Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

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

Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby purple planet » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:23 am

I felt some time in my walking meditation that if my body walks on its own and that i dont "control" it

i thought this is great - but when i asked my teacher he said i should stop and label it "walking automatic ,walking automatic,walking automatic" and then continue to walk - this bugs me

i can understand noting (labeling) while i do this - but if the action happens why stop ?
Last edited by purple planet on Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:28 pm

Hi Purple,

Why not ask the teacher? I think he is probably the best person to explain his own comment.

The teacher/student relationship is something that needs to be nurtured. It's a good practice in itself, for both involved.

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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby purple planet » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:34 pm

Well until i talk to him again - i would like to remove my doubt- maybe he didnt understand what i meant by saying that the walk is automatic - maybe he thought that i meant that i was day dreaming and i still walked non the less
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:42 pm

Hi Purple,

I think that trying to second-guess what the teacher might've meant, or what he thought you meant is counterproductive to the practice. It's called papanca... it's unfair not only to the teacher, but to yourself too.

It's probably better to just try to clarify the issue directly, instead of letting the mind run off by itself, and then trying to feed that with the speculations of others on here. It's a kind of burning... the opposite of nibbana.

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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby purple planet » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:55 pm

Maybe i will re-ask :

no detail on why or how just :

does his instructions makes sense to you - or does it sound like i got wrong what he was telling me ?
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:46 pm

Hi Purple,

A question just occurred to me, that might be interesting (or not)... if a person was walking automatically, how would he manage to stop to make his noting? Is this automatic too?

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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby purple planet » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:44 pm

Zen question - right ?

i think i get it - so it does make sense what he told me -

it makes a bit of sense to you what he said then right ? i just need to have someone else opinion (he dosnt have to be right) - any way that is a good question if you meant it or not so thanks
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:49 pm

Hi PP,

As beeblebrox says, ask your teacher to clarify. He/she has probably seen many students go through experiences like this, and is in the best position to know what is the best approach for you at this time. My teachers have always emphasised that when strange, interesting, etc, experiences happen that it is very important to remain mindful of what is happening (not go off into a dreamy state). So stopping and checking what is happening may well be a good thing to do.

You are fortunate to have a teacher who has good experience with what you are experiencing. My advice it to trust his/her advice and see where it leads.

By the ways Chanmyay Sayadaw mentions this sort of thing here:
http://www.buddhanet.net/imol/vipcours.htm
Specifically:
http://www.buddhanet.net/vmed_4.htm
That's what the Buddha said, you can attain long lasting concentration by means of walking. So when you are aware of each individual movement of the foot, and sometimes the intention too, then the mind becomes gradually concentrated on the movement of the foot very well. And the more energetically you note the movement the more deep is the concentration of the mind. Then when concentration becomes deeper and deeper you feel your feet become light as they automatically lift, automatically push forward, automatically drop down. You come to realise it. Sometimes you get startled at the experience of this automatic lifting and pushing and dropping of the foot. and as soon as you feel it you say to yourself, `Hah, what's that? Am I mad or not?` In this way you get startled at the unusual experience of the movement of the foot.

When I conducted a meditation retreat in England at the Manjusri Tibetan Monastery, the Manjusri Institute in northern England near the border of Scotland, one of the meditators had put much effort into his practise both sitting as well as walking, and awareness of the activities too. So after about four days meditation he came to me and asked a question. ''Venerable Sir, my meditation is getting worse and worse,' he said. 'Now what happen to your meditation?' I asked him. Then he said, 'When I am walking one day, Venerable Sir, then gradually I am not aware of myself. The foot itself had lifted, and it itself pushed forward, and then dropped down by itself. There's no I or no me, no self, no myself. Sometimes though I control my foot, the foot doesn't stay with the ground. It lifted by itself. Sometimes it pushed forward very long. I couldn't control it. Then sometimes it's getting down by itself. So my meditation is getting worse and worse. What should I do?' Then eventually he said, 'I think I have gone mad.' Such an experience was very amazing.

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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby purple planet » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:01 pm

thanks for the replys - i think i got enough confidence to continue with my doubts and see where im going
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby Samma » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:35 pm

Interesting that you were told you to stop. From what I understand this is sometimes called seeing intentionality.

See: Mahasi Sayadaw, Fundamentals of Vipassana Meditation
http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/upl ... tation.pdf
"Only the intention to walk and the form walking. This the meditator realizes."
Show your teacher this text, and share your concerns.

To the meditator whose concentration has grown sharper by noting “walking, right step, leftstep, lifting, moving forward, putting down,” this moving forward as if being driven by something from behind becomes quite plain. The legs seem to be pushing forward of their own accord. How they move forward without the meditator making any effort is very plain to him. It is so good walking noting like this that some spend a lot of time in it.
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby Goofaholix » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:17 am

The body doesn't walk automatically, it doesn't do anything unless the brain tells it to.

What may have changed is your perception of the experience of walking, maybe it felt more natural, maybe you are just missing noticing the volitional impulse to walk.

either way it's good to look at the experience objectively as just another experience, labelling helps with that.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:21 pm

purple planet wrote:Zen question - right ?

i think i get it - so it does make sense what he told me -

it makes a bit of sense to you what he said then right ? i just need to have someone else opinion (he dosnt have to be right) - any way that is a good question if you meant it or not so thanks


Hi Purple,

I meant it to be an honest question. Please don't be fooled by my avatar. :tongue:

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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby purple planet » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:41 pm

:lol:
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby ohnofabrications » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:57 pm

That sense of naturalness or lack of control is in my opinion a very good sign. Was it accompanied by a sense of peace and stillness and sensate clarity? I often experience these things in combination. The naturalness arises when the 'self' is very relaxed and the body can just do what it needs to do... I do think it is a very good sign. I think this is one of the places where the automatic advice of "just note it" can be problematic because that effort could bring up a sense of self.

In general take a standard how calm, content, and mindful you are, not how precisely you are following a specific technique. Most techniques have as their goal states of calm, mindfulness from which clear seeing can arise. It is really easy to get overly attached to technique, don't do that.

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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby purple planet » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:22 pm

talked to him again and i didnt mis-understand he says the body does that out of boredom and whenever i notice it i should notice it and continue on

maybe his saying its not good just so i can see in the future how i dont have any control over it

ohnofabrications - just be careful not to get attached to the nice feeling of it - its one of the "traps" - to enjoy the state your in and not want to continue or to think your an arahant and not want to continue
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby reflection » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:12 pm

The body is automatic, but so is the mind. Maybe your teacher wants you to also see that the noting comes automatically, I don't know. Just an idea. I have the 'automatic body' often, and don't do anything in particular with it. I just watch and -if suitable- apply the same attitude to the mind. Which means the control I sometimes feel I have, largely disappears again.

After a while the 'automatic body' becomes quite natural and you can sort of jump into the state. No need to note it in my opinion, because noting is then an action which is like a sort of illusionary control, if you catch my drift.
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:50 pm

Hi Reflection,
reflection wrote:After a while the 'automatic body' becomes quite natural and you can sort of jump into the state. No need to note it in my opinion, because noting is then an action which is like a sort of illusionary control, if you catch my drift.

I think that if you're finding noting to be an "illusionary control" you're not using it in the way I was instructed, which is as an aid to focussing on the particular phenomena that are arising, without proliferating about it. As I understand it, if one finds oneself drifting in a automatic sort of practice, either sitting or walking then maintaining sharp focus on what is going on is crucial, otherwise it's very easy to lapse into a rather pleasant, but unfocussed state. The sort of state I've sometimes wasted a lot of time in...

In any case, if one is working with a teacher one trusts, I would definite go with what he suggests, and see how it works itself out.

:anjali:
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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby reflection » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:01 pm

Yeah, probably we were instructed -or are experiencing- differently. What I find, if I note it often sort of feels like an action I decided to do. In my experience destroying some of the focus I obtained when things went automatic without thoughts. That's why I emphasized it was in my opinion. Should also have said my experience. But let's not go into a debate about noting here. I suggested what I do so purple planet may give it a try if he wants. But of course, first go with what the teacher says. Doesn't mean we can't experiment a bit. :namaste:

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Re: Walking meditation - automatic - on its own

Postby purple planet » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:26 pm

I always will go with what the teacher says - its just i dont like to ask a milion times on the same subject on the phone - its hard to be clear on personal experiences - so its just a way to understand better what the teacher means if i got him right and also how to ask him next time i talk to him

i never had a doubt i should label this - to label as normal - lifting ...raising ... pushing .... ect its just that as i understand in my teachers way of meditating : we should label the walking steps and if something is bothering in this action we stop and stand and label three times - and then continue and there can be stuff which we are aware of all the time but only if it gets into are main awareness (which means bother us concentrate and label the main object) than we switch to the secondary object - and unlike sound smell pain ect - this "automatic" thing dosnt bother my main action and is actually "part" of the action so thats the confusing part
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