Visualizing numbers during breath counting

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MattiV
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Visualizing numbers during breath counting

Post by MattiV » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:59 am

Hello,

Yet another newbie question. Often when I'm counting the breath I actually visualize the numbers. E.g. when I mentally say the number 'five', I see the figure of 5 in my mind's eye. Any thoughts? Is it a good or a bad thing or is it just a phase I'm going through? Could it be a form of synesthesia in which a sensation of breath triggers a visual experience? Or is it just the monkey mind playing tricks?

I feel it helps me to concentrate but I also think it's something I eventually must let go of.

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Meido
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Re: Visualizing numbers during breath counting

Post by Meido » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:15 am

Your eyes are closed?
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

MattiV
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Re: Visualizing numbers during breath counting

Post by MattiV » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:42 am

Meido wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:15 am
Your eyes are closed?
No, half-open.

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SunWuKong
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Re: Visualizing numbers during breath counting

Post by SunWuKong » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:53 am

MattiV wrote:
Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:59 am
Hello,

Yet another newbie question. Often when I'm counting the breath I actually visualize the numbers. E.g. when I mentally say the number 'five', I see the figure of 5 in my mind's eye. Any thoughts? Is it a good or a bad thing or is it just a phase I'm going through? Could it be a form of synesthesia in which a sensation of breath triggers a visual experience? Or is it just the monkey mind playing tricks?

I feel it helps me to concentrate but I also think it's something I eventually must let go of.
It’s a phase. LOL I went through quite a few phases myself, things I was sure had added significance, which fell away the same way they arose. Counting is a great practice - I just did it here. Eventually you get such attention and focus it’s a bit annoying, but it’s always a great thing to have in your practice.
“Nothing holy, just vast empty space!”

narhwal90
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Re: Visualizing numbers during breath counting

Post by narhwal90 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:17 pm

I find it interesting to note various aspects of the count; senses of quantity & sound for instance. The thought of quantity, similar but not the same as the shape of the digit(s), can be held for the full in & out breath whereas a mental intonation needs to be stretched &/or repeated. I find the aspects are often tightly coupled in the beginning and its possible to separate and drop them as the discursive mind quiets, eventually dropping the count too.

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Meido
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Re: Visualizing numbers during breath counting

Post by Meido » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:34 pm

I assume that the instructions you received didn't include doing this visualization of the count.

It's not uncommon for beginners to do so, especially since most people are fixated on the visual sense more than others.

If you are using your eyes properly - that is, an encompassing activation of the peripheral field rather than foveal vision, so that both so-called inner and outer space are permeated with the same awareness - this problem will fall away by itself.

The important thing to grasp through practice is how the count is to be done with the whole body-mind, not just one's mind. The manner in which the breath and body are used are extremely important transmitted details to this end.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice

Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org

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