meindzai wrote:I don't think there is anything wrong in trying to set up certain conditions for a meditation session to be more "successful," however you are defining success.
Agreed. However, it seems that different persons react differently to different conditions, it is quite a journey to find out what works best for oneself.
Another condition I heard is very helpful to many is to meditate in a group or/and the presence of a teacher. Just like with rituals I tried it but it showed no effect whatsoever in my case (don't know what is different in me) but I have heard this so often that I would say "give it a try" just as in the case of rituals.
On the danger of sounding zenish: whatever works.
In fact this is what Sila is all about, isn't it?
I don't think so. Sila is an inner condition, f.e. one of them the self-consistency of a personality. There are people who are more or less always in some state of lying to themselves, this lying takes so much energy, produces so much diversity, they can't concentrate properly on their own mind (not to mention develop awareness of their own mind).
I don't know why but there are many people who can't stand it if they have done something wrong, whatever it is. They can't face failure or being wrong, even for the small things. So they are in a constant struggle to alter the facts in their mind in such a way that whatever happens it is either the fault of others or did not happen at all. In their mind they are busy altering memories, meanings, intentions and so on. They are not aware that they do so. They really believe what they say, what they remember, what they imagine. They do not lie intentionally to others but they lie to themselves. It is my observation that this type of persons can't meditate at all because they can't concentrate on their own mind. Concentration on other things, work, crosswords, etc seems to be intact but not on their minds and even body is reduced.
I suspect they develop this lack of inner sila because they were taught that external (social) sila is important and has to be kept at all cost.