Calming The Breath Body

by Peter Carlson on January 29, 2015

During this dhamma dialogue, the exploration of the Anapanasati Sutta was continued, with a focus on the stanzas: “…He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.’  He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.’

Peter described an ongoing debate as to whether “the entire body” simply refers to the totality of the in- and out-breath cycle without interruption, or whether “the entire body” relates the calming effects of enduring breath awareness is coordinated with relaxing “the bodily fabrication”.  The accompanying .mp3 recording of the training meditation that immediately preceded this dialogue orients towards the latter interpretation, emphasizing that the out-breath can coincide with briefly sweeping attention through the body to release and relax any tension that is noted.  This strategy allows the body to become increasingly relaxed, the emotions to become increasingly calm, while the degree of internal investigation of the breath and body tensions actually increases internal alertness.

This explanation was followed by dialogues regarding how those participating in the training meditation experienced the practice of mindfulness of breathing.  It was noted that suggesting that attention is a flow of energy that is simply nourishing either wholesome or unwholesome self-states, and that the breath is a wholesome factor in that process, as it interrupts the escalation of self-talk and fosters calming.

The next scheduled talk will focus on the effects of this mindful calming, the release of energy into awareness as joy and happiness.

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