Place fingers below belly button, take 5 slow breaths by extending the lower abdominal muscles out and lowering them back again and observe the effect this has on your body, breathing & mind.
CAUTION: Development of skill in this technique involves intentionally triggering unpleasant feeling tone, in this way meditation can become very real. Be cautious and only do this with guidance from a skilled teacher and/or appropriate training in softening, samadhi and insight.
The MIDL method of Re-engaging the Diaphragm is a softening skill for interrupting the habitual stress response in order to decondition habitual defensive patterns from the mind. This is part of the MIDL skill of deconditioning.
Once this skill of 'abandoning' through the re-engaging of the diaphragm has been developed, it can be used in seated meditation for calming the meditative hindrances and in daily life as a way of deconditioning harmful habitual patterns of reaction.
Sit comfortably for your meditation.
Step 1: Place fingers just below belly button, on the V shaped abdominal muscle. Press in slightly on this V shaped abdominal muscle to feel the movement.
Step 2: Slowly extend your lower abdominal muscles out-wards to draw breath in through your nose. Slowly lower your lower abdominal muscles back in-wards again to expel the breath out through your nose.
Step 3: Intentionally slow down your out-breath (avoiding strain) to re-engage your diaphragm. Do this for 5 in and out breaths.
Step 4: Remove your fingers, sit back, relax, and observe your mind and body. It takes around 10 seconds to observe the effect.
After breathing as above observe these stages:
Step 5: Now bring up an unpleasant thought or memory, holding the memory gently in your mind. Notice any changes in your belly, chest, throat such as tension, any underlying feeling of unpleasantness or unease.
Step 6: Repeat Steps 1-3 and observe the stages in Step 4.
During this training you will be intentionally triggering a stress reaction by bringing an unpleasant memory to mind. Be curious in regard to the relationship between mental resistance and the stress response.
Take interest in regard to any physical or mental changes that you experience when you are stress breathing such as:
Interrupting Worldly & Spiritual Stress Reactions
Stress reactions can be interrupted by learning the skill of re-engaging the diaphragm with 5 slow diaphragm breaths. If you have not learnt this in earlier MIDL training, you need to learn it now in order to decondition all habitual defensive patterns from your mind.
Learning to reengage the diaphragm in respiration is essential as it will increase your sensitivity to the precursors of stress reactions and give you the ability to turn them off by manipulating the respiration aspect of the stress response.
Exercise such as fast walking if in intensive meditation or physical exercise if in daily life will speed up this process. Softening into the dukkha feeling is also beneficial to fulfill the goal of the meditator as this is not based on aversion towards dukkha feeling and instead uses it to develop nibidda (disenchantment) within the mind.
Instructions for Application
**Best way to learn is using the recording.
You are ready to progress to Insight 14: Lengthening Out-breath when:
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