DISCUSSION OF BODY BREATHING EXERCISES

Please read Body and Breathing and How to Doze first.

My first and central advice is always meditate experimentally to avoid closed mindedness ... and only do any exercise if it is interesting or enjoyable, because the practical question is : how to meditate in a pleasurable and thus self generating, self-perpetuating way – so that we want to repeat it.

There are so many different needs people have and so many different forms of meditation, but there seems to be a basic choice, we can either
a) use will power, disipline and concentration,
b) develop a meditation sequence, to give us something slow but interesting to do,
c) use love and devotion,
or any combination of these.

Devotional meditation is far easier. Focusing and concentrating on a beautific image, a new lover, anything awesome, is easy.

I don't enjoy meditating with concentration and will power, maybe you do. Maybe you want to develop will power and concentration. I find focusing single pointed on something which has no emotional or spiritual meaning, is pointless and i get bored. So, i don't repeat the same routine, i change and experiment – maybe it all depends on the individual ...

A FLEXIBLE ROUTINE
I have a number of different exercises which have developed over the years. I use them flexibly, meditation develops and changes each time i do it. I find the element of creativity (instead of a fixed routine) keeps me interested, so i enjoy doing it, so then it is self-perpetuating, i.e. i repeat it and enjoy repeating it.

I have already described my basic exercise of being aware of all the fingers and toes.

I often combine fingers and toes together, and then often start feeling all the channels and nerves – inter-related and connected with each finger and toe – running through the legs, arms and body.

Sometime later, it's a whole new dimension to go through the spaces in between the fingers where all the soft parts are, its easy to feel these soft parts because they are more sensitive and maybe(?) where all the nerves are.

When you've more time and motivation – going through the vertebrae in the spinal column is invigorating, and going through the spaces between the vertebrae is the next step.

IMAGINATION HEALING continued
Healing can involve imagining colours or sounds inside and around your body. Or imagining someone you love and trust laying their hands on your body, or even feeling inside your body, imagine being massaged. Imagine inserting acupuncture needles, or anything you have found to be helpful in practice.

You can also focus humming to vibrate and to relax any stiff parts of the body.

Then there's the childhood fantasy of hundreds of little people working in your body, get them working again. And then there's one specific subect.

Bio-Magnetic Whatever
It is outside the scope of this site but i find this worth noting. Most people agree that there must be some sort of electrical bio-magnetic lines swirling around such a complex chemically active neurological system as the human body. I find most ways of proving this are suspect. But among 20 people who i've asked: "If there is a bio-magnetic energy round your wrist, which way would the energy go round?", everyone answers the same, without more than a seconds thought.

So, ask yourself and your friends – and see if they all agree ... The stomach-belly area also seems to have a predominant direction, but mainly i find it appropriate and healing to imagine energy going round both ways at the same time, swirling around my body, sometimes like double helixes.

THE WHOLE BREATH BODY
The idea of the 'whole breath body' comes from the beginning of the Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna, in Section 1. "Breathing In and Out".

The first German translation from the 1890s was translated in English (1962 – page 130) as follows. " 'Conscious of the whole (breath-) body. I shall breathe in', thus he trains himself. 'Conscious of the whole (breath-) body. I shall breathe out', thus he trains himself."

A modern translation by U Jotika & U Dhamminda (1986)
"Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe in", thus he trains himself; "Aware of the whole breath body, I shall breathe out", thus he trains himself.

This "whole breath body" idea is lost in all other modern translations which give just "whole body' or 'entire body". (More info on translations and Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna References).

Back to Chapter 7 : Inner Body Awareness