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MIDL 10/52: Expanding The Whole Breath

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In MIDL Mindfulness Training 10/52 you develop your awareness of the expansion and deflation of your whole body as it responds to breathing. At first this perception is most clear as movement in the shoulders, upper chest and upper back area but gradually it expands until your whole body is experienced as breathing itself. This then creates the foundation from which you can 'open' and allow yourself to 'feel' your relationship towards any experience that arises within the field of your six senses with the expansion of each in-breath. Submit Your Question

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MIDL Mindfulness Training 10/52

Our Tenth Training:
MIDL Mindfulness Training 10/52: Expanding The Whole Breath

Purpose:
1. Change from mindfulness of breathing to mindfulness of our body as it breathes.

2. Learn to 'open' with the expansion of the in-breath to experience the six senses.

3. Learn to 'soften' with the deflation of the out-breath into the experience of the six senses.

4. Learn to ground within the experience of the whole body breathing.

5. Develop accuracy and continuity of the factors of attention.

Basic Instruction:
Meditation is practiced in a seated position.

The Five Stages:
1. After grounding awareness within your body as in MIDL 7/52 observe the breath naturally flowing within your body.

2. Widen awareness to the experience of your whole body as it breathes.

3. Align awareness with the length of the expansion of the body with the in-breath.

4. Align awareness with the length of the deflation of the body with the out-breath.

5. Open to the experience of the six senses with each expansion, soften into this experience with each deflation.

Practice daily for 1 week, begin mindfulness of breathing by observing the experience of the breath as its flows in and out - autonomously - free from control. Observe and label any movements of your attention away from the breath. Once the five hindrances have settled down and a base concentration developed, change your perception of breathing by widening your awareness to your whole body. Bring your awareness to the experience of your whole body as it breathes so that the full length of the expansion of the in-breath and deflation of the out-breath become clear to you.

Gradually develop awareness of your body breathing down to your fingers and toes until your whole body just becomes breath (if this does not appear to you this is also ok). Open your awareness to anything that arises within the field of your six senses, allow yourself to deeply experience it. Soften your minds relationship towards the six senses by borrowing the natural relaxation of the deflation of your body with each out-breath. As your body deflates soften and allow that deflation to draw you inwards.

Benefits:
1. Develop ability to mindfully observe whole body naturally breathing.

2. Develop mindfulness, momentary concentration and subtlety of softening into experience.

3. Develop sensitivity to the stimulation of the six sense fields with your mind, the feeling that arises dependent on this and the stillness that arises through abandonment of participation.


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I Can't Feel Expansion

Your Question: I enjoyed the section "softening into the hearts centre" but my logical and reasoning mind prevents me from feeling and experiencing the expanding of breath in the whole of my body(doubt in the teacher arises). What should I do?

Stephen Procter: First, observe the experience of doubt, it is now your meditation object. Notice what it feels like to have doubt within your mind, how unpleasant it is, also notice if you can feel any resistance within your body reflecting this doubt. Gently soften / relax this feeling of doubt, relax the effort behind it.

Understanding Breathing
Breathing can be experienced in two ways:
1. As the conceptual breath moving into the body on the in-breath and moving out of the body on the out-breath. This in and out breathing is has location: nose --> throat --> chest --> belly and back out again. this is called the conceptual breath because it is how we think of breathing occuring. We think of it as coming in and out.

2. As the non-conceptual experience of breathing, this is how breathing is experienced within our body. If we widen our awareness to our whole body as it sits, we may start to notice that as the breath comes in we can experience our body fill and expand outwards. As the breath goes out, we can experince our body deflate and relax inwards. This expansion and deflation of the body is not based on respiration but rather our experince of breathing.

Experiencing Expansion
Take a seated posture and gently become aware of the movement of the breath in the centre of your body. The breath flows in and then it flows out. Once relaxed, widen your awareness to your whole body and start to observe how your body 'responds' to breathing. It can be helpful to bring your awareness first to your shoulders, chest and upper back. You can take a big breath in and notice as your chest fills it has an expanding outwards feeling. Notice as your breath goes out your shoulders, chest and upper back drop as your body deflates. then allow it to happen naturally and experience the gentle moevemnt of your body as it breathes.

This expansion and deflation is natural and is happening throughout the day, what changes the way we experience the breathing is the concept that breathing moves in and out, instead of the experienced reality that the body moves out and in.


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Breathing Into Extremities

Your Question: I have some trouble breathing into my extremities, but I have a whole week to work on this.

Stephen Procter: There is no need to breathe into your extremities. During this exercises we are not trying to breathe into all parts of our body but rather developing awareness of the breath as it is naturally experienced throughout our whole body. However breathing appears to you if exactly how it should be, your task is just to cultivate the awareness of it.


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Meditation is Too Slow

Your Question: Just doesn't do it for me. Too slow I guess. My breathing became restless. Thanks for the meditation though.

Your Question: I enjoyed the section "softening into the hearts centre" but my logical and reasoning mind prevents me from feeling and experiencing the expanding of breath in the whole of my body(doubt in the teacher arises). What should I do?

Stephen Procter: First, observe the experience of doubt, it is now your meditation object. Notice what it feels like to have doubt within your mind, how unpleasant it is, also notice if you can feel any resistance within your body reflecting this doubt. Gently soften / relax this feeling of doubt, relax the effort behind it.

Understanding Breathing
Breathing can be experienced in two ways:
1. As the conceptual breath moving into the body on the in-breath and moving out of the body on the out-breath. This in and out breathing is has location: nose --> throat --> chest --> belly and back out again. this is called the conceptual breath because it is how we think of breathing occurring. We think of it as coming in and out.

2. As the non-conceptual experience of breathing, this is how breathing is experienced within our body. If we widen our awareness to our whole body as it sits, we may start to notice that as the breath comes in we can experience our body fill and expand outwards. As the breath goes out, we can experience our body deflate and relax inwards. This expansion and deflation of the body is not based on respiration but rather our experience of breathing.

Experiencing Expansion
Take a seated posture and gently become aware of the movement of the breath in the centre of your body. The breath flows in and then it flows out. Once relaxed, widen your awareness to your whole body and start to observe how your body 'responds' to breathing. It can be helpful to bring your awareness first to your shoulders, chest and upper back. You can take a big breath in and notice as your chest fills it has an expanding outwards feeling. Notice as your breath goes out your shoulders, chest and upper back drop as your body deflates. then allow it to happen naturally and experience the gentle movement of your body as it breathes.

This expansion and deflation is natural and is happening throughout the day, what changes the way we experience the breathing is the concept that breathing moves in and out, instead of the experienced reality that the body moves out and in.


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