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Extra bitsA lot of people claim to be meditation experts without knowing a very basic thing. That is you watch the breath and not control it. Many people are seriously wrong when they control their breathing and they do not observe. In fact the correct way is to let the breath come naturally; when it comes out, it automatically needs to re-enter; and when it fills up it automatically needs to come out. Why shouldn't we control it? Because you have to let it be so that you can see that the breath is not yours, but it is of the body. It is the need of the body. It is not your need. Whether you want it or not, the breath is on its own. The proof is that when you sleep you ... still breathe. Correct? That means the breath is not yours but it is of this body. And if you like to say "this body is mine" then why does it go crazy, why does it have cancer? If it's yours, it would not go crazy, it would not have morbid mortality just like that. And if this body is not yours, neither is the breath. They have nothing to do with you. Your responsibility is to observe them. When the breath fills up, it will automatically come out. And if you practice mindfulness you will notice the middle bit. After it gets full, it will stop and wait for a tiny moment, then it will come back out. So there is that cycle: "birth", "stay" and "death". And remember: Watch only, not control. This is very important, very important. From that I observe: Firstly the egolessness, it is not mine. Secondly, when I only watch the breath, I do not try to control it so I do not get tired. If after meditation, one gets tired then one does it wrongly.
I remember the joke of two crazy guys escaping from the hospital asylum. They stole a pushbike and got away. The two of them assigned each a task: the one behind pushed the pedals, the one in front held the handle bar. They went for a while, the pusher got tired, he said: "I'm tired. Let's swap over. I pushed too much. You're lucky doing nothing." The other guy said, "Do you think I'm lucky? You're tired, I'm tired too. I have been squeezing this lever and putting on the brake all this time!"
Same here. If you follow the breath and observe it properly the meditation practice will be easy and peaceful peaceful. But we tend to create more issues and cause more tiring problems. I see many meditating people getting more and more tired. Why are they tired? Because they create unnecessary bits. They find more things to do while Buddha taught us to do it simply and smoothly. Buddha said, "It's fine to leave it alone, just look at it, like watching water carrying things away. Rubbish you know it is rubbish. A flower you know it is a flower." But we do not follow that advise. We grab a stick and push the flower over here, and push the rubbish over there. Only idiots would waste time doing things like that.
Speaking of crazy, I remember this story about a father. Everyday he took his child to school on his new bicycle. Every time he passed by that building, he kept hearing someone crying "Ninety-nine! Ninety-nine!" This went on for months. The father went crazy as he got more and more curios. He wondered what kind of a fool would just repeatedly call out the number "ninety-nine" like that. One day he left him son at the gate, he put aside the new bicycle, and climbed up to see who was counting "ninety-nine." As soon as he came in, he got knocked on the head, and then the other guy called out loudly "one hundred." It turned out that a few people, 99 in fact, had been tricked. The guy was waiting for the one hundredth victim, and it was the father.
Just like the story of a guy who went to a bar. He saw in front of the bar a huge barbaric bearded man fishing on a puddle. The puddle of water was clear and shallow, what would possibly be in there for the guy to catch? But he was afraid to ask. The man had a scar on his rough bearded face. And once swing of his huge arms would flatten anybody. The guy was so curious but also quite afraid to ask. In the end, he decided to buy the man a whole glass of beer. "Here, you drink it". The man drank. After that he dared ask: "May I now ask, what are you trying catch from the that tiny puddle?" "Not much, I catch ... beer! Yours is the eighth glass this morning." Turns out, the guy had no money but he liked to drink. So he took the fishing rod out and sit at the puddle. As he looked quite scary, curious people dared not ask without first pleasing him with a glass of beer.