Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly without?

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

Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby 2pennyworth » Fri May 09, 2014 9:23 pm

Mkoll wrote:
VinceField wrote:If you read the quotes I posted from Bhante's book, you will clearly see that his use of the word suppression signifies a forced blockage of arising hinderances, rather than a mindful allowance followed by a mindful release.

Sorry, I don't see any difference there. I think you're saying the same thing in a softer and fancier way.

VinceField wrote:It is explained as more of a burying of the hindrance, rather than a proper dissemination via progressive mindful detachment.

Same thing.

~~~

I'll be blunt: I think, given the language that you're using, you are blending modern Western psychology, specifically the concept of psychological repression, with the Buddha's teachings from 2400 years ago.

To me, they're incompatible because their fundamental premises are different.

But, like I said, whatever works for you.


I really think there is a misunderstanding going on in this thread, a break-down of communication. I'm not being very concise in my own posts, and the topic keeps spinning off in different directions due to misunderstanding and me personally loosing sight of the main point.

What I personally got from Ven V's points that he stresses continuously, is the importance of the "releasing" and "relaxing" and bringing up a wholesome state. For me personally, this began to ring true when I realized that usually when I got deeper into the meditation in a sitting, mind would become absorbed (I didn't even know I was getting absorbed in fixed concentration, I thought that was something totally different to what I was practicing! Like, my attention wasn't super fixed on an object like the breath - I thought it was free, open and lucid! Totally ignorant to it! It was only certain aspects of my sensory field I was blind to ie the craving and attachment) and, unknowingly at the time, craving (getting attached) would manifest and I'd lose open, objective clarity / awareness of the body/mind and become blind to the tension and stiffness of craving/attachment that was going on. This is what I think Ven V means when he talks about "suppression". For me making Ven V's relax and re-smile step into a habit whilst practicing the brahmaviharas was beneficial because it allowed me to see the tension and tightness and stiffness of craving and thus I was able to relax and release that craving every time it arised allowing me to progress in insight and not get stuck in absorption whilst having a jolly old time along the way! For me, this breakthrough was profound to say the least, hence my enthusiasm for the teachings! (so please forgive that! I'm not implying that Ven V is the inventor of the "perfected practice" or anything silly like that ;) )

Now, about bashing other practices, I have no interest in that. It was my original intention to bring this practice to light for the benefit of others who were perhaps experiencing a similar problem. But it took me personally a while to even become aware of it in my own practice, in fact I only became aware of it though practicing Ven V's methods. So I was probably being pretty naive in my original intentions.

Anyway, that is why I am sincerely indebted to Ven V, the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. :bow:

Respect and good will to you all.

:anjali:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Fri May 09, 2014 10:17 pm

Mkoll wrote:
VinceField wrote:If you read the quotes I posted from Bhante's book, you will clearly see that his use of the word suppression signifies a forced blockage of arising hinderances, rather than a mindful allowance followed by a mindful release.

Sorry, I don't see any difference there. I think you're saying the same thing in a softer and fancier way.

VinceField wrote:It is explained as more of a burying of the hindrance, rather than a proper dissemination via progressive mindful detachment.

Same thing.


There is a huge difference. Lets look at the case of burying and blocking hindrances. In terms of mindfulness, all one needs to recognize is that a distraction has arisen- there is no need to analyze exactly what the hindrance is or where it came from and why, one just needs to immediately ignore the hindrance and refocus concentration on the meditation object. After some time of developing strong concentration and becoming more efficient at rejecting hindrances, this becomes almost an automatic function and so it appears that the hindrances have gone. However, the underlying cause of the hindrance has not been mindfully addressed and reconciled, but rather has only been covered over with a thick layer of concentration and mental blockage. Thus the problem still exists, it has only been made temporarily unconscious. This is not a wholesome approach.

How you can say that forced blockage is the same thing as mindful acceptance and release is mind boggling. Perhaps a dictionary could help in understanding the difference between these concepts. One who forcibly blocks a hindrance from one's perception is rejecting it, not accepting it. There would be no reason to block the hinderance if it was mindfully accepted and not identified with. There is no release inherent in this blocking either, but rather a covering over and hiding of the hinderance.

If you believe that covering something up is the same as eliminating it, you may find yourself rethinking your position when the carpet you swept those things under is eventually lifted.
:rofl:

If there is truth in Buddhism and if there is truth in modern psychology and if both almost exclusively deal with the workings of the mind, then there is very little logic in concluding that there is no compatibility between the two. Truth is truth, regardless of the time or location of its realization.
:woohoo:

Like I said, one can stop the hinderance from arising for a period of time, but this does not mean that the underlying mechanisms driving the hinderance have ceased to exist. One can simply be burying the hinderance under newly acquired mental screens and subconscious programmings without truly ridding oneself from it.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 10, 2014 12:17 am

Vince,

VinceField wrote:Like I said, one can stop the hinderance from arising for a period of time, but this does not mean that the underlying mechanisms driving the hinderance have ceased to exist. One can simply be burying the hinderance under newly acquired mental screens and subconscious programmings without truly ridding oneself from it.


How do you know you are not doing the same thing?

VinceField wrote:If you believe that covering something up is the same as eliminating it, you may find yourself rethinking your position when the carpet you swept those things under is eventually lifted.

That's a false analogy. The mind can't be hypostatized into a carpet!

VinceField wrote:If there is truth in Buddhism and if there is truth in modern psychology and if both almost exclusively deal with the workings of the mind, then there is very little logic in concluding that there is no compatibility between the two. Truth is truth, regardless of the time or location of its realization.


I'm curious about what "truths" of modern psychology you're talking about that you think are equal to what the Buddha taught. No doubt you know that there are many psychological schools and theories. Please be specific.

~~~

Please address the following question...

Are you claiming that you've permanently rid yourself of the hindrances?
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Sat May 10, 2014 12:50 am

How do you know you are not doing the same thing?


It's a matter of being fully mindful, unconditionally accepting the hinderance for what it is, allowing it to exist without personally identifying with it, and releasing attachment to it. An aware, open, and accepting mind doesn't need to create false blockages and mental barriers, doesn't need to reject or push anything away.

That's a false analogy. The mind can't be hypostatized into a carpet!


There are countless proven cases of individuals suppressing aspects of their personality through various acts of self-hypnosis and habitual mental conditioning, only to have these temporarily hidden aspects eventually resurface (after the "carpet" or mental screen had been penetrated or removed). My analogy is quite sufficient. Of course it's not quite as simple as that, but it seemed like I had to bring the concept down to a level that you would grasp.

I'm curious about what "truths" of modern psychology you're talking about that you think are equal to what the Buddha taught. No doubt you know that there are many psychological schools and theories. Please be specific.


The parallels are so numerous, I would challenge you to find an aspect of buddhist philosophy or practice that CAN'T be related to current understandings of psychology. Of course, this is not necessary- all that is required of you is to use your head. You would find plenty of similarities if you actually wanted to. A simply google search for "Buddhism and Psychology" could help if you don't care to think too much.

Are you claiming that you've permanently rid yourself of the hindrances?


This question is akin to me asking you if you are claiming that you are a five-headed elephant cyborg from outer space. This would be a question based on false assumptions and a skewed perspective. I simply claim to have somewhat of an understanding of the topic at hand.

But really, are you a five-headed space elephant robot? :rofl:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 10, 2014 4:14 am

Vince,

I will be very blunt as a reasonable approach has clearly gotten nowhere.

Mkoll wrote:How do you know you are not doing the same thing?

VinceField wrote:It's a matter of being fully mindful, unconditionally accepting the hinderance for what it is, allowing it to exist without personally identifying with it, and releasing attachment to it. An aware, open, and accepting mind doesn't need to create false blockages and mental barriers, doesn't need to reject or push anything away.


You didn't answer the question. How do you know? The fact is, you don't, which is why you can't answer the question.

Mkoll wrote:That's a false analogy. The mind can't be hypostatized into a carpet!

VinceField wrote:There are countless proven cases of individuals suppressing aspects of their personality through various acts of self-hypnosis and habitual mental conditioning, only to have these temporarily hidden aspects eventually resurface (after the "carpet" or mental screen had been penetrated or removed). My analogy is quite sufficient. Of course it's not quite as simple as that, but it seemed like I had to bring the concept down to a level that you would grasp.


You're talking about people who have serious mental illnesses. They are a special case and thus exceptions to most general rules about the mind. If you form a general rule for everybody based upon such special cases, then your rule is likely to be flawed.

Mkoll wrote:I'm curious about what "truths" of modern psychology you're talking about that you think are equal to what the Buddha taught. No doubt you know that there are many psychological schools and theories. Please be specific.

VinceField wrote:The parallels are so numerous, I would challenge you to find an aspect of buddhist philosophy or practice that CAN'T be related to current understandings of psychology. Of course, this is not necessary- all that is required of you is to use your head. You would find plenty of similarities if you actually wanted to. A simply google search for "Buddhism and Psychology" could help if you don't care to think too much.

:redherring:

I asked about the "truths" of modern psychology as compared to the Buddha's teachings and you reply with "parallels" and "related" and "similarities". Your statement is true, but irrelevant.

Mkoll wrote:Are you claiming that you've permanently rid yourself of the hindrances?

VinceField wrote:This question is akin to me asking you if you are claiming that you are a five-headed elephant cyborg from outer space. This would be a question based on false assumptions and a skewed perspective. I simply claim to have somewhat of an understanding of the topic at hand.

But really, are you a five-headed space elephant robot? :rofl:

What could have been a reasonable debate has devolved into this.

~~~

Given that you've resorted to insults and abusive ad hominem attacks against my intelligence, this will be my last post directed towards you unless you apologize.

For the future, I suggest you take a page from 2pennyworth's book and exercise more restraint. Throughout this thread, he has remained civil and congenial to everyone, despite similar questions posed to him.
Peace,
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Sat May 10, 2014 5:51 am

You didn't answer the question. How do you know? The fact is, you don't, which is why you can't answer the question.


Sorry, I thought this would be obvious from my response. Thought you would put two and two together. I know I am not doing the same thing because I am not using a technique which results in this kind of possible outcome. Mindful acceptance and release will naturally have a different outcome from an approach of resistance, blockage, or cutting-off of the hinderance.

You're talking about people who have serious mental illnesses. They are a special case and thus exceptions to most general rules about the mind. If you form a general rule for everybody based upon such special cases, then your rule is likely to be flawed.


I do not speak of special cases. This is simply the nature of the human mind. It can be witnessed on a smaller scale via affirmations and their effects on subconscious programming. In fact I do it all the time in my spiritual practices, although not for suppressing hinderances, but for astral projection and lucid dream induction. Severe mental diseases aren't necessary for one to burry memories or mental tendencies in the unconscious portions of the mind. It can be done by repetitive self-hypnosis or trauma of various kinds. If this were the case, every one of the countless number of people having undergone successful hypnotherapy would have a mental disease going by your statement.

Given that you've resorted to insults and abusive ad hominem attacks against my intelligence, this will be my last post directed towards you unless you apologize.


If me jokingly and light-heartedly asking you if you were an elephant from outer space insulted you, then you obviously misread me. I was simply making an example, and having a little fun with it, with no ill will whatsoever. I believe it is healthy to not take everything so seriously. How that could be construed to be insulting is beyond me. But if an apology will heal your wound, then here you have it. I am sorry! :cry: Oh my god please forgiiiiveeee meeeeee!!!!! :bow: :console: :hug: :toast: :heart:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 10, 2014 6:36 am

VinceField wrote:If me jokingly and light-heartedly asking you if you were an elephant from outer space insulted you, then you obviously misread me. I was simply making an example, and having a little fun with it, with no ill will whatsoever. I believe it is healthy to not take everything so seriously. How that could be construed to be insulting is beyond me. But if an apology will heal your wound, then here you have it. I am sorry! :cry: Oh my god please forgiiiiveeee meeeeee!!!!! :bow: :console: :hug: :toast: :heart:

That's not what I was referring to. This was:

Vincefield wrote: Of course it's not quite as simple as that, but it seemed like I had to bring the concept down to a level that you would grasp.


In other words, you're saying: "You're a flipping moron."

~~~

That's fine if you want to think I'm a moron. We're free to think what we want. But insulting someone directly like that is faux pas, not just among Buddhists but everywhere.

I await your apology if you can find the humility to do so.
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 10, 2014 8:05 am

Gentlemen, please keep this civil.

:anjali:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat May 10, 2014 8:48 am

VinceField wrote:It's a matter of being fully mindful, unconditionally accepting the hindrance for what it is, allowing it to exist without personally identifying with it, and releasing attachment to it. An aware, open, and accepting mind doesn't need to create false blockages and mental barriers, doesn't need to reject or push anything away.


So with this approach it's enough to simply accept and "let go" of the hindrances? But how does one "let go", practically speaking?

And are you implying that Right Effort is irrelevant, and that developing the 7 factors of enlightenment is irrelevant?
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 10, 2014 8:50 am

VinceField wrote: Mindful acceptance and release will naturally have a different outcome from an approach of resistance, blockage, or cutting-off of the hinderance.

I continue to be puzzled by this discussion because I've never come across a teacher who taught an approach that consists of "resistance, blockage, or cutting-off of the hindrance". This "mindful acceptance and release" is the norm among the ("vipassana") teachers I have met, listened to, or read, though their approach to the "release" part varies, so won't exactly match Ven Vimalaramsi's.

Furthermore, this comment actually applies also to teachers who teach a more concentration-oriented approach. For example, Ajhan Brahm, in his book, "Minfulness, Bliss and Beyond" (you can read the first five chapters as a PDF here: http://www.dhammatalks.net/, if you go to the Ajahn Brahm section and look at the Mindfulness, Bliss & Beyond link). There are two chapters on the hindrances. Here are a couple of paragraphs:

Page 31 (sensory desire)
You can’t simply decide to let go of the five senses and the body through
a single effort of will. The abandoning of kama-chanda in meditation
is achieved little by little. ...

Page 45 (restlessness)
Even if you have an ache in the body and don’t feel well, you can
change your perception and regard that as something quite fascinating,
even beautiful. See if you can be content with the ache or pain. See if you
can allow it to be. A few times during my life as a monk I have been in
quite severe pain. Instead of trying to escape, which is restlessness, I
turned my mind around to completely accept the pain and be content
with it. I have found that it is possible to be content with even severe
pain. If you can do that, the worst part of the pain disappears along with
the restlessness. There’s no wanting to get rid of it. You’re completely
still with the feeling. The restlessness that accompanies pain is probably
the worst part. Get rid of restlessness through contentment, and you can
even have fun with pain.

:anjali:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Sat May 10, 2014 11:34 am

James

I do apologize. I sincerely felt that you were not understanding the idea that I was trying to convey. I'm sure you're not a "flipping moron" and I mean you no disrespect.

You are right, I should show more restraint. In fact, I should have never even entered this discussion with the exception of my initial post and my posts thanking members who provided helpful information. I will do better next time. :meditate:

Peace and love to all- over and out. :toilet:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby Mkoll » Sat May 10, 2014 11:55 am

VinceField wrote:James

I do apologize. I sincerely felt that you were not understanding the idea that I was trying to convey. I'm sure you're not a "flipping moron" and I mean you no disrespect.

You are right, I should show more restraint. In fact, I should have never even entered this discussion with the exception of my initial post and my posts thanking members who provided helpful information. I will do better next time. :meditate:

Peace and love to all- over and out. :toilet:

Well said, thank you. Fare well!
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 10, 2014 12:50 pm

Thank you gentlemen. Carry on...
:group:

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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby 2pennyworth » Sat May 10, 2014 6:29 pm

The Buddha is constantly seen in the suttas encouraging his disciples to develop jhana. The four jhanas are invariably included in the complete course of training laid down for disciples. They figure in the training as the discipline of higher consciousness (adhicittasikkha), right concentration (sammasamadhi) of the Noble Eightfold Path, and the faculty and power of concentration (samadhindriya, samadhibala). Though a vehicle of dry insight can be found, indications are that this path is not an easy one, lacking the aid of the powerful serenity available to the practitioner of jhana. The way of the jhana attainer seems by comparison smoother and more pleasurable (A.ii,150-52). The Buddha even refers to the four jhanas figuratively as a kind of Nibbana: he calls them immediately visible Nibbana, factorial Nibbana, Nibbana here and now (A.iv,453-54). - 'The Jhanas in Theravada Buddhist Meditation' by Henepola Gunaratana

I’d like to explore the differences between “dry insight” and “tranquil insight” a little more if anyone would care to indulge me. Principally, claims that I’ve come across, by some “dry” vipassana practitioners, of difficulty experienced in terms of particularly, and maybe even characteristically, unpleasant stages of insight, even of negative effects to disposition? Is this necessarily inherent in dry insight practice? Or is it perhaps due to misapplication or misunderstanding of practice methods in some way? I’m sure you all have more experience and knowledge of these matters than I do, so I’d greatly value your input and insight, as it's a topic that I'm quite curious about and interested in.

Tiltbillings, I am right in thinking that you practice what could be referred to as “dry insight” vipassana? Earlier in this thread you mentioned that you have no interest in jhana, does that mean you don’t practice it? Or am I mistaken in that assumption? You also referred to Anapanasati practice as ‘conceptually busy’? I shared this view when it came to the Brahmaviharas, hence my initial reluctance to actually 'give it a go'. What I’ve come to find is that the instructions of anapanasati and even the brahamaviharas (specifically, in my case as practiced through Ven Vimalaramsi’s “style”), although requiring a bit of a learning curve in terms of understanding and integrating the methods into practice, after a while, as you rightly pointed out, the conceptual framework drops away and it becomes natural.

titlbillings wrote:What is interesting is watching the occasional expressions of struggle we see here with a conceptual practice such as noting, which is a lot simpler than using the phrases of MN 118. If one takes MN 118 as having to be practiced by actually using the set phrases of the sutta, it is a more complicated practice, which certainly would involve a significant conceptual learning curve. And initially, and traditionally, such a practice of using MN 118 would, of course, require learning the sutta by heart. As one uses such a practice, becomes proficient with it, the conceptual framework begins to drop away, as happens with the noting practice.


Also, this idea of “conceptual busyness” is interesting in that perhaps Ven Vimalaramsi’s 'style' is found to be so particularly and swifty effective by quite so many who practice it (from what I can see), exactly because of its simplicity and accessibility; because of its easy to understand “distillation” of the long and well established practice instructions. In that it’s nothing new or revolutionary in terms of practice methods, rather the way the practice methods are delivered in terms of accessible and easily applicable instructions for western lay practitioners. The 6 R’s for example. It’s easy to remember and digest, and as Ven Vimalaramsi has pointed out is not a set of separate, individual “steps” rather, one “rolls their R’s” in what becomes a natural flow. Coupled with his intriguing angle on physical manifestation of craving and the meninges. I also admire his emphasis on the importance of understanding and seeing dependent origination in action. Although, I do believe the criticisms that he mixes in with his teachings is maybe doing the rest of his good work a disservice.

But, it is very much a case of whatever style of practice works best for the individual, obviously. As correctly pointed out before in this thread.

I suffer from a longstanding, reoccurring chronic illness which I have (amazingly) been able to 'manage' in terms of suffering and pain, through applying tranquil insight. Without the metta/loving kindness/tranquil aspect and intentional relaxing step I doubt I would have been successful in this due to habitual resistance and clinging/tension/contraction in response to the pain I usually experienced. Now when I have a "flair-up" I sit in tranquil loving kindness meditation. The first time I applied this type of meditation (I've tried applying what I'd call "dry" insight--in terms of not especially or intentionally integrating warmth, loving kindness, compassion into the actual meditation nor the relaxing step--to the illness when it's flared up times before, to no success. please forgive me if my description is unfair and inaccurate. Maybe the label 'dry insight' is totally off the mark here) to the symptoms successfully through patience, warmth, acceptance and all those wholesome qualities, as well as mindfulness and concentration, in short, the factors of liberation, coupled with the relaxing step/aspect the suffering of the pain dropped away and I experienced this 'pain' in a whole new and unexpected way; there was just different intensities, vibrations, pulsations, waves, textures, etc. of sensation, some jarring and sharp, some subtle and soft, flowing, pulsating etc. I'd see all these different "relationships" of sensations; see how a sensation arising in one area would set off a reactionary sensation in my head which would usually be met with anger or frustration or irritation, for example. It was not only like I was seeing it with new eyes, but that I'd released some sort of 'resistance' allowing this 'flow' to manifest in all it's varied and complex glory. At times it was even indescribably blissful and eventually I came to high equanimity in amongst this field of sensations / 'pain', actually, 'in amongst' and 'field' doesn't do it justice, it was just, simply thusness, as "self" faded. Formally it had just seemed like a kind of indistinct or out-of-focus (hard to put it into words) but very real and strong agonizing pain which caused a lot of restlessness and irritation and suffering. It's difficult to convey my desire to share this with others who suffer from this illness for which there is no known cure (the medical world know very little about it's causes etc) because I have read that many suffer from depression because of it and even contemplate suicide.

Another reason I'm particularly interested in the most effective and simple way to apply practice instructions for lay practitioners who may have limited understanding of, or time to commit to, Buddhist studies, is because I work in health care and rehabilitation, and am training to become an Occupational Therapist. OT incidentally, employs a similar "philosophy" to Buddhism, in terms of a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Treating the whole person, including mental, physical, environmental, occupational (activity), and interpersonal interactions, seeing them as interdependent aspects of the whole.

:anjali:
Matt
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 10, 2014 9:44 pm

Hi Matt,

There are a number of threads on this. I'll try find some.

My experience is that the so-called "dry insight" approach actually leads to quite strong concentration. In fact, the Mahasi approach is not so different from Ven V's approach, in a global sense. There is a grounding/primary/concentration object (breath, abdomen, metta, motion while working, whatever), and when other objects come up (hindrances, sounds, pain, whatever), one focusses on them and sometimes deals with them in particular ways (sucha as Ven V's relax approach) before returning to the grounding object.

If one is after deeper concentration then the difference is that one returns to the grounding object as soon as one is aware of the "distraction".

If you are interested in investigating the Mahasi-based approach in detail I would encourage you to work through one of Patrick Kearney's set of retreat talks here: http://dharmasalon.net/Audio/audio.html which go into quite a lot of detail on such issues. Perhaps pick the last one that is currently there SBS December 2013, which is one I listened to last month.

:anjali:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby 2pennyworth » Sat May 10, 2014 10:10 pm

Thank you very much Mike, I shall have a listen.

:namaste:
Matt
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Mon May 12, 2014 6:19 am

I thought I'd share my experience out of curiosity of whether anyone else has experienced this or has any insight into the matter.

I have been meditating for about 2-3 hours a day for the past three weeks straight, jumping right into a dedicated practice coming from about a two-year meditation hiatus. The first two weeks I did a Samatha/Vipassana practice using one-pointed concentration, but more recently I began using Bhante's tranquility method. It seems like since I've made the switch, I've been experiencing very strong energetic sensations in my head, mainly during meditation and resting periods.

Some of the sensations feel rather pleasant, yet strong, and are especially concentrated around the brow chakra, the crown chakra, and the medulla oblongata. If I focus on the medulla the energy increases substantially until bursts of extremely pleasant yet intense energy shoot down my spine. During these bursts it feels as if the medulla is actually contracting. The activity in the chakra centers doesn't appear to be directly related to arising hinderances.

Mental tightness is extremely apparent when hinderances arise, manifesting as fairly strong energy and pressure in the areas of and around my brain. When I relax, release and let go, the energy and pressure is washed over by what feels like a wave of soothing warmth flowing from my head and down into my body along with a feeling of mental expansion, although at times the tightness quickly returns if I do not allow myself to remain in that relaxed state, usually due to thinking. I usually find that my eye muscles tighten with the tension in my head, and that totally relaxing my eyes is the only way to fully experience this wave of relaxation.

On another note, and another issue I would appreciate insight into, is that I seem to have an especially difficult time letting my body breathe without controlling it to some degree. It seems like I have to detach from my breath to such a degree that I am no longer effectively mindful of the breath in order for me to totally relinquish control of breathing. I find myself becoming short of breath and having to yawn often throughout the meditation due to this control issue. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Uhhh Something clever to give you the impression that I am the identity compulsively projected by my false illusory defiled ego?
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VinceField
 
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby beeblebrox » Mon May 12, 2014 2:52 pm

VinceField wrote:On another note, and another issue I would appreciate insight into, is that I seem to have an especially difficult time letting my body breathe without controlling it to some degree. It seems like I have to detach from my breath to such a degree that I am no longer effectively mindful of the breath in order for me to totally relinquish control of breathing. I find myself becoming short of breath and having to yawn often throughout the meditation due to this control issue. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Vince,

This is something I figured out in my personal practice (which could possibly deviate from the traditional interpretation): the fourth tetrad of anapanasati involves contemplation of the dhammas (phenomenons), which are impermanence, non-desire, cessation, and relinquishment. You can notice all of these happen within just the breathing itself.

For example, without the relinquishment... it'd be impossible for you to change from the in-breath to out-breath. So, if you tried to hold onto a particular breath (because of not letting go), it'd become uncomfortable. That is dukkha.

When the breath finally changes, you can also notice the cessation of desire right there (or just before).

It's possible to apply these insights to the rest of life, which has nothing to do with breathing. That's just something to think about.

:anjali:
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby fraaJad » Mon May 12, 2014 5:14 pm

VinceField wrote:I thought I'd share my experience out of curiosity of whether anyone else has experienced this or has any insight into the matter.


hi Vince,
have you listened to any of BV's talks on MN111? I highly recommend them for tracking where you are in the jhanas when using this practice. It's slightly more applicable to metta and the brahma viharas, but should still make sense if you're doing breath.

my quick answer though, is don't pay attention to the sensations. 6R everything. :-)

peace,
jad
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Re: Key component missing? Does the wheel turn smoothly with

Postby VinceField » Mon May 12, 2014 7:12 pm

Thank you for the responses.

I made some decent progress with my breathing issue today. I was able to allow natural breathing to take place without any conscious interference in the following way: I initially held my attention on my entire body, and with each in and out breath I focused on the intention of fully letting go. I let go for the entire in breath, and at the start of the out breath I re-intended to let go and felt myself letting go for the duration of the out breath. The main part of my awareness was focused on letting go and relaxing, and a smaller part of my awareness was on my body and breathing. It was a much more productive session- a lot less hinderances arising, much less aversion.

Does anyone else have a similar way of approaching their meditation or delegating the amount of attention they put on tranquilizing and letting go versus feeling the body and breath?

I have noticed that most of my arising hinderances are random memories of past situations in which I have some level of regret or I know that I did not act in a wholesome and truthful way, and if I follow these thoughts I find myself thinking of how I would have responded or behaved now that I am wiser. From what I have understood from Bhante's teachings, the more I allow these thoughts to exist without attachment and the more I let them go in my meditations, the less they will arise and the more they will dissolve until they no longer exist. I understand this process as a progressive release of attachment from the hinderance- from these memories and regrets (and whatever else may arise). I was wondering if anyone has any further thoughts or experience with this process.

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