Losing It

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Losing It

Postby JustThis » Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:20 pm

One of the things that I have always found fascinating about meditation is what I call "losing it". I am sure that everyone here is familiar with it, you're sitting there in touch with your meditation object and you 'lose it', you slip into 'la la land'. What's interesting is that you never see yourself leave the present moment/meditation object, you only realize that you have lost it when you 'snap back' into the present. With that in mind I am wondering if anyone has any experience or has ever tried this device, it's called Play Attention and was designed for use with ADD or ADHD. It uses a computer and a sensor that you strap on your arm (latest model) to monitor your brainwaves, you then use your attention to direct an object on the screen. If you 'lose it' you lose control of the object. If it wasn't so expensive I would give it a try.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ew-OMfQXTU
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Re: Losing It

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:37 pm

JustThis wrote:when you 'snap back' into the present.


reminded me of

MN 152 wrote:Just as a strong man might let two or three drops of water fall onto an iron pan heated all day: Slow would be the falling of the drops of water, but they quickly would vanish & disappear. That is how quickly, how rapidly, how easily, no matter what it refers to, the arisen agreeable thing... disagreeable thing... agreeable & disagreeable thing ceases, and equanimity takes its stance. In the discipline of a noble one, this is called the unexcelled development of the faculties with regard to ideas cognizable by the intellect.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Losing It

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:47 am

Your idea reminds me of stories about Zen masters hitting their students when they appear to be "losing it"....but my view is that being aware of how one "finds it" after one has "lost it" may help in learning about ones own inclinations and so perhaps it is better to go through the entire process alone......but I have no reference to support this...it is just my view on the matter so I very well may be wrong....
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Re: Losing It

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:40 am

For a while other meditation subjects become clearer at each higher stage, this one does not: in fact, as he goes on developing it, it becomes more subtle for him at each higher stage, and it even comes to the point at which it is no longer manifest.
However, when it becomes unmanifest in this way, the bhikkhu should not get up from his seat, shake out his leather mat, and go away. What should be done? He does not get up with the idea "Shall I ask the teacher?" or "Is my meditation subject lost?"; for by going away and disturbing his posture, the meditation subject has to be started anew. So he should go on sitting as he was and [temporarily] substitute the place [normally touched for the actual breaths as the object of contemplation][57]

[57]The point made here is that if the breaths themselves get temporarily too faint to be observed, he should carry on by observing the tip of the nose or where they normally touch until they become apparent again. He brings the meditation back to mind for the moment, "as the place (desato)' where they were last noticed, instead of "as breaths", which have temporarily vanished.

Vism, VIII; 208
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: Losing It

Postby ground » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:50 am

JustThis wrote:I am sure that everyone here is familiar with it, you're sitting there in touch with your meditation object and you 'lose it', you slip into 'la la land'. What's interesting is that you never see yourself leave the present moment/meditation object, you only realize that you have lost it when you 'snap back' into the present.

One may observe conditions arise that may lead to the "lose it" ("'lose it' dawns") but the "lose it" resembles the turning of a switch which may be evidence for consciousness being a sequence of individual instants (sort of "digital" rather than "analogous").

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Re: Losing It

Postby JustThis » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:27 pm

One may observe conditions arise that may lead to the "lose it"


That is interesting because at times I am aware of the attention wavering. Sometimes the attention shifts from the meditation object to another phenomenon such as a loud noise or an irritating itch but I don't consider that as 'losing it'. When I lose it I am off to another time and place that exists only in my mind and I only realize this when I 'come back'.
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