The Eyes (Again)

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

Do you meditate with your eyes closed or open?

Eyes Open
3
14%
Eyes Closed
15
71%
Other
3
14%
 
Total votes : 21

Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:44 am

Hi Collective

If when you are practicing vipassana and your object is sensation, just be aware, just be equanimous. After awhile, with some sensations, you will begin to notice its changing nature. Some gross sensations like pressure or pain may dissolve into finer sensations which have a shimmering quality. Just be aware of it. Try not to relish the pleasure, indifferent to the neutral, or recoil from the unpleasant. Be aware that the old habit pattern of the mind is to react with craving for the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant - just be aware of that and be aware of the mind attempting to respond to the different types of sensation with aversion, indifference (as opposed to equanimity) and craving.
In the beginning, other mental 'stuff', treat as muzak - background noise. Don't try to block it out nor engage with it.
With samatha, the thing is to maintain unbroken bare awareness of the object for longer and longer periods. Trying to maintain unbroken awareness is like trying to grab an eel so don't get despondent nor angry if you feel you're not making much headway. It takes, sometimes, a long time. But every effort is well spent.
All the best,

Ben
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Collective » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:59 am

Ben wrote:Hi Collective

If when you are practicing vipassana and your object is sensation, just be aware, just be equanimous. After awhile, with some sensations, you will begin to notice its changing nature. Some gross sensations like pressure or pain may dissolve into finer sensations which have a shimmering quality. Just be aware of it. Try not to relish the pleasure, indifferent to the neutral, or recoil from the unpleasant. Be aware that the old habit pattern of the mind is to react with craving for the pleasant and aversion to the unpleasant - just be aware of that and be aware of the mind attempting to respond to the different types of sensation with aversion, indifference (as opposed to equanimity) and craving.
In the beginning, other mental 'stuff', treat as muzak - background noise. Don't try to block it out nor engage with it.
With samatha, the thing is to maintain unbroken bare awareness of the object for longer and longer periods. Trying to maintain unbroken awareness is like trying to grab an eel so don't get despondent nor angry if you feel you're not making much headway. It takes, sometimes, a long time. But every effort is well spent.
All the best,

Ben

Thank you very much Ben

I appreciate your time and effort
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:03 am

My pleasure.
All the best!

Ben
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Collective » Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:44 am

Ben wrote:just be aware of that and be aware of the mind attempting to respond to the different types of sensation with aversion, indifference (as opposed to equanimity) and craving.

Ben

I was wondering about the difference between 'indifference' and 'equanimity' as they both sound similar to me.
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:07 am

Hi Collective,
Collective wrote:I was wondering about the difference between 'indifference' and 'equanimity' as they both sound similar to me.


http://cultivatingwisdomandcompassion.org/upekkha.htm
Indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. Indifference is the sad and tragic pretense of equanimity. It is a cold distance from a heartfelt sense of life. It is a state of utter isolation. Its impulse is towards superiority. By nature it suffers a scornful, contemptuous reaction to the beauty of the human process. Indifference blocks the potential to engage the love and freedom life has to offer.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el006.html
But the kind of equanimity required has to be based on vigilant presence of mind, not on indifferent dullness. It has to be the result of hard, deliberate training, not the casual outcome of a passing mood. But equanimity would not deserve its name if it had to be produced by exertion again and again. In such a case it would surely be weakened and finally defeated by the vicissitudes of life. True equanimity, however, should be able to meet all these severe tests and to regenerate its strength from sources within. It will possess this power of resistance and self-renewal only if it is rooted in insight.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el116.html
Equanimity (upekkha) is to be developed to deal with situations where one should admit that it is beyond one's powers to change them. It overcomes worry and useless distraction over affairs which either do not concern one or else cannot be changed by oneself. It is reflected in one's life by an ability to meet difficult situations with tranquillity and undisturbed peace of mind. The advantage to be seen in its development is that it makes one's life more simple by disengaging from useless activity. It is Lord Buddha's medicine for distraction and worry, and its enemies are mere indifference, which is the "near" one; while greed, and its partner resentment, which involve one unskillfully in so many affairs, are its "far" enemies.



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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Collective » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:18 am

Thank you very much :)
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Collective » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:37 am

So then, is it accurate to say

Vipassana focuses on the breath whilst acknowledging rising sensations

Samatha focuses on the breath to the exclusion of rising sensations?
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Collective » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:28 am

I think the best way to get a handle on this is to cut straight to the chase using a direct example/question:

You are practicing Vipassana and a sensation arises

What do you do?

You are practicing Samatha and a sensation arises

What do you do?


Thank you all :)
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Ben » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:47 am

Collective wrote:I think the best way to get a handle on this is to cut straight to the chase using a direct example/question:

You are practicing Vipassana and a sensation arises

What do you do?

It depends. For me, sensation is the primary meditation object but I don't jump from one sensation to the other as the next dominant sensory experience. Some forms of vipassana which use sensation as the primary object do recommend to observe the next dominant sensation that impacts on one's experience. If that is what you are doing then just be aware of the sensation while maintaining equanimity towards it. Some teachers will tell you to observe the sensation (or dhamma) one needs to observe its changing characteristic. And you'll find that all sensations change and their change is observable.
What I do is to move through the body in a particular sequence and observe whatever sensations occur with equanimity as my attention moves through different parts of my body so that I can develop sensitivity towards all sensations, subtle as well as the gross. And again, observing the sensation is to be aware of the changing characteristic of the sensation with equanimity.

Collective wrote:You are practicing Samatha and a sensation arises

For the purpose of discussion I will assume that your samatha practice is the breath. If a sensation arises, one continues to maintain continuous awareness of the breath. Essentially, one ignores the sensation unless the sensation is the meditation object of the continuous awareness of the touch of the in-breath and the out-breath.
kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Collective » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:48 pm

Thank you Ben. That was basically the final piece of the jigsaw for me.

It's appreciated.
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby effort » Sat Oct 16, 2010 5:25 pm

i was doing with open eyes and i think it was really good, now i try with closed eyes, result is sometimes pleasurable feeling but i doubt that means better meditation, i really like to onetime i be able sit in front of a wall with open eyes for seshin.
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Re: The Eyes (Again)

Postby Individual » Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:25 pm

Collective wrote:Still undecided about the eyes open or closed.

The two main books I've read; "Mindfullness, Bliss and Beyond" by Ajahn Brahm, and "Insight Meditation" (Vipassanna) by Saltzberg/Goldstein both recommend eyes closed. Yet when I meditate with my eyes open, now and again tend to enter into a blissful state of being. My entire body tingles and it's basically a very nice sensation. With my eyes closed I feel nothing. I'm not trying to acquire states of being, it's just that I get 'something' with eyes open and nothing with eyes closed. One is not better than the other in the long run, and I understand we shouldn't grasp at things, and really I'm not. I was just curious why I get the blissful sensation with my eyes open, and not when closed. So basically I would like to ask out of curiosity:

Do you meditate with eyes closed, open, do you perhaps switch half way through?

Thank you

Any of the above.

Open will prevent you from falling asleep and possibly strengthen focus, although there are specific benefits to each.

Try all three and see what you like.
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