I aspire to realize the Gautamid’s practice, but for me this is a matter of relaxing and waking up to stuff that’s already going on for me (or falling asleep to it).
I don’t think his description was sufficient for me to practice. I think most folks who call themselves Buddhist would take it for granted that the Gautamid’s description was sufficient, but I would say if that were true, then why isn’t everybody practicing the way he described and experiencing “deliverance from thought, beyond grasping”?
I can only speak from my own experience, and that is that the place of occurrence of consciousness affects balance and posture, and the ability to feel is dynamic in response to the place of occurrence of consciousness and informs the spontaneous occurrence of consciousness. So there is a feedback, and as necessary the pitch, yaw and roll at the place of occurrence of consciousness can precipitate stretch and activity to open the ability to feel throughout the body. This is how I experience “setting mindfulness in front”, which in the Gautamid’s descriptions precedes his own practice of “the intent concentration on in-breaths and out-breaths”.
I see the practice he speaks of from time to time in my practice, and I realize cessations of habitual activity as he described them occasionally, but not through any effort to realize them. I see “this is suffering” in my life, and I see my shortcomings as a practitioner in his teaching, and yet I believe that the beautiful aspect of human nature he described can be taught in the language of science and is something quite apart from the moral and ethical judgments he assumed were inherent in it. And I believe it’s a miracle that I can think this way and strive to experience and improve upon the communication of a beautiful aspect of human nature, and for that I am extremely grateful.
And I don’t think I’m alone. I think that’s the essence of Mahayana.