Does breath awareness lead to absorption?
I read that breath is a gross level object and if you want to reach subtle levels of meditation then focusing on breath might be an obstacle. Masters are also saying that meditation on the mechanical aspects of breath is an excellent in the beginning for numerous benefits, but the higher aspects will be missed.
Is that true and if yes, what would be a better object of attention for going deep beyond the gross level?
Yes, breath is of the material plane, and so are we! If we want to experience more subtle levels of consciousness, then we must first understand how to go beyond material plane obstacles.
Thousands of years ago the science of yoga discovered that the main obstacle to going deeper in meditation and absorption in the superconscious is the breath. This obstacle can seem insurmountable if you don’t have an effective technique for working with it.
The path of Kriya yoga uses the Hong Sau technique of meditation both for concentration and, if we practice it deeply enough, to take one into breathlessness and deeper states of consciousness. In this technique, the concentration is not on the “mechanical aspects of breath,” but on the breath itself.
As we become the observer of our own breath, our concentration deepens, and as our concentration deepens, the breath becomes calmer. Each reinforces the other until the breath stops, without force, of its own accord — because our concentration has become so deep.
At this point, as we learn how to hold on to this depth of concentration, we may experience deep peace, calmness, joy and other aspects of superconsciousness.
What we experience will be determined by how we use the technique. Our depth of experience will depend on our consistent, sincere practice of the technique, along with longer periods of meditation. Devotion also becomes a necessary aspect of deepening meditation.
As Yogananda’s guru Sri Yukteswar said, “You cannot take one step on the spiritual path without awakening the heart’s natural love.”
If you are interested, the Hong Sau technique of meditation can be learned in our online meditation class series. You will find more information about this at our website: www.onlinewithananda.org
Since you are located in Europe, you can also contact Ananda’s Yoga and Meditation Retreat Center in Italy at: www.ananda.it.