Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without 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.

Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:54 pm

Over the last thirteen years, since practicing in earnest the best description of my meditation experience has been reticence. : "–adjective
1. disposed to be silent or not to speak freely; reserved.
2. reluctant or restrained."

I was never certain if I was doing it "right". I didn't understand the purpose or the payback for the time and effort required. I thought it "hairy-fairy", something that women did, and not men. Then I read this book:

Image

And found that if I practiced what was recommended therein, I was able to hone my mind to a point where it was no longer such an unmanageable tangle of experiences, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, but I actually got to a point where I was able to have an awakened experience where my mind was almost motionless and unperturbed. And, all this before seeking the teachings of Buddha.

Next I discovered stories about Buddha which revealed that he found sitting in meditation to be a method of contemplation of The Dhamma; that sitting was what he was doing at the very moment of his enlightenment. But, aside from the battles with Mara described in such stories I had no idea why that was so.

Then I began to seek out and sit with groups. My first group was a Zen group, which would meet in various members homes. We would sit, practice, read The Dhamma, discuss. I got the idea from this experience that how you looked during sitting was more important than what we were doing. The young women because of their flexibility seemed to look the best. They seemed to have great posture, especially in the full lotus position, which I was never able to master, because of a birth defect in my right hip. When I did manage to bend myself into something that vaguely resembled a full lotus, within a very few minutes I wound up with leg cramps and having to hobble off somewhere private where I could cry silently until the cramps subsided.

The second sitting group which I joined was a Laosian Theravandan group at a temple in Rochester, New York, which placed more emphasis on socialization than posture. They smiled and were very friendly. We brought food to share and we sat. Everything was grand and a pleasure to sit and later to smile and share.

My current group is ecumenical comprised of Buddhists from various traditions and schools. The emphasis is sitting and sharing Dhamma talks by various traditional and modern writers. The emphasis is on being together sitting. As usual, the young women have excellent posture, but the emphasis is on being there.

To characterize my current meditation and mindfulness practice at home and abroad (out and about in the world) with regard to method comes from what I recently learned in a meditation seminar conducted by The Dhammasukha Meditation Center, which conducts online meditation seminars.

http://dhammasukha.org/Retreats/ON-YOUR-OWN-ONL.htm

After participating my practice increased in frequency and vastly in quality. I actually felt like some progress had been made towards the goal of experiencing, observing, and most importantly knowing what to expect from the behavior of my own mind, which was truly a new experience for me.

As would be expected as time ticked on my frequency of sitting has dropped off as well as the duration, due mostly to boredom. I find science documentaries, crime investigation shows, and washing the dishes of more interest than sitting in meditation. Meditation just seems boring, quite frankly.

So, my question to you is: "What am I doing wrong?"
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby kirk5a » Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:24 pm

Have you investigated boredom itself? That is, what qualities constitute that state, mental and physical, how it arises, how it ceases...
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:33 pm

kirk5a wrote:Have you investigated boredom itself? That is, what qualities constitute that state, mental and physical, how it arises, how it ceases...


Hi, Kirk. Thanks for the suggestion.

Yes. I have investigated it to the extent that I know it bothers and demotivates me. While sitting in meditation I have found nothing of interest arises during meditation, since I have seen all that I see currently in each and every event of practice. My sitting experience could be described as a non-experience. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, are no longer interesting. They are non-events. Literally, nothing new, unusual or memorable has happened since attending the seminar. Therefore, the initial curiosity regarding meditation practice has waned and boredom arises in its place.

I have since turned to a mind during sitting which is directed to "metta", mentally chanting "loving-kindness" towards those who I have decided would benefit from such intentions. But now, I even am bored with that, and have resorted on several occasions to chanting: "Loving-kindness to the kitty!", referring to our cat, which I found to be almost cynical and have since rejected it out of hand. After all, there are tens of thousands of folks in The Middle-East who could actually benefit from loving-kindness. But, the exercise seems almost hypocritical in that what they need in real assistance: food, water, shelter, a safe place to sleep, medical attention, and formulation of beneficial intentions while sitting seems ludicrous. Therefore, annoyance, and then boredom arise again.

Hmmm? :thinking: I see what you mean. Perhaps I will take this further during this morning's session.

Thanks again for the suggestion. :anjali:
Last edited by Ron-The-Elder on Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby David2 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:10 pm

If you are bored, there is a lack of interest.
When I feel bored while meditation I try to get the interest from the challenge with dealing with this boredom.
Sometimes this helps me a bit.

You can also remember the transitoriness of boredom. How long does it stay?

Also, you can concentrate on what you exactly feel. Maybe there is a slight tension somewhere in your body? Maybe the boredom is just a thought that ceases after half a second and comes back after 5 seconds?

If boredom is just a thought, it is not that hard to sit it through in my opinion.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Kenshou » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:22 pm

I don't know what you are practicing, but if just practicing mindfulness or whatever is leaving you bored, why not invest some time in a more concentration-oriented practice? Which of course is also going to be beneficial to your mindfulness. Developing the jhana factors may not be a "goal oriented" kind of thing since the achieving attitude tends to subvert their development, but nevertheless the intention to develop concentration provides a direction.

Also, boredom is a symptom of restlessness, but once the 5 hindrances are really gone and a degree of concentration is established boredom becomes a non-issue. Easier said than done of course.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:03 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:...After participating my practice increased in frequency and vastly in quality. I actually felt like some progress had been made towards the goal of experiencing, observing, and most importantly knowing what to expect from the behavior of my own mind, which was truly a new experience for me.

As would be expected as time ticked on my frequency of sitting has dropped off as well as the duration, due mostly to boredom. I find science documentaries, crime investigation shows, and washing the dishes of more interest than sitting in meditation. Meditation just seems boring, quite frankly.

So, my question to you is: "What am I doing wrong?"

Hi, Ron,
I'm going to risk sounding heretical here and say, "Maybe nothing."
I can empathise with about 95% of your experience. Meditation has helped me know myself and untangle things were were, or were likely to become, problems. I am definitely happier and a better person because of it. But I do find it boring, and don't do nearly as much of it as I "should".
Who defines "should"? People like me and you? It doesn't sound like it. :tongue:
So what's going on, and what should people like us do?

One fairly obvious answer is to treat meditation as we would treat exercise (which I also find boring, btw) and just do enough of it to achieve the results we want. Do we face the world with equanimity and compassion? Then maybe we're doing "enough" even if it's (now) maybe only an hour a week.
We have plenty of precedent for this: it's essentially the layperson's level of commitment in traditional Buddhist societies, even if we arrived at it by a different path.

The other answer, essentially Kenshou's answer and probably more acceptable to most DW regulars, is that it only gets boring when you're not making progress. I know that's true of exercise and of learning most skills, and the remedy is to learn to do whatever-it-is better. Learning something new is always satisfying in itself, and higher realisations which should emerge from greater skills are likely to make the activity more enjoyable, too.
We do have role models for this, of course. There are people (mainly full-time practitioners) whose spiritual achievements are truly inspiring.

For myself, I'm accepting the first answer while thinking about getting to a longish retreat to see what comes of the second answer.
I don't know if you will find my response helpful, but I hope you do - it would be a fair return for your question confirming that I have company here on DW. :group:

:namaste:
Kim

{Edited to add an afterthought.]
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby alan » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:52 am

It is a question of motivation. Best way to stay motivated is to establish goals. There are two types of goals--your goal for today, and your ultimate goal. When I go to lift weights my goal is to get one more rep than I did last time. My ultimate goal is to be as lean and fit as possible. This attitude has served me well over many years of boring exercise.
When sitting your goal is to be just a bit more focused than you have been before. That is your goal for today.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:53 am

Hey Kim. Thanks for the disclosures of the ancient past, and for this one in the recent past.

I like your idea of trying something different. I think that I will review what Access to Insight has to say about Vipassana - Samatha meditation again and see if there are any suggestions, which might be worth investigating. Anything would be better than what I am doing, as I have now degraded to blowing-off my weekly meetings as well. It's almost like I am getting angry and rebellious.

Kenshou. Many thanks for your input. I explained my practice, spotty as it is now, in my original post. Perhaps there is some underlying restlessness as you suggest. I will check during my next sitting.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:57 am

alan wrote:It is a question of motivation. Best way to stay motivated is to establish goals. There are two types of goals--your goal for today, and your ultimate goal. When I go to lift weights my goal is to get one more rep than I did last time. My ultimate goal is to be as lean and fit as possible. This attitude has served me well over many years of boring exercise.
When sitting your goal is to be just a bit more focused than you have been before. That is your goal for today.



Hi, alan. Interesting that you would pick weightlifting as an analogy. My father was an Olympic Weightlifter, and I spent many hours as a kid sitting around The York Barbell Company watching the U.S. Olympic Team training. Can't say I was ever bored watching or practicing.

I like your idea of setting both short term and long term goals. The long term goal should be obvious for all of us. The short term I will have to give some thought. It used to be sitting longer, but once I hit four hours during a seminar, I could only wonder why anyone would ever want to meditate for four hours.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby alan » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:04 am

Then don't meditate for 4 hours!
What is the point? Sit for as long as you can in a way that benefits you.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:05 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Yes. I have investigated it to the extent that I know it bothers and demotivates me. While sitting in meditation I have found nothing of interest arises during meditation, since I have seen all that I see currently in each and every event of practice. My sitting experience could be described as a non-experience. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, are no longer interesting. They are non-events. Literally, nothing new, unusual or memorable has happened since attending the seminar. Therefore, the initial curiosity regarding meditation practice has waned and boredom arises in its place.

I have since turned to a mind during sitting which is directed to "metta", mentally chanting "loving-kindness" towards those who I have decided would benefit from such intentions. But now, I even am bored with that, and have resorted on several occasions to chanting: "Loving-kindness to the kitty!", referring to our cat, which I found to be almost cynical and have since rejected it out of hand. After all, there are tens of thousands of folks in The Middle-East who could actually benefit from loving-kindness. But, the exercise seems almost hypocritical in that what they need in real assistance: food, water, shelter, a safe place to sleep, medical attention, and formulation of beneficial intentions while sitting seems ludicrous. Therefore, annoyance, and then boredom arise again.
.

If you start looking for something in particular, something extraordinary, you will create difficulties for yourself, and will not be able to progress on the path.
--SN Goenka
"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: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby alan » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:16 am

Clear comprehension, focus and awareness. 25 minutes and done. 2 or 3 times a day of that seems like a good goal.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby pegembara » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:22 am

Our sense of self is continually formulated by the things that we do and our interactions with others. When we find ourselves with nothing to do or no one to be with, our ego has nothing familiar by which to define itself.

However, we can transform our fear of this emptiness. Boredom and loneliness depend on investing in the sense of self. And, ironically, the harder we try to solidify our image of me through activity, the more we create the conditions for boredom to arise. If the sense of self is clearly understood as empty, solitude becomes a cherished companion. Try quieting the mind and then dropping the question “Who am I?” into it. A gap opens up after the question and before the thinking/self-creating habit can produce a verbal answer. Explore that gap and how it changes your experience of selfhood.

http://www.tricycle.com/-practice/pract ... s?page=0,3
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Kaktus » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:30 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Next I discovered stories about Buddha which revealed that he found sitting in meditation to be a method of contemplation of The Dhamma


Are you able to give me a quick link for further reading?

I´m generally interested in methods of active contemplation within sitting meditation.

Thank you.
English isn´t my native language. So please accept my apologies for my kind of spelling and grammar ;-)
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:25 pm

alan wrote:Then don't meditate for 4 hours!
What is the point? Sit for as long as you can in a way that benefits you.


Thanks, alan. Began what you suggested through the process of re-entry into the "real" world. The world of chores, phone calls, CNBC, shopping lists for the store, bowel and bladder urgency, snow-blowing (Not that you would know what that is, since you live in Florida. :tongue: )


Ben: If you start looking for something in particular, something extraordinary, you will create difficulties for yourself, and will not be able to progress on the path.
--SN Goenka


Right! That's exactly what appears to have happened. Perhaps there is no need to push it so hard.


Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Next I discovered stories about Buddha which revealed that he found sitting in meditation to be a method of contemplation of The Dhamma


kalktus requested: Are you able to give me a quick link for further reading?

I´m generally interested in methods of active contemplation within sitting meditation.


Suggest this reading: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

"When, near the river Nerañjara, I exerted myself in meditation for attaining to security from bondage,[1] there came Namuci[2] speaking words of compassion:

"'You are emaciated and ill-looking, you are near to death! A thousand parts of you belong to death and only a fraction of you is alive. Live, good Sir! It is better to live. Living you may perform meritorious deeds. From practicing celibacy and tending the sacrificial fire much merit is made, but what is obtained from striving? It is difficult to enter the path of exertion, it is difficult to do, difficult to maintain.'"

Mara spoke these words whilst standing in the presence of the Awakened One. To Mara speaking thus, the Lord replied:

"You who are the friend of the negligent, O Evil One, for what reason have you come here? Those who still have use for merit Mara may consider worthwhile addressing. I have faith and energy and wisdom. Being thus bent on striving why do you ask me to live? This wind will wither the currents of the rivers, why should not my exertion dry up even the blood? When the blood dries up, the bile and phlegm wither. On the wasting away of the flesh the mind becomes more and more serene and my mindfulness, wisdom and concentration are established more firmly. In me, who abides enduring such an extreme experience, the mind does not long for sensual pleasures. See the purity of a being!

"Sensual desire is your first army, the second is called discontent, the third is hunger and thirst, the fourth craving, the fifth sluggishness and laziness, the sixth fear, the seventh indecision, and the eighth disparagement of others and stubbornness: gain, fame, honor, prestige wrongly acquired and whoever praises himself and despises others — these, Namuci, are your armies, the Dark One's[3] striking forces. A lazy, cowardly person cannot overcome them, but by conquering them one gains bliss.

"I wear muñja-grass![4] Shame on life here in this world! It is better for me to die in battle than to live defeated. Some recluses and brahmanas are not seen (exerting themselves) here, so immersed are they (in worldliness). They are not aware of that path by which those of perfect conduct walk.

"Seeing the surrounding army ready and Mara mounted (on his elephant), I am going out to fight so that he may not shift me from my position. This army of yours which the world together with the devas is unable to subdue, that I will destroy with wisdom, like an unbaked clay-bowl with a stone. Having mastered the mind and firmly established mindfulness I shall wander from country to country guiding many disciples. And they will be diligent and energetic in practicing my teaching, the teaching of one without sensual desire, and they will go where, having gone, one does not grieve."

Mara: "For seven years I followed the Lord step by step but did not find an opportunity to defeat that mindful Awakened One. A crow flew around a stone having the color of fat: 'Can we find even here something tender? May it be something to eat?'

"Not finding anything edible the crow left that place. As with the crow and the stone, we leave Gotama, having approached and become disheartened."

Overcome by sorrow his lute fell from his arm and thereupon the unhappy spirit disappeared from that place.


Then this commentary: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... eel419.pdf

In which I found this translation to be interesting as to my case:

The Buddha recognizes the speaker of these “kind” words and is conscious of
Måra’s hidden agenda. So he rebukes him as Pamattabandhu (the Friend of
Heedlessness), Påpimå (the Evil One), and Kaˆha (the Black One). The hosts of
Måra are also identified:

“Your first squadron is Sense-Desires,
Your second is called Boredom, then
Hunger and Thirst compose the third,
And Craving is the fourth in rank,
The fifth is Sloth and Torpor
While Cowardice lines up as sixth,
Uncertainty is seventh, the eighth
Is Malice paired with Obstinacy;
Gain, Honor and Renown, besides,
And ill-won Notoriety,
Self-praise and Denigrating Others:
These are your squadrons, Namuci.”
14”
1
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Jack » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:26 pm

I suggest something different. The Buddha had a teaching called the 7 Factors of Enlightenment. They are 1. Mindfulness. 2. Investigation into the nature of phenomena that appears at your 6 sense doors. 3. Energy. 4. Joy or rapture. 5. Relaxation or tranquility of body and mind. 6 Concentration. 7. Equanimity. I use the 7 Factors as a checklist to make sure they are in balance in my meditation. For you I would suggest increasing investigation during your meditations. For instance, the act of swallowing can be fascinating: noting wanting to swallow, then the intention to swallow, then the act of swallowing with all its muscular movements of face and throat.

I think there is a lot going on during your meditations that you are unaware of. The Buddha had another teaching called the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness. They are 1. Body sensations which you can note to yourself: Pressure, tightness, tension, release, coolness, warmth, softness, hardness, tingling, itching, burning, stinging, pulsing, throbbing, seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing. 2. Feeling tone: are the sensations pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. 3. Mental states: is your mind in the mode of investigation, curiosity, happiness, anxiety, amusement, sadness, joy, anger, frustration, annoyance, irritation, aversion, desire, disgust, fear, worry, calm, embarrassment, shame, self-pity, compassion, love, contentment, aversion, dullness, sleepiness, bliss, exhilaration, triumph, self-loathing, etc.. 4. Thoughts that arise: Are they planning thought, anticipating thought, worrying thought, imaging thought, remembering thought, rehearsing thought, scenario spinning thought, fantasy thought, etc.

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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:04 pm

Jack wrote:I suggest something different. The Buddha had a teaching called the 7 Factors of Enlightenment. They are 1. Mindfulness. 2. Investigation into the nature of phenomena that appears at your 6 sense doors. 3. Energy. 4. Joy or rapture. 5. Relaxation or tranquility of body and mind. 6 Concentration. 7. Equanimity. I use the 7 Factors as a checklist to make sure they are in balance in my meditation. For you I would suggest increasing investigation during your meditations. For instance, the act of swallowing can be fascinating: noting wanting to swallow, then the intention to swallow, then the act of swallowing with all its muscular movements of face and throat.

I think there is a lot going on during your meditations that you are unaware of. The Buddha had another teaching called the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness. They are 1. Body sensations which you can note to yourself: Pressure, tightness, tension, release, coolness, warmth, softness, hardness, tingling, itching, burning, stinging, pulsing, throbbing, seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing. 2. Feeling tone: are the sensations pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. 3. Mental states: is your mind in the mode of investigation, curiosity, happiness, anxiety, amusement, sadness, joy, anger, frustration, annoyance, irritation, aversion, desire, disgust, fear, worry, calm, embarrassment, shame, self-pity, compassion, love, contentment, aversion, dullness, sleepiness, bliss, exhilaration, triumph, self-loathing, etc.. 4. Thoughts that arise: Are they planning thought, anticipating thought, worrying thought, imaging thought, remembering thought, rehearsing thought, scenario spinning thought, fantasy thought, etc.

jack



Wow! :jawdrop:

How could anyone possibly be bored if we did all that? :clap:

Do you use your checklist "while" meditating, or afterwards?
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Jack » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:33 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Jack wrote:I suggest something different. The Buddha had a teaching called the 7 Factors of Enlightenment. They are 1. Mindfulness. 2. Investigation into the nature of phenomena that appears at your 6 sense doors. 3. Energy. 4. Joy or rapture. 5. Relaxation or tranquility of body and mind. 6 Concentration. 7. Equanimity. I use the 7 Factors as a checklist to make sure they are in balance in my meditation. For you I would suggest increasing investigation during your meditations. For instance, the act of swallowing can be fascinating: noting wanting to swallow, then the intention to swallow, then the act of swallowing with all its muscular movements of face and throat.

I think there is a lot going on during your meditations that you are unaware of. The Buddha had another teaching called the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness. They are 1. Body sensations which you can note to yourself: Pressure, tightness, tension, release, coolness, warmth, softness, hardness, tingling, itching, burning, stinging, pulsing, throbbing, seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing. 2. Feeling tone: are the sensations pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. 3. Mental states: is your mind in the mode of investigation, curiosity, happiness, anxiety, amusement, sadness, joy, anger, frustration, annoyance, irritation, aversion, desire, disgust, fear, worry, calm, embarrassment, shame, self-pity, compassion, love, contentment, aversion, dullness, sleepiness, bliss, exhilaration, triumph, self-loathing, etc.. 4. Thoughts that arise: Are they planning thought, anticipating thought, worrying thought, imaging thought, remembering thought, rehearsing thought, scenario spinning thought, fantasy thought, etc.

jack



Wow! :jawdrop:

How could anyone possibly be bored if we did all that? :clap:

Do you use your checklist "while" meditating, or afterwards?


====
There are 100's of meditators using something like this during meditation. The list is just a suggestion for labels. You can come up with your own. Start off with meditation sessions noting body sensations while trying to be as precise as you can without thinking much about it. Just note it. After you are comfortable doing this, add the feeling tone to each sensation, i.e., pressure not pleasurable. After you are comfortable doing this, add condition of mind then thoughts. Finally you are noting whatever comes up in some detail without thinking about it.

Some people spend 15 minutes on the 1st of the 4 Foundations, 15 minutes on the 2nd, 15 minutes on the 3rd and 15 on the 4th.

The difference between teachers is how detailed the noting is.
All this can be done off the cushion also.

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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:37 pm

Thanks for the clarifications, Jack.

While researching the sources for your recommendations I ran across this:

The Blessed One's City of Dhamma:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl130.html
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:29 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Ben: If you start looking for something in particular, something extraordinary, you will create difficulties for yourself, and will not be able to progress on the path.
--SN Goenka


Right! That's exactly what appears to have happened. Perhaps there is no need to push it so hard.

Ron, I know I might sound like a broken record to many people on this regard, but have you ever thought about attending a residential meditation retreat? For me they have been invaluable not just in developing a depth of practice during the retreat itself but also in establishing one's practice so that practice becomes less fraught with difficulty in daily life. It is not to suggest that it becomes easy but you have more of an anchor, more stability.
Anyway, let me know what you think.
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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