I have started Mindfulness Meditation recently and I have started observing few things recently. While meditating some times all the common background noises and sound like sound of a heater suddenly starting or sound of alarm clock is catching my attention off guard. In normal condition when I am reading or doing other activities I don’t pay attention to all these sudden noises or my response to theses noises are just normal. But when meditating these sudden but otherwise normal noises is generating a sudden fight-flight response ( response which occurs if something catches you off-guard). Is this normal or am I not doing correctly.
When we begin to meditate there is a new perspective on mind that arises. It is due to the increase of attentiveness coming from our practice. Strangely enough it might even seem that we are more distracted than before, that more thoughts and sense perceptions take us away from our assigned task of attentiveness. Don’t be mistaken, it is a sign of progress. Before we wouldn’t notice the level of distraction in our mind, we wouldn’t see that we are drifting endlessly from one thought to another, because all of this would happen in the darkness of unawareness, our reactions would be compulsively dictated by our habitual tendencies. Now we begin to pierce through the night of unawareness, we begin to see how easily we are distracted. That is a positive change.
Keep your practice with gentleness. When you notice that you are following a train of thoughts, simply disengage, come back to your breath. Whatever you perceive through you senses, and think about are merely movement of the mind itself. Don’t be agitated by the concepts of good and bad meditation.See them like the waves and the ocean, neither good nor bad.
We often make the mistake of thinking of meditation as another task. Meditation is about BEING, not doing. It is about giving yourself space. When you appreciate it in this way, you will want this stability all the time. You progressively come to be familiar with the beautiful moment where your body, breath, and mind are right HERE.
You look past the restlessness, drowsiness, and other clouds. You use them to see what is going on in your mind. The training is to come back to the breath when you see your mind is going off in some direction. Don’t scold yourself for being gone or praise yourself for being back. It just prolongs the distraction.
Be HERE with your breath and strive to be present for a while. Now and then make a pause and start afresh.
The time you spend on the exercise should always be long enough to settle down, but not so long that tension creeps in. If you sit for 20 minutes you can break up the session in shorter cycles interspersed with moments of recess, still sitting but not so precisely following the breath’s movement. You shouldn’t go too far and strain your body, your leg, your back or something. Rearrange your posture if it is necessary; at some point it’s good to do that.
“Once you are set properly in your posture, you can feel the breath coming in and going out of you. Attend to its rhythm, become the breathing. Try to identify with it completely rather than watching it. You are the breath; the breath is you. Breath is coming out of your nostrils, going out, and dissolving into the atmosphere, into the space. You put a certain energy and effort towards that. And then, as for in-breathing, should you try to breathe in and deliberately try to draw things in? That’s not recommended. As your breath goes out, let it dissolve, just abandon it. In-breathing is just space. Physically, biologically, one does breath in, obviously, but that’s not a big deal. If you hold onto your breath, you are holding onto yourself constantly. We could use the phrase touch and go. You are in contact, you’re touching the experience of being there, actually being there, and then you let go. That applies to awareness of your breath and also to your day-to-day living awareness. The point of touch and go is that there is a sense of feel. The point of touch is that there is a sense of existence, that you are who you are. When you sit, you feel you are sitting and that you actually exist. You don’t need too much encouragement to develop that kind of attitude. You are there, you are sitting. That’s the touch part. And the go part is that you are there, and then you don’t hang on to it. You don’t sustain your sense of being, but you let go of even that. Touch and go. There’s a sense of individuality, a sense of person. Actually, we are here, we exist.”
“When we follow the movement of our breathing in and out, it should be left quite natural, just as it is. We should not force either the body or the mind in any way at all but remain completely relaxed and simply let the mind become aware of the coming and going of the breath, without any distraction, any other thoughts, or anything else catching our attention. Let the mind merge with the movement more and more until it is completely absorbed in it. Do this first for 5, 10 or 21 breathing cycles, without distraction, and then for a greater number, all the time staying attentive. Staying attentive does not mean concentrating fixedly on the breathing while saying to yourself, “ I mustn’t lose the movement, I must stay concentrated…”. If we start this kind of discursive thinking, it will create a level of mental agitation which will disturb the natural movement of the breathing and of the meditation. We are no longer meditating, we are commenting on the meditation. We lose our sense of being absorbed in the meditation. What we have to do is simply be aware of the breathing, feel it, experience it physically and mentally. We should follow it without doing anything else, without comment, without trying to change it or modify it in any way. For that we have to be very relaxed, very quiet, and practice gently, regularly. Doing this, we wait for the calm that will allow us to penetrate more deeply into the meditation to develop.”