update* – Just sat again. at times I feel nice sensations, my eyes want to move, and I feel ‘nice’ like bit more content just by the fact that this meditation is well…nice’, emotional feeling and some feeling in the chest like someone gave you some good news.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Partial kapalbhati is fine to begin with, and most of my meditations start off that way. It kicks off the air flow cycle and also causes piti to rise which can be cycled with the breath into absorption/jhana.

      “and I feel ‘nice’ like bit more content just by the fact that this meditation is well…nice’, emotional feeling and some feeling in the chest like someone gave you some good news.”

      That is initial piti. It always starts off that way, in the chest like that. It means you are on the right track! Now you just keep using concentration like we have instructed and the piti will grow, and spread around (especially into your face), the nimitta will become brighter, and eventually the piti will explode into jhana.

      Very glad that this tech appears to be striking a chord with people and getting exactly the kinds of results we would expect. It has taken me this long to figure out how to describe it because it came very naturally to me when I first started meditating.

      • Illuminatus says:

        Oh yeah, check LB’s reply below for the answer to your other question, it is spot-on.

        You can see from this diagram that that nerve in the nose we are focusing on joins right into the brainstem: http://www.umanitoba.ca/cranial_nerves/hemifacial_spasm/images/facialnerve.gif

        I have some other theories about it too which I won’t go into now.

      • James says:

        The times I’ve gotten a multicolor dimond nimitta have both come from doing longer sessions of Kapalbhati before hand.

        • Kautilya says:

          So it seems a blend of Buddhist and Yogic practoices are the way…..

          Buddhists arent using energetic principles from yoga and many yogis are not doing hardcore one-pointed concentration meditation.

          Seems reasonable

          • In my opinion and from what I have noticed is that energy practices really opens your body channels in such a way that ecstatic bliss starts to flow through your entire system… But not just as an experience that comes and goes , but something that can last for hours , days, weeks, and ultimately it becomes someone permanent state.

            I am not sure how it is with the Buddhist as I haven’t heard such statements coming from them, might because they aren’t allowed to talk about their experineces I don’t know…

            But those who have practiced practices like “spinal breathing ” are usually the ones who experienece stuff like “god conscious” “non dualism” “”merging with Shakti” some other interesting samadhi states. In a permanent or no permanent way.

            Certainly Meditation on the breath also brings up those ecstatic feelings, through the days, but having energy channels “purified” is important as well as it allows for the ecstasy and bliss to follow smooth and strongly

            • Monk Bro says:

              The go to answer to if buddhists agree or disagree with certain practices is always: if it makes the mind bright, clear and prepares it for insight it’s perfectly fine. Buddhist teachings are designed in a way that allows a lot of room for personal preferences. I know of a monk, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, who teaches bodily energy work aswell as playing around with the breath to get energy flowing in certain ways. He has a youtube channel and a deep voice: https://youtu.be/I9xBd0rcADo

          • Illuminatus says:

            “Hardcore one-pointed concentration meditation” came direct from yoga. It is known as raja yoga. Buddhism took concentration meditation from yoga (with the Buddha allegedly emphasizing the pleasure aspect to create jhana, though that sounds apocryphal to me).

            My theory is that back in the day breathing was done parasympathetically by default due to lower environmental stress (think: modern life) so they did not need to train breathing specifically in the way we are here in order to get absorption — they breathed similar to that anyway.

            Really we are back to Culadasa’s “Attention vs. Awareness”. Attention (left brain) is narrow and sympathetic. Think of using computers, mentally zooming in on things on Facebook etc. Modern life is built around attention, which is highly stressful when done in isolation. The breathing style for attention is “sucking air in” (sympathetic). Awareness (right brain) is widefield and causes breathing to relax and become parasympathetic (exhale pushes to create the in-breath reflexively). You need both to create the (rather artificial) jhana state.

            The analogy I use for the columella is that, if you are aiming a rifle, you look down the sights. The columella is your “rifle sights”. Attention there is sympathetic. At the same time as aiming a rifle you can be aware of the wind moving over your body (parasympathetic awareness), which is the breath entering your nostrils. So centre your mind (ATTENTION) on the columella but simultaneously be AWARE of the air passing into the nostrils.

            A few guys have been bothered by my asking them to do several things at once, but I don’t understand this. Think of how many things you do simultaneously while driving a car, for example. No, you can’t jump straight into a car and do everything at once the first few times you try. What’s the solution? PRACTICE! You practise running processes simultaneously, for a long time. You make lots of mistakes at first. You keep losing one process while doing another. You then find you can do two processes together but lose the other one. You stall the car. You forget to indicate. But eventually you are doing TEN things at once, like it’s nothing. This is the training side of meditation.

      • Kautilya says:

        Damn I’m gonna fuck this up!

        Recently I’ve clawed back from what was verring towards a slack in my practice and was getting back to proper ramping it up – this post really got me excited like a booster shot…then ‘yes….no…what if it doesnt??…do I have any right?”

        on the level, no matter how shit they are, or even averse to yogic practice or whatever….how can these monks not be obtaining jhana, people still saying years and this ex-nun saying it can take decades and thats why she shifted to psychedelics??

        Surely, word spread in tne dark corners of monastry and the naughty ones said “psssst…..try a bit of pranayama before practice, but make sure the abbot doesn’t catch you!”

        If we can then they must have right?? so why isnt it obvious to all

        It’s sometimes such an awesome feeling just hearing some of you call someone a cunt one minute then talk about Jhana like a business stategy (in a good way)……yes it can be hard, definitely hard work, you need skill, motivation, persistence and a deep genuine passion…its is magical – but dont overcomplicate it! …..I have done, so has he, so can you.

        Your reverse engineering these skills teaching approach and generosity will surely bring you some hard Karmic reward!

        Thanks a lot man

  7. “But after that comment, LuminousBliss said this spot SPECIFICALLY the one indicated in the picture makes all the difference in the world and you agreed.”

    What I meant was that I have tried many other spots on the nose which didn’t give strong results.

    What seem to generate really very powerful nimitta is using the small spot between the nostrils more towards the bottom part… you try to feel the sensations of the air inside the nose rather than on the outward skin… you will feel the air touching inside the nose rather than the outward skin and you will also feel the air sensations on the side walls of the nostrils but inside the nose itself and at the middle of the “bridge” skin part between the nostrils.

    Grab mentally that skin “bridge” between the nostrils where the blue line is.

    Now breath in… follow the air inside the nose, exhale and inhale again and again, you will see the air sensations almost always hitting the same spot inside the nose.

    the air sensations will lead you to that spot… and you just keep feeling the air there as good as you can.

    I hope I didn’t make it more confusing, but if you are in doubt please tell.

    • Kautilya says:

      I get a lot of what your saying but not completely.

      Sounds like 2 locations:

      1) The blue ‘V’ in the picture (not much sensation)

      2) Some point inside the nostril (sensation felt)

      Are you saying to ‘map’ the actual sensation of air inside the nostril – onto the point of awareness. Somehow ‘mentally grab’, imagine, tranpose – so the sensation of air ‘feels’ as though it is hitting the ‘blue V’ at columella point?

      Additionally this is harder with a strong exhale because it is viceraly obvious that the air you have just forcibily exhaled does NOT touch the ‘blue V’ point of awareness. On the inhale at best its like 10% – so a tiny breeze we actually feel when a strong gust is right next door.

      *** Let me try this analogy.

      There are 2 caves (nostril cavity) right next to each other dug into a mountain. They are virtually twins. In fact its only a thin wall of rock (nasal wall) that separates them. 🌒🌘

      At the bottom of this thin wall, where it meets the earth – a small plant is there 🌷(columella point of awareness)

      If we imagine air and sensations to be represented by animals (bats) 🦇🦇🦇

      And we focus on them.

      These bats are going in and out of these caves moving around INSIDE these caves.

      💨🦇🦇🦇🌒🌷🌘🦇🦇🦇💨

      Yet….. The point of awareness is to be this plant which is a bit difficult since the bats are travelling near, but NOT hitting the plant.

      Know what I mean???

      I really wanna ge this….

      • Nice analogy xD

        Well the point of grabbing the plant is just so you are glueing your mind to the nose, and from there you sense the bats inside the caves when you breath in and out.

        what really makes your mind awareness stick to the caves are the bats. And that’s your mission.

        You know what forget about that stupid plant !

        Just breath in and out a couple of breaths, make it so that your intention is to feel the breath inside the caves as small as possibly you can, really zoom into it.

        That is really all to it.

        Imagine that plant sitting inside the caves waiting for the bats to touch it.

        • Illuminatus says:

          “Just breath in and out a couple of breaths, make it so that your intention is to feel the breath inside the caves as small as possibly you can, really zoom into it.”

          LB putting it perfectly once again.

          • Kautilya says:

            Thanks guys

            So it sounds me like. it doesn’t matter where attention is in the nostrils. It should be as tiny, singular, focused as possible. This is basically the instructions for concentration meditation that you would get anyway.

            So just to clarify the ‘columella awareness spot’ the blue ‘v’ in the picture – ISN’T the primary gift of this tech. It is a a chance to experiement, switch it up a bit – like the 3rd eye a little while ago.

            It appear the main gift here is…….The active exhale leading onto an auto inhale – discovering the ‘sweet spot’ that becomes a sort of vibrant breath cycle generating lots of piti.

            I was going to leave it today – just woke up and wanted something calmer, but my head was a bit wierd – just having woken up dreams etc. So I reverted back to this……whooooshh…head clear!

            This tech essentially takes advantage of ‘if you get distracted take a few big deep breaths’ advice – and makes the ben fits of that throughout.

            As well as all the other energetic stuff!

            • Illuminatus says:

              The breathing tech AND the columella awareness spot are BOTH “primary gifts”. That spot is soooo good.

              • Kautilya says:

                The columella spot IS the plant in the analogy ….so if we forget it or merge it ok….

                But we can’t zoom into the breath inside the nostrils AND have one pointed concentration at the columella awareness spot!??

                • Illuminatus says:

                  Breath runs either side of the columella and up the sides of the septum. It’s all close enough together to consider it one object. What’s your problem? Stop overthinking this!

  8. Campton says:

    This tech came extremely easy for me. Though, I’ve noticed the more I attempted it, the less effective it was. In fact, it completely wiped me out. 3 attempts gave tearful bliss, and the rest simply put me in a state of extreme exhaustion, though allowing me access to deep meditative states near instantly when sitting. This is the first night I have tried this tech though. Could this be evaporating serotonin?

    The final attempt I made caused only flashes of nimitta. This is my first experience with nimitta though so I assume this is normal?

    • Illuminatus says:

      This is a level of parasympathetic activation you (and most people) aren’t used to. Opioids are flooding your brain. Your tolerance will increase with time and practice until you are able to energize that circuit all the way to jhana.

  9. jeremythebear says:

    Thank you Illuminatus, this is brilliant. The thing that really made it click for me, was the tip to breath from the nerves in your lower spine. It just made me ‘get it’ then. 🙂 Felt great this morning, had some great visuals (e.g. some lovely fractals). Will see how this goes, but great so far. It’s a little trickier to ‘hit’ below my nose for concentration (as opposed to the usual bridge of nose, that I use). But I suppose, that just increases the effectiveness of this.

    Great stuff
    JTB

    • Illuminatus says:

      Sounds good!

      If you look at this diagram you will see that there is a main nerve in the nose bridge as well as in the columella, which helps explain why they’re both good: http://www.umanitoba.ca/cranial_nerves/hemifacial_spasm/images/facialnerve.gif

      Just use whichever spot you find easiest!

      I have found that different nerves have different “flavours” of jhana. Placing awareness on two dots just beneath the clavicles (phrenic nerves) for example produces golden light and a very rapid glowing sense of absorption.

      • jeremythebear says:

        Oh I haven’t tried the clavicles, will give that a go later. Thanks for all the information, its really helping with my progress. Some quality food for thought, every time I come here, I pick up something new to try.

        Cheers
        JTB

  10. nhattan0801 says:

    I follwed the instruction and practised. At first it is very easy to locate the sensation at that SPOT. After 20 minutes my breath became very calm and weak as well as a bright space appeared in front of my eyes. The problem is that the breath’s very calm and smooth so that i can hardly locate and focus on the sensation at that SPOT! What should i do in this case, Illuminatus and LuminousBliss (:?

    • Illuminatus says:

      One solution is to give a little forceful out-push of air from the nose at that spot to both locate it and start up another breathing cycle. In fact you can do that whenever you get lost.

  11. Buddha says:

    Ive been doin it for the past 2 days. The bliss is very noticable when doing it but it gives me a minor headache and 4-5 hours later which happins to be when i workout a major one. Also i feel it sorta sedates me in a pleasant way.

  12. Monk Bro says:

    Great stuff, this looks very promising! I’ll try this out and report back.
    I am with you with what you say about attention being different in people nowadays and before when we weren’t so stimulated. I feel like I’m always working uphill in meditation. Like I have some built in qualities that is completely unusable in meditation. But I’ve realised that if I just simplify the tech to the point where it’s impossible to make choices and verbal judgements that come from those sporadic-like actions characterised by todays society it can’t go wrong, that it leads to more mindfulness and concentration. Yeah simplicity I think is very key, which has been hard to accept for me and probably many others because of our fast paced lifestyles.
    Hey by the way, I want to get into energy work/yoga/pranayama(not sure what to practice)mostly because I want to clear up my spine and neck for energy and breath to be able to move more freely around that area. I do manual labor so I get stiff. I did a tantra thing a couple of times the last week and I noticed a huge uplift in my mood just from 10-15 minutes of this: https://youtu.be/MBFKgNmN1lE
    Do you have anything that I can complement with this? I’m also a bit uncertain if doing tantric practices will increase lust too much which I would like to avoid.

    • Monk Bro says:

      It seems pushing the outbreath is a real dealbreaker for everyone, myself included. Something so simple as gently pushing the outbreath then waiting for the inhalation to happen changes so much, awesome! I’m getting more bliss and have calmer sits, it’s working. Also tried the new yawn tech. Seems to me to be potent stuff, powerful stuff. Any technique that feels natural but gives fantastic results I consider powerful. I did the yawn last night before bed. I put in like zero effort because I was in a mood, it took me less than a minute to finish and then I went to bed. My body felt looser and when I laid down I could feel something in my calves, like they were buzzing with coolness(can’t recall the excact feeling).
      Thank you for these techs! Going to keep practicing them and see where it goes.

      • Illuminatus says:

        Glad it’s working for you. I’m writing a new post right now that should blow open the entire yawn/ muscle relaxation/release paradigm for everyone, and put an end to any problems caused by muscle/nerve functions, solving this area for everyday life AND meditation.

  13. AtypicalDude says:

    Hey! I find this is much better/easier than that tech on the tip of the nose, done this today, will report moar in 2 weeks. 2 questions Illu:
    1- I don’t find any difference between mindfulness and concentration meditation. Am I being an idiot?
    2- You say 30min straight a day for 2 months is better than 15min straight a day for 6 months, were do you think law of diminished returns is? What happens if I meditate 10 hours a day for 15 days in 2,5 hour slots (I would have to do that on my back, I get my legs numb otherwise)?
    Thanks in advance, have a great day bro!

    • Illuminatus says:

      1) “Mindfulness” tends to have a wider focus and allows thoughts and emotions to arise, be acknowledged, and allowed to pass. “Concentration” has a narrower focus, with the intention of the whole mind eventually being unified on the breath alone, with the goal of jhana/samadhi.

      Most guides out there just have the same guidelines for both, which sucks, since this can lead to people meditating for years without ever reaching jhana. It’s about goals. If you want to really advance in your meditation you need to get off the idea (as soon as possible) that thoughts/emotions are worth exploring during meditation. For the most part, they are an irrelevant distraction.

      2) Depends what your goals are and how you are progressing. Session times are impossibly difficult to set in a “one size fits all” way. For concentration you are aiming to reach absorption and hopefully jhana, at which point you will WANT to sit sometimes for hours because it is so blissful. But if someone’s mind has not been trained enough yet then they will tend to get tired and wash out around 30 minutes in, after which meditation can become “dull” and have rapidly diminishing returns. My view is that the best chances of jhana is in the first 30 minutes when the mind is most fresh. However, if you have practised enough that your mind is still fresh 1 hour in, then your jhana could arise after that point so it is worth continuing.

      The main issue I am trying to address in giving times to beginners is how long they can maintain a fresh mind before it becomes “dull” and they are just sitting there in dead mind-space, after which point piti (pleasure) and jhana are unlikely to arise. There is no “one true” time prescription that works for everybody.

  14. Mayath says:

    Really good stuff here in the original post and in the comments. I didn’t realise I was using Illuminatus”s “pushing out” technique all along either. Now that I know about it, I’ve been more conscious of how I breathe and Piti is arising quicker in my sits now.I think finding a particular spot in the nose that suits you is important in the beginning but eventually it doesn’t really matter where you place attention. Sometimes I sit in open awareness and Piti and the other Jhana factors just arise even though I’m not focusing on anything particular at all.

    Other recommendations I would add to this technique, which I’m surprised I haven’t seen other people suggest yet, since we have a lot of Ajahn Brahm proponents is following his methods to establishing mindfulness before jumping onto the breath.

    These methods are:

    1:Establish present moment awareness. Don’t think about the past or future. Just be present with what ever is happening in the moment. Let your attention dart around from sounds to phyiscal feelings but don’t think let yourself get lost in thought. Just be present. Spend a good bit of time doing this and then move onto the next step.Thoughts will have slowed down and your mind should feel very bright and alert.

    2: Silent moment awareness: Continue to be present but you can pay attention to the mind now. Watch how one thought begins and one thought ends. Try and find the silence between where one thought begins and ends. “Rest” in this silence. Enjoy it. Be present, enjoy your mostly quiet mind. Thoughts will still bubble up but now as much. They will be more like whispers and blurry images than conversations or movies, which is how our thoughts usually act.

    Don’t over think this step or imagine what its like. It’s not complicated. I think a lot of the problems in meditation that we make is, we imagine how a certain state feels and then we look for this imagined state.We ignore or can’t see the real state or we’re forcing our mind to act like the imagined state but it feels fake. For example I used to think first Jhana was a tight constricted highly focused one spotted feeling but in reality it’s very expansive.

    Dont worry about stopping thoughts. That’s very difficult and you can’t make that happen. That’s not the goal. All you do is lead your mind in a certain direction. It’s like calming down a crying baby. You soothe until it slowly calms down and eventually goes to sleep but you can’t make a baby sleep. You just try to help it sleep.

    The mind is like your sense of hearing, you will always hear things and you can’t stop yourself from hearing sounds. When you don’t hear things, it’s not that your ears or auditory cortex have shut down but it’s that your attention is fully absorbed in something else.

    3: Focus on the breath. It should be very easy to keep your attention on the breath now.

    4: Beautiful breath. Ajahn brahm calls it the beautiful breath, me and Illuminatus called it the mental breath but it’s a state of mind where the breath is just beautiful and the Nimitta beings to appear.

    Anyway, I think those first two steps might help some people before they focus on the breath.

    I’ve also been playing with the breath and holding it like its a mantra which is easy. I used to practice NSR meditation which is a cheap version of transcendental meditation. I hold the breath like your meant to do in those traditions which emphasise effortlessness. You let thoughts and whatever else happen, just have some awareness of the breath, whether it is conceptual or listening to it or seeing it.

    Actually I would recommend mantra meditation to anyone struggling with meditation. It’s easy and very relaxing. I can reach soft Jhana states with it in a few minutes. Strangely, it also activates the visual/creative part of my mind more so than the breath. It’s less “logical” than breath meditation or Buddhist meditation. You should see results pretty quickly with it as there’s no mental training aspect involved. I come out of a long mantra session feeling drugged. Not in a bright, highly alert way like I do with Buddhist methods but in a chilled dreamy stoned way as if I’d just smoked weed. Ideas seem to flow much easier outside meditation when I do this.

    Mantras seem to plunge you into the subconscious better than any other methods I’ve played with. The mantra feels like an anchor that just drops you deeper and deeper into the mind, with consciousness expanding around it. I don’t think I’m hitting Buddhist Jhana states with it but Yogi samadhi states. These states are more “spacey” than the mind strengthening/brightening Jhana states. I really, really recommend mantra, especially for creative types. It’s the best meditation I’ve found for generating ideas..

    Has anyone else experimented with Mantras? What did they find?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Mantras are useful because they tie up the verbal left brain letting awareness blossom around it. I intended to develop mantras more and write about them but my concentration practice is becoming very strong at the moment and I want to follow those currents and see where they take me.

      Mantras could be very useful for beginners who otherwise get too easily lost in verbal thought. Personally I have been intentionally suppressing verbal thought since I first began meditating, usually via placing my tongue gently against the front part of the roof of my mouth and sending “stop” commands to the rest of the speech apparatus, since verbal thinking is just very quiet speaking.

      • James says:

        I’ve done the “Om” Mantra for a bit before/during meditation and noticed it generates a bit of a “buzz”.

  15. Kautilya says:

    Arent Yogic Samadhi states or Buddhist Jhana (Yogic Dhyana) the same kinda thing?

    Mantra meditation would probabably be the most common form of meditation in the world because even the average Indian who doesn’t do Yoga probably knows someone who chants mantra. I have had many people recommend it to me but I’m actually feeling chanting right now.

    Mantra – ‘Man’ -‘Tra’ means free the mind and is definitely powerful and think affirmations and all that stuff come from it.

    Manynpeople, including me believe certain languages i.e. Sanskrit evolved with the power of mantra in mind and have a lot of power. Tha being said its like a wave, so whikst the ocean of the mind mind not be still, only a single repetitive wave is present.

    Dunno why I typed this month but I know your answers have been very helpful to me Mayath and you are very experienced. With that in mind I think if you are hitting higher states they are either trance like states which I’ve also experienced very positively, or your own level of attainment which you can now achieve through just mantra.

    Like a really experienced business genius who takes on a challenge to turn a shop into a multi-million pound business. With this experience and ability he probably can, but the average guy without may only get the level of a couple more franchises in the local area.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Jhana is a subset of samadhi, yes.

    • Mayath says:

      These aren’t trance states. I am very alert in them.They are samadhi/Jhana. I prefer calling them Samadhi because I’m not emphasising mindfulness they way Buddhist Jhana states do but that’s just me being technical with terminology.

      I’m not chanting a mantra. I’m following the transcendental meditation/NSR method of mantra. You just allow the mantra to repeat itself. There’s no effort involved and the mind gathers around the mantra. The mantra feels like an anchor that just allows you to drop into the depths of your mind. I like how effortless it is but I wouldn’t say it’s better than other techniques . It’s probably a good technique to switch to when someone hits stage 7 or 8 of TMI.

      The hundred of hours I’ve put into concentration meditation makes it very easy for me to hit Jhana, regardless of the method, I choose. So far I can hit the first four Jhanas with the breath, Metta, mantra, experiencing the witness and residing in open awareness.. I’m pretty sure I’ve activated the neurosomatic bliss circuit that Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson spoke about which makes this possible.

      Different types of meditation train different emotional/mental skills. Mantra suppresses the verbal parts of the brain and activates the visual/conceptual parts of the mind allowing ideas to flow more easy.

      Mantras are also associated with activating Siddhis. But I don’t know much about that except I saw Daniel Ingram mention it somewhere.

  16. engadget says:

    This tech is great. I’ve been practicing it for 4-5 days, and it’s been one of the most powerful techs I’ve used.

    Particularly, I think the point about starting the breathe with an exhale, and finding the spot between inhale/exhale is helping. A few comments —

    re: finding the spot: When I try to trace the point at which the inbreathe becomes outbreathe, there is some “air” that collects in my head and my concentration becomes stronger. Sometimes this concentration results in a slight perspective shift. Is this the right thing happening?

    Also, after about 45 mins of doing this tech, I’m able to enter pure(r) awareness states. I still don’t see nimitta or entering into jhanas. Anything in particular that I should be aware of?

    • Illuminatus says:

      “When I try to trace the point at which the inbreathe becomes outbreathe, there is some “air” that collects in my head and my concentration becomes stronger. Sometimes this concentration results in a slight perspective shift. Is this the right thing happening?”

      That moment IS concentration. That’s why it feels good and causes the perspective switch. Ignore any other sensations e.g. air collecting in your head.

      It is the act of tracing the switch itself that is concentration. This is when the mind zooms and tries to grab something. The same effect happens when you point your mind towards the awareness spot, the columella. This “zoom” is the concentration. If you can get a rhythm within that zoom itself then you will get nimitta and jhana.

      • AtypicalDude says:

        So THAT is the concentration… hummm… I find myself kinda lightly boobing and weaving my head to the breath rhythm, and smiling so much my face starts twitching after a while.

      • Kautilya says:

        Illuminatus brother…you can’t just leave it there man……this is IT!!

        Note: This man is doing 45 mins of meditation according to our ways we discuss here, even entering states he descibed as ‘pure awareness’ ….. yes something is preventing him from the real progress.

        “If you can get a rhythm within that zoom itself then you will get nimitta and jhana.”

        So the act of noticing or tracing the breath or re-focussing is the ‘zoom’?

        And can you break down getting a rhythm within that zoom itself please?

        * My feedback update:

        A good note for me is the tech is really really effective and nice. Its brought my motivation bacl as well big time. I felt ‘guilty’ almost about not focusing where the air hits inside of the nostril. Heres the thing though…

        I was doing well with TMI – the best advice was being to be very grateful when the mind wanders and you come back – positve reincforcement.
        Then to follow the various stages of the breath like a game – keep mind engaged
        Then (Stage 6 I believe) to attempt Whole Body Lite Jhana from breath sensations in ALL parts of the body – which had the effect of I would say of using all available bandwidth – so there is Exclusive Attention to the Meditation Object

        This tech is fantastic…… the breath itself which I described as the ‘bats in the cave’ before are using up bandwidth! My mental focus is on the columella awareness point and I simply cannot – have attention at the columella awareness point , be aware of the breath, and have instrusive thoughts.

        The nice feeling in my chest doesn’t come every time (sometimes it comes when my mind wander and then returns??) but there is a decent flow without distraction. I can see this going places if I put in the hours. Another issue though…..,strong advice I have got frm everywhere …. letting go

        Even Stage 7 (TMI) is ‘effortless exclusive attention’…… this method I have to regularly let my shoulders, eyes, forehead just relax……very sympathetic for an apparently parasympathetic inducing process.

        This was just an update and giving feedback as requested but I think the questions at the top are the big gamechangers.

        • Illuminatus says:

          “If you can get a rhythm within that zoom itself then you will get nimitta and jhana.”
          So the act of noticing or tracing the breath or re-focussing is the ‘zoom’?
          And can you break down getting a rhythm within that zoom itself please?

          So you are looking at your screen right now. If you heard a sound to your left and turned your head to look then your attention would go to the source of the sound. Most people only ever develop a strength of attention that gets them the information they need in the moment. But the act of looking over is a “zoom”, and there is an energy of attention in that action.

          When you train one-pointedness on the sensations of the breath at the columella then it does not start off as a continuous “zoom” of attention. Rather, you go there with your mind, then the energy of that zoom is expended (usually very quickly) — but during that moment there is a little spike of piti, which you are feeling in your chest.

          Each time you exercise the “zoom” you are building the concentration muscle. It becomes a stronger zoom, and more under your direct command. The trick is to not force it all at the attention point at once, but to go there then let your mind fall back then go there again in a rhythm. This builds piti in a progressive way, with each zoom adding to the piti. One way to coordinate this rhythm is with the breath itself — so only zoom on the columella when changing from an exhale to an inhale (the sweet spot). Noticing the sweet spot itself is an act of “zoom”, so this very exercise itself builds rhythms of concentration (and I created it that way).

          In time, once you have started to really become acquainted with the action of attention of the concentration muscle, you can start to use it in more efficient ways. For example sometimes I will fire a really strong burst at the columella to gain as much piti as possible in a short time, the reason being that piti itself strengthens concentration (it is a positive feedback loop). However the downside of this is that you can expend concentration energy too fast without getting to jhana, and I tend to have a feeling beforehand whether I can attain a fast jhana or whether it’s better to go “slow and steady” that day.

          Ultimately, what separates a beginner from an adept is how efficiently and effectively they use their “concentration energy”. But to most beginners the entire idea of concentration energy is a foreign concept, since they don’t realize that these forces are at play at all times when they are using attention. I talked about it in a previous post and it just confused the hell out of everyone. That’s why in many ways it’s better to just have everyone focusing on creating breathing rhythms (as in the above post) which develops concentration rhythms anyway, and they will eventually be able to answer their own questions from that experience.

          • Illuminatus says:

            I wanted to add two points:

            1) It is possible to make these concentration “zooms” REALLY forceful, when you know how to flex that concentration muscle hard. So, you can learn to get access concentration in a few seconds, jhana in a few minutes, etc. During my kundalini awakening my concentration was so powerful that if I focused on a single point for even a few seconds I would immediately fly out of body into a space backdrop. This occurred even while watching television — the focus on the screen would be so glue-like it would take me out of body. This was completely disorientating and fucked-up, and I’m glad that feature only lasted around a day or so.

            2) It is possible to “automate” the concentration rhythm so the back-and-forth of attention flows. This takes some skill and some knowledge/experience of the concentration muscle itself. But the method is that you establish an intentional back-and-forth rhythm of concentration (usually synced to the breath at first) then at some point you can “let it off the leash” and it establishes its own rhythm, which correlates with Daniel Ingram’s “sweet flowing waves” or whatever he said. There tends to be an intuitive moment when you realize you can let the rhythm off the leash and it will stabilize and allow jhana. At this point the mind very much appears to be running itself which will probably be a disconcerting experience for beginners, and will probably snap them out of the rhythm the first few attempts.

            • Kautilya says:

              Thanks man….

              This helps so much, I’m really grateful! Gonna try it now as I know you prefer action takers to just talking shit.

              I guess the zoom is the act of paying attention, and rhythm within that zoom is doing it regularly as a rhythm.

              There is this mental energy that hit the columella point, I have and sometimes it reaches a semi-autonomous point wherre I can even divert energy to redirect incoming thoughts.

              Is this a good rhythm for the zoom:

              Like each auto in-breath is like taking a bucket of water (follow it) then splashing it on a single stone slab (columella point) and concentrate on the slab.

              Trying to hard will exhaust you so you wont have concentration energy to continue splashing water – the continuous action required for access concentration.

              Will doing this eventually itself ‘explode’ into a stream of continuous water on the slab??

              • Illuminatus says:

                “I guess the zoom is the act of paying attention”

                It’s the moment when attention is first applied; it moves like a wave then quickly dissipates. So you swerve your head to look at something in a room; the wave goes there but then dissipates, loses energy, and the mind makes verbal thoughts instead. Attention in the original way is no longer being applied. That’s why learning this takes so long and is so difficult — you are isolating just the initial wave and applying it again and again and again until it becomes stable.

                “There is this mental energy that hit the columella point, I have and sometimes it reaches a semi-autonomous point wherre I can even divert energy to redirect incoming thoughts.”

                Yes! That’s the concentration muscle. Soon you end up grabbing thought energy and channelling it into concentration instead.

                “Is this a good rhythm for the zoom:
                […]
                Will doing this eventually itself ‘explode’ into a stream of continuous water on the slab??”

                The problem with this is that concentration resists being managed that way. The only way to concentrate is to concentrate. That’s why you are given breathing patterns that have the rhythm built in. If you try to apply your model you will end up concentrating on the model rather than the object, and not in a way which will help anyone. You are better off sticking with the breath and learning, intuitively over time, the action of applying concentration. Honestly, you can’t really skip this step. I’ve given you the best tricks there are in the method in this post.

  17. Ram says:

    Illuminatus and those who have been trying this: how fast is your breathing when you hit that sweet spot? I find this tech really tiring, and it’s very difficult to maintain this breathing for a full session because it just doesn’t feel natural. Maybe my rate of breathing is too fast, or it’s too forceful or something? After nearly a week, I still don’t feel that I’m hitting a natural rhythm with this kind of breathing.

    • What’s important is that you find a breathing pattern that is comfortable for you.

      My pattern is a bit faster without pauses in between.

      That’s what feels natural to.

  18. Joe Arcara says:

    I have been using this technique for the past week and making progress. Using the exhale push is an innovative master stroke. I have been meditating for ten years and my level of concentration has improved dramatically this past week. I am 67 years old, and have trouble obtaining that Lazer focus I had as a young man but this new technique gives me hope that I may one day achieve jhanna. I do notice a somewhat drugged, lethargic almost blissfull feeling that I never had before while meditating, though a nimitta is still pretty non existent. A tiny pinprick that quickly disappears, but ten years of mindfulness meditation if nothing else, has taught me patience. The sweet spot you refer to is the area a Buddhist teacher recommended some years ago, and I have used it ever since. Thank you.

    • Illuminatus says:

      With practice the concentration muscle will build and it is the flexing of this muscle upon the sensations of the breath that causes piti (pleasure) to arise and eventually jhana.

      Jhana is not luck, and I do not like guides that ask the student to sit and wait for a miracle. Jhana is a result of steadily increasing the strength of the concentration muscle. This training occurs by developing the ability to bring the mind back again and again to a small spot of breath sensations in the nose. The breathing tech helps this by making the breath pleasurable enough that you WANT to experience its sensations. It also makes the breath flowing and therefore easier to concentrate on.

  19. Salg says:

    So I’ve tried out this method for about 6 days and I’m definitely seeing results. In a nutshell, I’m starting my breath cycle by a little bit of a forced out breath and focusing the attention on the comulla region, focusing on the sensations as the breath goes in and out.

    With this method, it’s not that difficult to reach the nimitta. I think I even reached a very light version of 1st jahana

    What happened was, I was approaching nimitta ( very bright spot of yellow/gold light appearing in front of my eyes). I kept the attention on the comula region, and the bright light basically took over my entire visual field, and there was a sense of “dropping in” into a stage, accompanied with weird sensaitons in my arms. However, there weren’t massive amounts of joy, but there was a very noticable sense of contentment, wanting to be in this state as it is (This was something new to me. Usually, a meditation session is a chore for me where I have to use the sheer willpower to complete the sit). It’s almost like falling asleep, but you’re aware of the sounds. And there was a notable decrease in thoughts that are arising- the thougths that were arising were related to the meditation session, my mind trying to verbalize the sensations I was feeling. Even then those thoughts felt mildly annoying but they’re occuring my their own. This has happened twice so far.

    Thanks Illuminatus/Luminous bliss for the new method. For those who are well versed in jhanas, their input is greatly appreciated. Is this a light version of the first jhana or something else?

    • Illuminatus says:

      This would qualify as “jhana lite” under a few systems e.g. Leigh Brasington and perhaps Culadasa who categorizes them here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8vpuW34HcI

      I personally put it on the spectrum of absorption and having attained stable concentration. I would let you call it jhana lite if you wanted.

      However, it is not the “true jhana” that LuminousBliss considers the only one worth categorizing as jhana (and his blog has many good descriptions of this: http://www.jhanabliss.com/).

      In order to get that, my advice is that you must build up the concentration muscle (see the my notes on this a few replies above). It is when you can really stick with the sensations of the breath HARD for a sustained period that piti (pleasure) builds up enough to pull you into hard jhana.

  20. engadget says:

    I’ve not yet fallen into nimitta or jhana, but my concentration is definitely stronger and I’m really enjoying my sessions. The time during meditation passes pretty quickly.

    I’ve noticed a reduction in sleep if I do this tech before sleeping. Is this common?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Good stuff. The change in attitude and looking forward to your meditation is remarkable once you actually start enjoying it, isn’t it?

      There can be a range of effects on sleep after concentration meditation depending on what state was reached. What was the effect exactly?

  21. U says:

    Illuminatus, can you clarify how this practice here is different from the Yogic Breath of Fire? The Yogic Breath of Fire operates on the principal of a forceful exhale followed by a reflexes inhale, while focusing, and then from there, a natural rhythm will develop. This in turn causes a very rapid build up of energy and can quickly send people into bliss like states, hence why it is called the breath of fire. In the comments here, the experiences people are writing about sound exactly like the experiences people get when they practice the Breath of Fire.

  22. Illuminatus says:

    Breath of fire is more forceful, focused, and prolonged. It also specifically uses a diaphragmatic flex or blast that is not seen in typical breathing. The main point of breath of fire is the neurochemical changes induced by the exercise.

    Yes, we are using an exhalation to induce an inhalation. But this is part of a breathing pattern seen in animals at rest and is also recommended by the Alexander Technique (which I am fond of as a model of human movement, poise, and breathing).

    Additionally, the purpose of my tech is to create a breath that is more easily accessible as an object of meditation. The piti generated provides motivation for the practice as well as fuelling focus and contributing to the “breath as an object”.

    The reality is that the first few exhalations might resemble breath of fire (though will be nowhere near as forceful) but the goal is to quickly tune into a flowing in-out cycle as an object of concentration meditation. This is fundamentally different from breath of fire whose goal is to create neurochemical change through discrete forceful exhalations.

  23. Axel says:

    I tried meditating this way the first time today. I was trying to get the sweet spot when I felt extreme heat all over and I couldn’t take it so I moved and took some deep full breaths and I felt much better and cool even if I was breathing more strongly.

    At some point I touched my face and it felt pretty weird, I scratched my head (felt itchy all over), yawned and maybe I stretched; I’m not sure. Some time afer, my breathing became automatic and more subtle, not in the sense of breathing shallowly which I did at many times; but instead I was breathing…I don’t know how to explain it, it’s like breath moves through a tube and you breathe a volume of air and that tube just became thinner although I was breathing deeply…the volume may be the same but it moves through a thinner tube and it feels softer, and now I really couldn’t force my breath to be any other way.

    I also began feeling sleepy, my wakefulness would increase after moving my attention up to my eyes or moving them or looking with them. I really felt sleepy and I noticed inner silence. Even if I could listen to the birds singing outside the sound was quieter and I had that inner silence (I think this was just sleepyness). I began feeling light-headed and sick, and too hot, and the heavyness and dullness of sleepyness.

    I opened my eyes just a little bit, I tried to negotiate my way out of that state, slightly moving my neck and hands and feet but to no avail. I finally opened my eyes, breathed deep and stretched, and I was really dizzy and high, but in a way I’ve never felt.

    I was planning on continuing the meditation but instead I checked the time and the 30 minutes passed two minutes ago. The alarm didn’t ring and I think I had this urge to end the meditation because my inner clock warned me.

    After the meditation I was nauseous and my legs were weak. This happens to me regularly so maybe I felt weird during the meditation because I was actually paying attention to the body and fetl those symptoms coming up…or maybe the meditation triggered the symptoms. I will try meditating at other times.

    Also, while reading the method I was half-doing it and it was actually easier, I thought it was going to come so easily. I found it much easier to “enter” the breath and stay with it than to read or think. Similar things happens sometimes when I read meditation techniques and I imagine doing them as I read.

    My first idea is that when I meditate I give it too much importance and have too great expectations and I’ve been concerned with doing it perfectly and being in a perfect state for it (constantly monitoring posture ,etc), and my half-assed efforts give results because I don’t expect anything and have nothing to lose and I’m not trying to reach anything.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Heat, itchiness, nausea, light-headedness, feeling high = OPIOID RESPONSE

      It’s a good sign (opioids are dumped at the highest rate during concentration meditation) but you need to build tolerance so you can handle it. Give it daily practice for a week then give up if it’s no good for you.

      • Axel says:

        Thank you for answering. Wow, I always associated opioid response with that inner warm I get after a cold shower. Today I have felt less sleepy but felt drunk when I finished, and I kept touching my face because it’s really trippy . The feeling passed quickly and I felt clear and light but that’s about it. The 30 minutes have passed very quickly. It hasn’t been as trippy. But today I couldn’t narrow my attention, I was in open awareness most of the time, I’ve even gotten angry once and tried to really tighten it…I think the open palms mudra can get conditioned to this…Well I’ll keep trying.

        • Illuminatus says:

          “Wow, I always associated opioid response with that inner warm I get after a cold shower.”

          That is also opioid response.

          “But today I couldn’t narrow my attention, I was in open awareness most of the time, I’ve even gotten angry once and tried to really tighten it…I think the open palms mudra can get conditioned to this…Well I’ll keep trying.”

          Well, open awareness is how you get enlightened. It should be the default mode for humans like it is for all other animals. Why did you want to tighten your focus?

          If you want to create a tight focus at will, even while working, then you can change to gyana mudra:

          Also, practising concentration on visual objects (e.g. kasina) is probably the best way to learn tight visual attention.

        • Illuminatus says:

          ” I’ve even gotten angry once and tried to really tighten it”

          I hope you didn’t get angry on purpose; that’s the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

          • James says:

            I have found that if I’m agitated/angry, what I’ll do is work myself up even more, and do the bridge of the nose meditation, I mean put all of my fury into one pointedness and that leads to a really strong concentration practice.

  24. CHEESE says:

    Neutral results for me:

    I tried this about 45 minutes a day for the past week. Primary difficulty was sussing out the balance between the intention/monitoring of the exhale/inhale balance, and the intention to feel sensations in the V. A couple of times I “fell” into the place where the breath was very subtle and calm and almost continuous. It felt very amorphous and cloud-like. This was very nice, but I didn’t have enough mindfulness to not get lost in thought within a minute or so. By the end of the week I could feel sensations pretty consistently in the V you indicated. So overall, not a large effect on the actual meditation sessions. That said, this was a very stressful week for me and a lot of sessions ended up getting pushed until late at night/cut short (usually I do an hour), so the circumstances were fairly adverse.

    In daily life, however, I noticed a big difference. I repeatedly found myself breathing in the fashion described above while just walking around. More than that, my attention seems to naturally keep the breath sensations on the periphery which is an amazing aid for developing mindfulness.

    I think I’m going to revert to Culadasa’s instructions for the time being, but once I can again consistently get to almost continuous mindfulness (stage 4 in his system), I think I’ll give it another try.

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