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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
buddhadharma| 59 |winter 2007 ately go back to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. if you want to lower your head, note it as “wanting to lower.” if you bend your neck to lower your head, note it as “bending, bend- ing,” and focus on every movement involved. do it slowly, not quickly. afterward, go right back to the primary object of rising and falling. when you feel uncomfortable stiffness in any part of the body, focus only on the stiffness and continuously note it as “stiffness, stiffness.” Keep your noting concurrent with the actual sensation. The stiffness may slowly fade away, or it may get even more intense. if it becomes unbearable and you want to shift your posture, note that mental state as “wanting to shift, wanting to shift.” if you actually shift your posture, continue with noting each of the physical movements involved in that process. For example, when you want to lift one of your limbs, note that as “wanting to lift.” Then, when you actually lift it, note each movement as “lifting, lifting.” when stretching it, note that as “stretching.” when bending it, note that as “bend- ing.” when lowering it again, note that as “lower- ing.” don’t make any of these movements quickly. Make them slowly and steadily. if you feel some- thing touching any part of the body as you move, note it as “touching.” when you are done shifting your posture, or if the stiffness fades away without shifting your posture, immediately go back to not- ing the rising and falling of the abdomen. as your concentration gets stronger, you may experience unbearable pains in the body. you may feel a strong pressure, like an airbag being inflated inside your chest, or a sharp pain like being stabbed with a dagger; you may experience a stinging pain, like being pricked with many small needles, or an overall irritation, as if insects were crawling all over your body. you may also feel fierce heat, severe itchiness, unbearable aching, extreme cold, or a variety of other unpleasant sensations. if you become frightened and stop noting when one of these kinds of extreme sensations occurs, you will find that it immediately disappears. how- ever, it will generally reappear when your concen- tration becomes strong again. don’t be afraid if you encounter one of these kinds of experiences. it is not a sign of some serious disease, but only an ordinary sensation that you often have in your body. however, you rarely notice it because your attention is occupied by more obvious sensations. it is actually your strong concentration that is making it obvious to you in this way. so there is no need to worry that something is wrong with you. Just continue to note it in order to overcome it. if you stop noting, you may encounter the same kind of sensation every time your concentration grows stronger. if you note it with patience and perseverance, though, at some point it will sud- denly disappear once and for all. General Activity when you want to lie down, note that as “wanting to lie down.” while you prepare your bed, note all of the movements of your arms and legs as “lift- ing,” “stretching,” “repositioning,” and so on. as you are actually lying down, focus on the whole body that is gradually lying down and note “lying down, lying down.” when you feel the touch of the pillow and bedding, note that as “touching, touching.” when finally lying down, note the movements of your arms, legs, and body as you adjust your lying posture. do it slowly and mind- fully. Then, if there is nothing else to note, focus on the rising and falling and note it continuously. as you lie in bed noting the rising and falling of the abdomen, you may feel some unpleasant sensations, such as stiffness, heat, pain, itchiness, and so on. if so, note these mindfully in the same way that you would during sitting meditation. any distractions, such as swallowing, thinking, imagin- ing, etc., should also be noted carefully as at other times. if you want to turn over, bend or stretch your limbs, or adjust your position in any way, first note the intention and then note every single movement involved without missing one. when there is nothing else in particular to note, go back to noting the primary object of rising and falling. if you feel sleepy, note that as “sleepy, sleepy.” if your eyelids feel heavy, note that as “heavy, heavy.” when your meditation is mature, the sleepiness disappears and the mind becomes clear again by noting in this way. if so, note that as “clear, clear,” and go back to noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. if sleepiness has not disap- peared, you should not stop noting. Just continue noting the rising and falling or any other object without any intention of falling asleep. when your body gets really tired, you will eventually fall asleep in the midst of your noting. as soon as you wake up, note “awake, awake.” at the beginning of your practice, you will find it difficult to catch the first moments of waking. if you are not yet able to note right from the moment you wake up, you should start noting whatever object arises from the time you remember to note. if you find yourself thinking, note that as “think- ing, thinking,” and then continue noting the rising and falling of the abdomen. if a sound wakes you, note “hearing, hearing.” if there is nothing else to note, continue noting the rising and falling. if you wash your face or bathe, you should note every single action involved, without any gaps. you should also note any other activities, such as putting on your clothes, making your bed, opening or closing the door, arranging your things, and so on, without any gaps. at the beginning of your practice, when you are not yet able to note things as they arise, there will adrianfiSh