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Tag Archives: breathing

Bored to the bone

What Chögyam Trungpa has to say about boredom is worth reading. I’ve never come across something so clearly put and so totally to the point. On mindfulness of breathing:

– Nothing happens, it is absolutely boring.
– When you take away the idea of credentials, then there is boredom.
– Boredom is important in meditation; it increases the psychological sophistication of the practitioners.
– It’s a good feeling to be bored, constantly sitting and sitting. First gong, second gong, third gong, more gongs yet to come. Sit, sit, sit, sit.
– … the introduction of boredom and repetitiousness is extremely important. Without it we have no hope. It is true- no hope.
– Simply relating with the breath is very monotonous and unadventorous…

It’s very refreshing and fun to read this, it’s hard not to laugh out loud. Someone is slamming what everyone is thinking- bang- on the table. Look at it, acknowledge it, relate to it, accept it and really go into it. Boredom will play it’s tricks in almost every aspect of meditation, at least if it’s about getting to the core and not just for “credentials” and entertainment.
I often read that mindfulness of breathing is The Basic Excercise, but Trungpa puts this in a new prespective. The Basic Excercise is to deal with boredom in a new way and what would make better practice than meditation? I can really relate with this view because my 1 month of daily sitting has been 95% about not getting up from the cushion before the gong. It’s more about not doing what feels neccesary than actually doing something useful. I’ve failed a couple of times, but all in all it’s been a success.
I sit, mind wanders, body hurts, I breathe, mind wanders, I’m bored, I sit, breathe, sigh, mind races, I loose it, I catch it, frustration, boredom, breath, restlessness, I sit and- gong- I’m free.
Reading Trungpa helps me realize how much progress I’ve actually made by being bored to the bone and staying with it.
This weird practice is a paradox in itself. Why am I surprised that failig to follow instructions, achieving nothing and getting bored could mean doing it right, having progress and enjoying that what is not-fun?

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What is “All This” ?

I’m not sure what to meditate on. A word that constantly shows up in talks and texts about buddhism is ” s i m p l i c t y “. That’s excellent. I want simplicity. A good place to start would be to simply meditate. Easier said than done if you ask me. There is a vast array of meditations to choose from.

– Count your breathing
– Focus on compassion
– Be mindful of whatever comes to mind
– Acknowledge all bodily sensations
– Follow your breath as it travels through your body
– Plant your focus four fingers below your bellybutton
– And so on

Everyone of them is of course essential according to whoever wrote about it. One thing is for sure. Trying to do all of them will further confusion. If I keep on wobbling I can declare myself the new Confusious. So what technique to start with?
I dunno!
I must choose without knowing.
Shit, that’s hard.
I have some difficulty just counting breaths because it bores me to hell and back. I can make it easier by raising the bar a bit. Instead of counting 1-10 on breathing in (or out), I can make up a trickier sequence like
1-2-1-2-3-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-5…10-9-10-9-8-10-9-8-7… etc
that keeps my mind from wandering since I’ll have to store the “turning number” while keeping count. If I only do simple sequence there’s room for a lot of divergent thought between numbers. And I still can stick to the right order and reverse on 1 and 10. Doing that for 15 minutes is not so hard but I feel it misses the point somewhat. Another chatter-ish variant is to go;
1-I just did one and on the next inhale I’ll do two but not yet because I’m only on one. Yessir, one it is but here it comes. Airs almost out and then comes the next inhale and then it’s two. Here we go-2-Fine, that was two and…
That is also keeping track of breathing. That is also having your head filled with constant chatter.

I’ve done the others as well. For 20 minutes each. Now and then. Is there one exclusively on Patience?

Now you may ask “What is all this”?

“What is all this” is what’s popping up spontaneously if I don’t try to do anything. Not always and not solely, but often enough to make an impression. It’s like a koan of sorts. Maybe it is one of the basic koans?
What is all this?
I kinda like it like that.
What is all this?
When you start a practice and the first thing you do is to something that is not in any beginners guide to that practice, that should be a neon sign saying “Stop It”. Who am I to ignore every advice and instruction given in a tradition more than 4000 years old? How utterly and completely stupid is that? Making up a phony koan for yourself when you can’t even do basic breath counting properly? Take your Ritalin and go play computer games you fool. I can hear Gandalf on the last one; You Fool!

Well then, Q:What Is All This? A:This is the where your CCr-alert says – Go Sit!