Need help with complacency

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Need help with complacency

Postby jackson » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:19 am

Greetings everyone, :smile:
I don't have a teacher so I have an important question to ask the more advanced practitioners on this forum. I've been meditating seriously for about 10 years and the practice has proven to be very beneficial and there has been a great reduction in suffering, but that has led to a kind of complacency which I'm having trouble shaking. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that intense suffering was the driving factor behind practicing but since the suffering is no longer very strong and fairly easy to drop the practice often feels half-hearted and the motivation to strive for enlightenment often isn't there. Any input on how to overcome this issue would be greatly appreciated, as well as any other thoughts you may have.
May you all be well, happy, and peaceful, :anjali:
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby James the Giant » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:40 am

Formal meditation on death should help with that. Posting from my phone, so can't give you any links sorry.
Best wishes!
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby DAWN » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:52 am

Try to get answer in your practice.

Also here is the way that Ajhan Sao teach peoples.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/phut/sao.html
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:27 pm

jackson wrote:Greetings everyone, :smile:
I don't have a teacher so I have an important question to ask the more advanced practitioners on this forum. I've been meditating seriously for about 10 years and the practice has proven to be very beneficial and there has been a great reduction in suffering, but that has led to a kind of complacency which I'm having trouble shaking. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that intense suffering was the driving factor behind practicing but since the suffering is no longer very strong and fairly easy to drop the practice often feels half-hearted and the motivation to strive for enlightenment often isn't there. Any input on how to overcome this issue would be greatly appreciated, as well as any other thoughts you may have.
May you all be well, happy, and peaceful, :anjali:
Jackson

what about your daily practice outside of formal meditation?
the formal period is good but if you bring this same energy to daily life it can highlight the subtle dukkha you may miss.
also as james points out asubha and death recollections are good to pump-up the sense of urgency when it wains.

There are plenty of advise on such practices the most common would be 32parts of the body and corpse recollections which have a number of threads dedicated to here.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:38 pm

I wonder if you're experiencing complacency about your practice or in life in general, because these are two different things. For the first, a more challenging goal or milestone would help, or even a break from practice altogether so you can get some distance on it and approach it from a fresh perspective. Sometimes we're just to close to see what we need to do next. For the second, there is a procedure that worked for me, but may not be for everyone so I'll refrain from going into detail unless necessary.

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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:04 pm

Hi Jackson

If you haven't achieved stream entry yet, you should be scared. :D

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby SDC » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:14 pm

jackson wrote:Greetings everyone, :smile:
I don't have a teacher so I have an important question to ask the more advanced practitioners on this forum. I've been meditating seriously for about 10 years and the practice has proven to be very beneficial and there has been a great reduction in suffering, but that has led to a kind of complacency which I'm having trouble shaking. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that intense suffering was the driving factor behind practicing but since the suffering is no longer very strong and fairly easy to drop the practice often feels half-hearted and the motivation to strive for enlightenment often isn't there. Any input on how to overcome this issue would be greatly appreciated, as well as any other thoughts you may have.
May you all be well, happy, and peaceful, :anjali:
Jackson


Although awakening is on your radar, it seems like you focused in on what was more practical for you.

In my experience, when I hit a plateau in my practice, it is because I focused in too much on short term goals, and lost site of the ultimate goal of the practice. There is nothing wrong with short term goals at all, but they should always be coupled with the long term. So I try to I make sure that I take some time each day to further develop my appreciation for what the Buddha accomplished and how it is possible for me to do the same. The deeper I value and appreciate the ultimate goal, the more I want to continue going in that direction. This keeps the road inclined towards nibbana, and keeps the plateaus to a minimum.
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby ground » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:55 am

jackson wrote:Greetings everyone, :smile:
I don't have a teacher so I have an important question to ask the more advanced practitioners on this forum. I've been meditating seriously for about 10 years and the practice has proven to be very beneficial and there has been a great reduction in suffering, but that has led to a kind of complacency which I'm having trouble shaking. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that intense suffering was the driving factor behind practicing but since the suffering is no longer very strong and fairly easy to drop the practice often feels half-hearted and the motivation to strive for enlightenment often isn't there. Any input on how to overcome this issue would be greatly appreciated, as well as any other thoughts you may have.

This is interesting and may evidence how suffering changes its face. Provided you let go of any practice whatsoever, would that cause you a type of suffering of the kind you have in memory? Have a try :smile:
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:19 am

jackson wrote:Greetings everyone, :smile:
I don't have a teacher so I have an important question to ask the more advanced practitioners on this forum. I've been meditating seriously for about 10 years and the practice has proven to be very beneficial and there has been a great reduction in suffering, but that has led to a kind of complacency which I'm having trouble shaking. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that intense suffering was the driving factor behind practicing but since the suffering is no longer very strong and fairly easy to drop the practice often feels half-hearted and the motivation to strive for enlightenment often isn't there. Any input on how to overcome this issue would be greatly appreciated, as well as any other thoughts you may have.
May you all be well, happy, and peaceful, :anjali:
Jackson

Suffering is the best friend of the yogi, so it is said and of cause right. If the sensed pain is somehow managed, it becomes difficult. I read that some meditators even sit on their feet so that they hurt to get an object of meditation.

Well maybe you speak in general of your situation and not so much about the situation while doing some vipassana. I guess the solution is the same. It's sometimes good to search for some wind if already used to a secure sorounding. There is much to do outside, maybe you like to give it a share and see for your self what your attainments are really of.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby jackson » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:02 pm

Thank you for your replies,

James:
James the Giant wrote:Formal meditation on death should help with that. Posting from my phone, so can't give you any links sorry.
Best wishes!
Thank you for the suggestion, this seems like the perfect way to create a sense of urgency and I will look into it more.

Dawn:
DAWN wrote:Try to get answer in your practice.

Also here is the way that Ajhan Sao teach peoples.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/phut/sao.html

Thank you for the link, I wasn't familiar with Ajahn Sao before, but it was a very good read and a good reminder to keep things as simple as possible.

Cittasanto:
Cittasanto wrote:what about your daily practice outside of formal meditation?
the formal period is good but if you bring this same energy to daily life it can highlight the subtle dukkha you may miss.
also as james points out asubha and death recollections are good to pump-up the sense of urgency when it wains.
There are plenty of advise on such practices the most common would be 32parts of the body and corpse recollections which have a number of threads dedicated to here.

You bring up a crucial point about carrying the formal practice into daily life. The two definitely go hand in hand, and I think that a lack of sense-restraint outside of formal practice is definitely having an adverse effect on things overall. Thank you for mentioning this.

BubbaBuddhist:
BubbaBuddhist wrote:I wonder if you're experiencing complacency about your practice or in life in general, because these are two different things. For the first, a more challenging goal or milestone would help, or even a break from practice altogether so you can get some distance on it and approach it from a fresh perspective. Sometimes we're just to close to see what we need to do next. For the second, there is a procedure that worked for me, but may not be for everyone so I'll refrain from going into detail unless necessary.
BB

After pondering over your post I think you're right that a more challenging goal would help, and I'm curious to hear more about how you overcame complacency around life in general, because I can sense an overlap between the two.

Matheesha:
rowyourboat wrote:Hi Jackson

If you haven't achieved stream entry yet, you should be scared. :D

With metta

Matheesha

Thank you for the reminder, it certainly helped!

SDC:
SDC wrote:Although awakening is on your radar, it seems like you focused in on what was more practical for you.

In my experience, when I hit a plateau in my practice, it is because I focused in too much on short term goals, and lost site of the ultimate goal of the practice. There is nothing wrong with short term goals at all, but they should always be coupled with the long term. So I try to I make sure that I take some time each day to further develop my appreciation for what the Buddha accomplished and how it is possible for me to do the same. The deeper I value and appreciate the ultimate goal, the more I want to continue going in that direction. This keeps the road inclined towards nibbana, and keeps the plateaus to a minimum.


I think you are right about valuing the ultimate goal, often it's easy to go chasing after fools-gold and neglect that which truly has meaning. I like the idea of dedicating some time each day to remind oneself of the Buddha's accomplishment, thank you for the suggestion.

Ground:
ground wrote:This is interesting and may evidence how suffering changes its face. Provided you let go of any practice whatsoever, would that cause you a type of suffering of the kind you have in memory? Have a try :smile:

I find the suggestion in this post interesting, but could you elaborate a little on what you mean by let go of any practice whatsoever?

Hanzze:
Hanzze wrote:Suffering is the best friend of the yogi, so it is said and of cause right. If the sensed pain is somehow managed, it becomes difficult. I read that some meditators even sit on their feet so that they hurt to get an object of meditation.
Well maybe you speak in general of your situation and not so much about the situation while doing some vipassana. I guess the solution is the same. It's sometimes good to search for some wind if already used to a secure sorounding. There is much to do outside, maybe you like to give it a share and see for your self what your attainments are really of.


I agree wholeheartedly, suffering is indeed a great ally, and what you said about searching for wind if used to a secure surrounding is sound advice, perhaps it would be best to challenge myself a little.

Once again, thank you all for your replies, every one of you had something interesting to offer and it is much appreciated. :smile:
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:41 pm

Life-complacency generally involves ennui, which implies taking life for granted. In other words, things have become too easy. A common problem in these here modern times. So once my son went out on his own I went on a spirit quest. I made an experiment once suggested by an old mentor who remarked, "if you truly want to see how free a country this is, throw your wallet (containing all your identification) into the river and see how far you can go." I went the full extreme, no turning back. I could have simply locked the documents in a safety deposit box and hit the road but I took the advice literally. I threw my wallet in the river and aimed for the horizon with fifty dollars in my pocket.

Two weeks later, if you asked me what the word "complacent" meant, I would have had to look it up in a dictionary. :tongue:

I was somewhat fortunate in that I have 'busking' skills, I can draw in some cash as a street performer, but there are dangers in this. One story is that in Biloxi Mississippi I was on a street corner performing card magic and drawing an 'edge' (a crowd) and making my pitch for the love offering when someone walked up behind me and drew his thumb across my throat like it was a knife or straight razor, making a loud scary sucking sound as he did it, then walked away laughing maniacally. This was far more terrifying than the times I'd actually been robbed, had to defend myself or had to flee, because I didn't see him coming, and if that had been a real razor I would have been dead. I had a clear picture of myself lying on a cold street in a pool of my own blood, surrounded by strangers who cared nothing about me.

No complacency, ever. In fact. I had to shut down for the day until I stopped shaking.

I did this for about three months, made my way to my brother's place, re-applied for all my documents and became a card-carrying member of society again, hooked into the machine. I learned a couple of things. I knew I could survive as a free-roaming agent if I had to, although there was a good chance eventually the odds would catch up to me and the jungle would win; the razor would be real. I also began to realize if I had stayed away too much longer the lifestyle would become permanent. There is something about being an outlier, disconnected from the machine, that's invigorating. But it's social Darwinism at its most fundamental level. I saw two street guys fight viciously for the right to stand at a spot at an intersection to hold up their "will work for food" sign. Everyone in cars drove by, not caring enough to stop them. Nor did I get involved because they both would have turned on me, thinking I was trying to stake a claim on the corner. If you ever saw a pack of male dogs fighting over a bitch, there's not much difference. Once I saw some college boys start a fight between two homeless guys by promising a fifth of liquor to the winner. I understand some time later this was a fad: kids were posting videos of 'bum fights' on the internet.

The cure for complacency: throw your identity away. Unhook from the system that defines who you are. Become an unperson. Start walking and see how far you can go fueled by nothing but your native wits and resourcefulness. When you live among the castaways of society for a while, you develop an infinite gratitude for the smallest blessings in your life. Even the act of breathing becomes miraculous. You pay attention. I still have eyes in the back of my head and won't sit with my back to a door.

A few days a week I go sit in a Starbucks, read the New Yorker, drink a $4 cup of coffee--very slowly--and think "Man this is sweet. It doesn't get better than this."

Hope this helps. But I doubt very few people will follow my example. We were more adventurous back in the day--we didn't have computers and the videogames were Atari. :zzz:

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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby ground » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:01 am

jackson wrote:Ground:
ground wrote:This is interesting and may evidence how suffering changes its face. Provided you let go of any practice whatsoever, would that cause you a type of suffering of the kind you have in memory? Have a try :smile:

I find the suggestion in this post interesting, but could you elaborate a little on what you mean by let go of any practice whatsoever?

Do not meditate, do not read dhamma texts, do not engage in dhamma talks, do not cultivate dhamma thoughts. Just be aware, do what has to be done in everyday life and do not focus on (mentally grasp) any conscious, dhamma related topic. Do neither generate hope, nor generate fear in the context of dhamma. Forget about dhamma. That's all.
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Re: Need help with complacency

Postby Hanzze » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:03 am

Having reached a good level, this sounds really good. Just has some dangers, which should be maybe keeped in mind:

b. Absence of "desire-to-do" and "energy".

In the minds of these samanas and brahmins who confidently rely on the volitional
actions done by them in their past existences and hold the same view, who hold
that this pubbekata-hetu view only is the true view, and who hold that other views
are false and useless, there cannot arise "desire-to-do" and "energy" by which they
are able to differentiate between what should be done and what should be refrained
from, because they believe that all present actions are caused by their past
volitional actions and not by "desire-to-do" or "energy" exercised by people in the
present life.
In reality, only when people have good intention and right effort are they able to
perform what should be done and refrain from what should not be done, and not
otherwise. We have noticed such states of affairs in our daily lives. The view held
by those who reject all present causes, such as "desire-to-do" and "energy" and
believe only in the past volitional actions, should be taken as a wrong view.
This is another way of refutation. .

c. How virtuous practice can be impaired.

If desire-to-do and energy to perform, what should be done and to avoid what
should be refrained from do not arise in the minds of those people who hold the
pubbekata-hetu view, they being, unable to perceive what is good and what is evil,
remain without performing wholesome volitional actions which should be
performed, and on the other hand perform unwholesome volitional actions which
should be avoided. They having no mindfulness and self-restraint, their view
cannot be a righteous samana-vada. In the world there are such conventional terms
as "samana" (one endeavouring to extinguish the passions), "brahmana" (a person
leading a pure, stainless and ascetic life), "virtuous people" and "people", because
these are the people who perform what should be performed and avoid what should
be avoided. The conventional terms of "righteous person", "persons leading a pure
and stainless life" or a "sappairisa" (worthy man) cannot be applied to those who
hold this pubbekata-hetu view, because to them there is no difference between
what actions should be done and what should be refrained from, which courses of
action are usually practised by householders, samanas and wise people alike.
In reality, there are actions which should be refrained from. Some people do not
always perform wholesome volitional actions which should be done, and do those
evil actions which should be abstained from. Such people are called pakatimanussa
(worldlings). Some people, having mindfulness and self-restraint, perform
good actions and abstain from evil actions. They are called "samana", "brahmana",
or "sappurisa". If one differentiates between these classes of people--evil ones and
wise ones--he is said to maintain the right samana view or the right brahmana
view. As the pubbekata-hetu view disclaims all present causes such as
mindfulness, etc., and firmly believes in the volitional actions performed by beings
in their past existences, only their view should be regarded as a wrong view.
This is the third way of refutation.

from The Manual of Right Views


Mindfulness is much about remembering and a wholesome desire to make wholesome deeds is always good. There are many one could chose.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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