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Author Topic: The Official PPM Breath Meditation  (Read 10427 times)  Share 

Illuminatus

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The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« on: September 24, 2011, 01:45:03 PM »
This is the general-purpose meditation which should be practised at least 30 minutes daily, extending the sitting time to 1 hour or beyond as you become more comfortable at it and begin to see the benefits clearly.

The main benefits of this meditation are:

- Hones concentration to an exceptional degree by you practising to actively ignore distractions.
- Gives you experience of a truly clear mind which will begin spreading into other areas of your life just through daily practice.
- Relaxes the body and promotes regenerative physiological processes.
- Provides clear evidence of your ability to handle emotions. It is a process you can learn and repeat. Thus, it builds your confidence in your own ability to emotionally handle life. This leads to an extremely balanced and equanimous ongoing emotional state -- and a lens of stability which you begin to view life through.

This meditation should be done every day, no excuses. Consider it in the same league as brushing your teeth. You would never leave the house without brushing your teeth -- nor should you go a day without 30 minutes' meditation (or longer).

I recommend setting a timer with an alarm in order that time itself does not serve as a distraction.

1) Sit comfortably. Lotus position is optimal. I cannot do lotus so I sit on the sofa with a firm cushion placed at my lower back to provide lumbar support so I can maintain a straight spine for long time periods. You are looking for a stable sitting position which you will be able to hold, without moving, for long periods of time. So get this right from the start.

2) Close your eyes. The natural position of the eyes when closed and at rest is actually slightly inwards and upwards (this, the "third eye", is actually quite a natural position, and you will find your eyes going there when relaxing, so do not worry about forcing them to this position -- they should actually correct themselves the more you relax). There is no forcing of the eyes. They are closed gently and relaxedly and allowed to come to their natural resting position.

3) Begin breathing regularly (with a slow, steady rhythm) from the diaphragm. The air should feel like it is feeling the lower part of your abdomen first, as though your lower abdomen is a balloon slowly inflating. I know I am breathing diaphragmatically because there is an audible hissing noise in my throat/head area as my lungs inflate. This sound provides another point of reference to turn your attention back to during the meditation. If you are really struggling to figure out if you are breathing diaphragmatically or not, there are a couple of things you can do: 1) Watch an animal or person while sleeping. Their stomach area inflates first. You also often hear this soft hiss from people while they are asleep. 2) Imagine you are asleep, or observe how you breathe when you are between sleeping and waking, e.g. first thing in the morning. It is definitely a different style from the "chest breathing" people tend to do while awake. The diaphragmatic breathing releases opioids and calms you immediately. It is also regular and easy to return attention to.

4) Do not move any other muscle in your body besides your breathing apparatus. This is why your sitting position must be stable and comfortable. Input from the body causes much of the turbulence in the mind. Terminating this input through not moving is the first step in clearing your mind. This may feel strange at first, like some parts of your body have become paralysed, but I guarantee you that you will be able to move them again and there is no cause for alarm.

4) Now, you just sit and watch your own breathing. When your attention drifts to thoughts, calmly return it to your breathing.

That is it.


TIMELINE OF EVENTS

This is my own personal experience of how this meditation plays out. Your experience may vary. There is no right or wrong.

1) First I get distracted physically. My body keeps trying to get my attention by itching or being uncomfortable. I attend to major problems such as having a very bad itch or swallowing if my mouth or throat gets too full of saliva, but the key is to ignore the minor discomforts. If you have an itch which you scratch for example, you will find that your body immediately creates more itches for you to scratch. This cycle of constant distraction occurs in all areas of life, mentally as well as physically. It is this cycle you are practising breaking by honing your concentration on your breath via this meditation.
Getting through the physical discomfort phase took me around 3 minutes when first starting out.

2) When my body settles down, I will still have distracting thoughts. There is no way through this other than to simply keep returning your attention to your breath. So if you begin thinking of something, and that thought demands your attention as thoughts always do, then you simply move your attention back to your breath, without getting frustrated about it.
When first starting out, the distracting thoughts phase would often take 10 minutes or more to get through. Sometimes I would never get through it, for the entire meditation! However, nowadays, I will always get through it. That comes from practice. Do not place unrealistic expectations on yourself when first starting out though. Take it as it comes.

3) At some point, my thoughts are still there, but I appear to be watching them rather than thinking them. At this point, you have accessed the observer. During this phase, you can watch your thoughts and it seems like they are coming from somewhere else, perhaps in front of you. You begin to realize that you are not your thoughts. Truly a glorious phase, especially if you have not experienced it before! During this phase you will often see old thought loops, days, weeks or even years old, finally being allowed to come to an end. Think of your brain as a multitasking computer, with several old programs still running on the Task Manager. Entering the observer is like pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc on your computer keyboard and actually seeing all the garbage that is going on. You cannot see these programs impartially in waking life because when they are running they form some part of your reality, so you are often not conscious they are happening. This is one of the reasons meditation is so important.
I had to practise the breath meditation for around 2 weeks before I was able to enter this phase consistently. At first, I would be amazed by it, and my amazement would often have me thinking thoughts again, such as "This is amazing!". So amazement does break the meditation. That is no problem -- time and practice sorts all of that out. Simply return attention to the breath. When I first started out, entering this phase might have taken me around 15 minutes or longer -- and it was not guaranteed I would enter it at all. So don't beat yourself up if you don't reach it in the first few weeks of practising. Keep going. Time and practice is key.

4) Eventually, all thoughts end. In our computer analogy, this is like clicking "End Process" on every process in the Task Manager (except "Breathing"). Of course, you do not actually "do" some action while in meditation -- simply sitting and watching as the observer ends thoughts for you. At this point, I am only aware of my breath.

5) Eventually, I do not even need to focus on the breath any more. Consciousness itself is all I experience. It is like a return to womblike consciousness. I stop focusing on my breath entirely and let it do whatever it wants, whilst simply abiding in this "no-thought" state. At this point, many physical phenomena with take place in my body and brain which have various manifestations in my conscious awareness. For example, I will have some kind of light display taking place in my awareness -- seeing the movement and flow of energies, with all sensory input experienced this way synaesthetically. I will enter a bliss state where my whole body feels good and it feels as though I am "healing" all parts of myself. I attribute a lot of the bliss effects and perception of movement of energies as various neurotransmitter releases. Eventually my awareness will be filled with a bright white light and become a still lake of pure energy. This is where I believe the term "enlightenment" comes from. I can then stay in this state for a long time (more than an hour), as time does not work the same way while sat like this. There is no perception of anything except consciousness itself.

------------------------------------------

The effects in waking life following regular meditation is a topic in and of itself. It can be different for everyone. I personally will sometimes spontaneously "see the true nature of things", like looking through a tunnel where the walls are made of the nonsense of ego but there is a clear image at the end. It seems like the more time I practise, the more this tunnel expands and I can "put" more of my conscious awareness in the hole at the end, in order that I can "see" more of the world in its "true" way.

Another important aspect of regular meditation is that, for at least a few hours afterwards, I can clearly "see" all the thought processes as they turn back on. Seeing them in this way allows me to not take them as seriously at all. In fact I often laugh out loud at some of them.

There are benefits I have not acquired yet, but surely will with time. For example, my meditation mentor (who goes by the pen name "Aaron Sleazy" since most of his writings are actually about seduction rather than meditation), can clear his mind at will, after 16 years of practising this meditation. We also know of the Buddhist masters who report permanent equanimity with all life and a feeling of having "one foot off the ground."

There are lots of benefits and these are well documented both scientifically and anecdotally, ranging from simple health benefits, to vast spiritual experiences of "truth", respectively. The main thing is that you begin practising meditation regularly yourself and find out what the benefits are for you, without making too many expectations beforehand!

And do ask any questions on the board. Correct guidance is very important in meditation, and in life generally.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 02:10:14 PM by Illuminatus »

Nihanobac

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2011, 03:38:11 PM »
Quite like I am doing it. I regularly encounter a problem, though: Sometimes my lungs are somehow restricted and I can't take deep breaths. Not from the diaphragm, that is. Chest breathing is not a problem. This always gives me a continuous sense of unease, since my diaphragm feels like it's overstreched when trying to breathe deeper. I noticed that I have a much easier time clearing my head and relaxing when my breathing is unrestricted.

I suspect it has to do with what I have eaten the hours before meditation. Lots of bread or pasta ("stuffing" foods) always make me breath flatter. However, sometimes the same happens after light meals or even right after getting out of bed, before eating anything.

Advice, anyone?

Illuminatus

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2011, 04:26:18 PM »
Quite like I am doing it. I regularly encounter a problem, though: Sometimes my lungs are somehow restricted and I can't take deep breaths. Not from the diaphragm, that is. Chest breathing is not a problem. This always gives me a continuous sense of unease, since my diaphragm feels like it's overstreched when trying to breathe deeper. I noticed that I have a much easier time clearing my head and relaxing when my breathing is unrestricted.

I suspect it has to do with what I have eaten the hours before meditation. Lots of bread or pasta ("stuffing" foods) always make me breath flatter. However, sometimes the same happens after light meals or even right after getting out of bed, before eating anything.

Advice, anyone?

This hissing/growling breathing I'm talking about always clears restrictions out for me. Maybe I'll upload a video of me doing it or something.

Edd

dionysian

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 04:34:08 PM »
Hey Illuminatus,

I was practicing this meditation, but got more into the "body sensation"/watching-for-overlay style of meditation after reading your book.

Although they are very similar, which would you say is more essential?

Illuminatus

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 05:03:06 PM »
Hey Illuminatus,

I was practicing this meditation, but got more into the "body sensation"/watching-for-overlay style of meditation after reading your book.

Although they are very similar, which would you say is more essential?

I think watching for overlays for a short period of time, perhaps 3 months, is VERY important for self-awareness.

The breath meditation is a general-purpose meditation that will give you elements of body awareness and seeing overlays anyway (when you become the impartial observer, for example, which will allow you to observe your thoughts and feelings without identifying with them). Obviously this will then reinforce your ability to spot overlays and detach from them in waking life, so this meditation does support the spotting overlays meditation.

Consider the breath meditation the whole lot packaged into one. But use the individual ones for specific purposes. E.g. I think you should do the breathing one every day but then spot overlays when going about your business in waking life. I have very few overlays now, and I attribute that to spending several months spotting them and disregarding them, as I described in the book.

I think a period of developing the ability to spot overlays in real time is essential. E.g. when I first started meditation, it was actually by reading The Presence Process (which is in the carousel on the right if you wanted to read the description), and that was when I first became truly aware of the extent of "ghosts from the past" following me around everywhere, being edited into reality by my mind. Once I could see them, I could "work around" them to an extent, which has a lot of obvious advantages in terms of no longer being locked into set patterns of behaviour. E.g. I could begin doing things like playing live gigs on guitar and doing karaoke because I realized I'd made up the negative audience reaction beforehand. I learned to "see" my mind creating that overlay, and ignore it long enough to get up there and do it.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 05:05:41 PM by Illuminatus »

Man

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 07:43:14 PM »
is lying on the bed not as effective as sitting? also, when you say you sit on the couch, do you sit in the lotus position, or do you put your legs on the floor? posture is important, eh?

Illuminatus

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2011, 08:27:53 PM »
is lying on the bed not as effective as sitting?

You'll just fall asleep, so NO.

Quote
also, when you say you sit on the couch, do you sit in the lotus position, or do you put your legs on the floor? posture is important, eh?

As I explained in the post, I cannot do the lotus position. So I sit upright with a cushion for lumbar support and my feet on the ground.

Cheers,

Edd

Mihawk

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2011, 08:33:07 PM »
is lying on the bed not as effective as sitting? also, when you say you sit on the couch, do you sit in the lotus position, or do you put your legs on the floor? posture is important, eh?

The only important thing is a straight spine. Everything else is kind of secondary, such as leg positions.

You could be lying down, why not. But when you relax ALL of your muscles like this you will probably fall asleep. A sitting position demands a certain balance between tension and relaxation.

If you sit and keep the legs on the floor (like in a chair) you will have more blood in the legs. If you sit in a normal cross legged position there will be more blood circulation in the upper body, also the blood from the legs doesn't have to travel up against gravity as much.

I would say having better flow to your glands and organs is more important than having lots of blood in your legs during meditation, so cross legged position is prefered.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 08:35:21 PM by Mihawk »

Man

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2011, 01:26:45 AM »
also, what time of day is optimal to meditate? does it matter? i suppose its good first thing in the morning upon waking, but i like to work out in the morning, so i may meditate mid-day.

MannySter

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2011, 03:22:08 AM »
also, what time of day is optimal to meditate? does it matter? i suppose its good first thing in the morning upon waking, but i like to work out in the morning, so i may meditate mid-day.

Try both and see which one works better for you.

aelephant

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2011, 03:18:29 PM »
Meditating post-workout sounds amazing to me right now. Might have to try that tomorrow.

joviaal

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 12:03:18 AM »
Just dropping by to say the timer stuff is genius.
I time my meditations now, and it's become way more COOL and chill that way.


It's because I can just relax and know it's over when I hear the phone beep. And I won't be too easy on myself to quit whenever I feel like it was enough already. That way I keep making progress


dwayne08

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2011, 04:14:32 AM »
I've done this about 5-6 times so far and I wanted to post my findings so you guys can give me some feedback:

When I do this, I usually have distracting thoughts and events that pop up in my mind. But I never have emotional reactions to them..they just come and go.

When I get done, I feel extremely clear headed for a bit - maybe 30 min at most. But as soon as I realize "wow I have literally no thoughts", it goes away.

I also have certain moments where I don't have any thoughts..and then my body jerks and I suddenly have a thought. I'm not sure if this is because I'm about to fall asleep - I have these jerks when I'm dozing off in class and suddenly wake up again.

Any input will be appreciated. Thanks!
« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 04:16:16 AM by dwayne08 »

Illuminatus

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2011, 11:39:48 AM »
I've done this about 5-6 times so far and I wanted to post my findings so you guys can give me some feedback:

When I do this, I usually have distracting thoughts and events that pop up in my mind. But I never have emotional reactions to them..they just come and go.


That's good and shows cultivation of equanimity already.

Quote
When I get done, I feel extremely clear headed for a bit - maybe 30 min at most. But as soon as I realize "wow I have literally no thoughts", it goes away.

Ah. The trick here is to recognize that as a thought as well, and allow it to fade like you did during the meditation.

So what happens, with practice, is that you begin carrying the meditative state with you for longer each time, even after you have got up and started walking around. E.g. for a couple of hours now I can still "see" thoughts trying to come into my mind, and can let them fade and not interfere. Of course, after a while, thoughts build a "critical mass" and you are back to your normal thinking, but the key point is that this is lowered, even if you do not notice it immediately. The more you do this, the more you notice when the thoughts are coming back, and the less attention you pay to them.

So you are doing everything right, and practice will sort these things out.

Quote
I also have certain moments where I don't have any thoughts..and then my body jerks and I suddenly have a thought. I'm not sure if this is because I'm about to fall asleep - I have these jerks when I'm dozing off in class and suddenly wake up again.

I think this is a hypnic jerk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnic_jerk
It occurs when you are entering the sleep state.

With practice you can retain consciousness while meditating without entering the sleep state. Maintain a straighter spine and don't "slouch" while meditating (which emulates relaxing for sleep). However, you should still be relaxed even sat upright (in other words don't "force" a straight spine which will just stress you out).

requiem

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Re: The Official PPM Breath Meditation
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2011, 06:45:52 PM »
Nice, simple and to the point. And just like any skill, gets easier after a while. Anyone can do this. We need shit like this in our schools.

The moments of relaxation, where you finally 'unlock' an area, and feel that tension dissipate.. are fucking heavenly. Felt like clumps of negativity, were just flowing out of my shoulders, breathing became slow and soft, I could feel out of place muscles aligning. Everything got lighter, and more pleasurable.

Just walking around I feel more full, more there. The more I meditate, the more I realise how fucking OBVIOUS this shit is. When you're tense and you don't feel your body, obviously your feelings can't flow. When you release, you're open to flow and new experience. Try saying that out in the real world, even talking to a guy who clearly has tensions, they won't even bother to see if its the case.

Man.. The good thing about relaxation is that it seems to be a hockey stick progression. Like, I started just relaxing small areas, soles of the feet, ass in the chair, arms at my side. But once those areas relax, relaxation can't help but spread. It pulls other areas in. So from feet it pulls all your leg muscles in, knees, thighs, cock, stomach, spine.. it all just gets pulled in to this warm pleasurable buzz. Areas that I can't remember feeling since I was a kid, that give rise to qualities of smell/temperature/light that I only used to remember from certain childhood vibes etc.







 





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