Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/05/2014

Breath Medicine

Today as I prepared to sit down I became immediately aware of an intense but seemingly indescribable suffering in the area of my chest. The feeling wasn’t so much physical (although there was a slight feeling of tingling and constriction) as it was mental (or dare I say emotional) and even now I am unsure of its exact nature. What quickly became clear as I chanted my refuges and precepts was that there was no way I had the wherewithal to make it through thirty minutes of highly discursive forgiveness meditation (a clue that I am surely practicing incorrectly but that is a topic for another day). As such I quickly made up my mind to switch my object to the breath.

The feeling of suffering which seemed to manifest mostly as a restlessness and a deep, objectless aversion persisted but I stayed with the breath and eventually, after about ten minutes, began to find some solace and relief. The feeling of well-being expanded slightly as the half hour went on and I imagined at certain points the breath energy coming in through all of my pores and permeating the body. I had the distinct feeling throughout that the breath really was a medicine for the body-mind and despite my thoughts of disappointment about abandoning the forgiveness meditation I knew that anapanasati was what was called for and that it was only by taking care of myself in this way that I could even ready the stage for the forgiveness practice.

 

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