Once again in Luangta's teaching we see that mindfulness is meditation, just as meditation is mindfulness.
He also reminds us to just notice and not to judge things, which for me can be a real bugger.
So without further adieu ...
From "Things As They Are"
This talk was originally given extemporaneously to the monks at Venerable Ãcariya Mahã Boowa’s monastery, Wat Pa Baan Taad, in Udorn Thani Province,Thailand.
... Whichever theme you focus on, be earnest with it, keeping
mindfulness in constant touch with the work you are doing.
For example, if you’re focusing on the repetition of Buddho,
keep constantly aware of the word Buddho, Buddho, as if there
were nothing else left in the world for you to become two with
this or three with that. There is only one thing: the word Buddho
blending step by step with your awareness. As the citta becomes
more and more still, the Buddho you are repeating will more and
more blend into one with your awareness. Then the word
Buddho, Buddho will fall silent, leaving only an awareness that’s
more conspicuous than before. This means that you’ve reached
the citta. To put it in terms of following the tracks of an ox,
you’ve reached the ox and can let go of its tracks. Here you’ve
reached the inner Buddha, which is like the ox, so now you can
let go of the meditation word.
The same holds true if you focus on keeping the breath in
mind. Whether the breath is heavy or refined, simply be aware
of it as it normally is. Don’t set up any expectations. Don’t force
the breath to be like this or that. Keep your awareness with the
breath, because in meditating by taking the breath as your preoccupation,
you’re not after the breath. The breath is simply
something for the mind to hold to so that you can reach the real
thing, just as when you follow the tracks of an ox: You’re not
after the tracks of the ox. You follow its tracks because you want
to reach the ox. Here you’re keeping track of the breath so as
to reach the real thing: Awareness. If you were to start out just
by holding on to awareness, you wouldn’t get any results, just
as you wouldn’t be sure of finding the ox if you simply went
around looking for it. But if you follow its tracks, you’re going to
find it for sure. Your meditation word has to keep moving in. This
is called following the tracks of the ox step by step until you reach
the ox, or that what knows: namely the citta.
The same holds true with focusing on the breath. If it’s heavy,
know that it’s heavy. Don’t get worried or upset about it, and
don’t be afraid that you’ll die because the breath is heavy or
because you feel suffocated. When you do heavy work, you feel
suffocated – don’t think that you feel suffocated only when focusing
on the breath. There are a lot of other things more suffocating
than this. If you carry a post or lift something heavy,
you feel suffocated to death all over the body, not just in the
chest or in the breath. The whole body is ready to burst because
of the heaviness and great pain, and yet you can take it. You
even know that it’s because of the heavy object, and that’s the
way it has to be.
While you focus on keeping the breath in mind when the
breath is coarse, it’s as if you were lifting something heavy. It’s
naturally bound to feel suffocating, so don’t worry about it. Even
if it’s suffocating, the important point is to keep track of the
breath coming in and out. Eventually the breath will become
more and more refined, because mindfulness is focused on the
breath and doesn’t go anywhere else. When the breath goes in,
be aware of it. When it goes out, be aware of it, but there’s no
need to follow it in and out. That would simply be creating a
greater burden for yourself, and your attention might slip away.
So focus right on the entry point where the breath goes in and
out. In most cases, the tip of the nose is the place to focus on
the breath. Keep watch right there. Keep aware right there. Don’t
waste your time speculating or planning on how the results will
appear, or else your mind will wander away from the principle
of the cause that will give rise to those results. Keep close watch
on the cause – what you are doing – and the breath will become
more and more refined.
When the breath becomes more refined, that shows that the
citta is refined. Even if the breath becomes so refined that it disappears
– at the same time that you’re aware that it’s disappearing
– don’t be afraid. The breath disappears, but your awareness
doesn’t disappear. You’re meditating not for the sake of the
breath, but for the sake of awareness, so stay with that awareness.
You don’t have to worry or be afraid that you’ll faint or
die. As long as the mind is still in charge of the body, then even
if the breath disappears, you won’t die. The mind will dwell with
freedom, with no agitation, no worries, no fears at all. This is
how you focus on the breath.
The Tracks of the Ox