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.

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

Postby Jack » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:44 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote: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

===================
That's one of my favorite suttas.

As you research noting, you might check out Shinzen Young’s talks on noting on Youtube, Mahasi Sayadaw’s Practical Insight Meditation, In This Very Life by Sayadaw U Pandita:at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pan ... structions,and Kenneth Folks’s detailed noting at http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/

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

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:14 pm

Boredom is the suffering which arises when the ability to feed the mind with an endless stream of enjoyable and interdting stimuli come to an end. It is the doorway, one could say, that one begins to understand what real life minus the eternal distractions, is all about. We are so used to having sense pleasures run right through our lives (or be motivated by some kind of defilement) that when we have to face life (breathing, watching, listening, aches, pains, vibrations) we naturally get bored and thereby experience withdrawal symptoms of this dopamine adiction, which we call samsara.

To overcome this addiction - and to motivate practice- the Buddha suggested the following antidote:

With metta

Matheesha


"Now, a disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one subject to aging, who has not gone beyond aging. To the extent that there are beings — past and future, passing away and re-arising — all beings are subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging.' When he/she often reflects on this, the [factors of the] path take birth. He/she sticks with that path, develops it, cultivates it. As he/she sticks with that path, develops it and cultivates it, the fetters are abandoned, the obsessions destroyed.

"Further, a disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one subject to illness, who has not gone beyond illness.'... 'I am not the only one subject to death, who has not gone beyond death.'... 'I am not the only one who will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.'...

"A disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one who is owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator; who — whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir. To the extent that there are beings — past and future, passing away and re-arising — all beings are the owner of their actions, heir to their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Whatever they do, for good or for evil, to that will they fall heir.' When he/she often reflects on this, the [factors of the] path take birth. He/she sticks with that path, develops it, cultivates it. As he/she sticks with that path, develops it and cultivates it, the fetters are abandoned, the obsessions destroyed."


Subject to birth, subject to aging,
subject to death,
run-of-the-mill people
are repelled by those who suffer
from that to which they are subject.
And if I were to be repelled
by beings subject to these things,
it would not be fitting for me,
living as they do.

As I maintained this attitude —
knowing the Dhamma
without paraphernalia —
I overcame all intoxication
with health, youth, & life
as one who sees
renunciation as rest.

For me, energy arose,
Unbinding was clearly seen.
There's now no way
I could partake of sensual pleasures.
Having followed the holy life,
I will not return.
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:59 pm

Ben wrote:
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


Yes, Ben. You do sound like a broken record! :tongue:

Seriously, the boredom arose shortly after participating in a very challenging meditation seminar. As others have already suggested, perhaps I need to just sit through it.

Part of the boredom (I now realize) may be due to my expectations that what was learned in the seminar would assist me accelerating the beneficial results of my practice. This of course exposes another hindrance: "impatience". :embarassed:
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 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:16 pm

Hi, good friends. :coffee:

Almost a year has passed since my last post in this regard. What I observed was a gradual deterioration in my sitting frequency and duration to the point that all observation of Samatha-Vippisana methods taught to me in the previously mentioned seminar was abandoned. Went months and months reverting to breath focus meditation. Recently shared a discovery regarding a new method: Remaining in a Dwelling of Emptiness", which I discovered doing study and research regarding emptiness. So-far, so good.

I am sharing this experience in the hopes that it will help someone, whose practiced had become miserable like mine and is looking for a break-through, which I seem to have found, at least for the time being.

MN 121 PTS: M iii 104
Cula-suññata Sutta: The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 1997–2012

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Method: I read and follow Buddha's instructions to Ananda, dwelling in the suggested mind state for as long as my bottom can stand it. Right now, fifteen minutes per mind state seems to work pretty well. I have a "quarter hour-gonging" Grandfather Clock in my wife's office, which I received as a performance award when I was still a working stiff, which seems to split up the meditation/mindfulness session quite well. I have been doing this for the last few days and am actually making true progress for the first time in a year. I have never before experience The Jhana's, and still haven't to the best of my knowledge. But now there is hope of not only this experience, but, in the sutta, Buddha promises that Release is on the horizon as well.

May we all "Remain in this dwelling of emptiness." :anjali:
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 Goofaholix » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:07 pm

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?"


Do you find the same level of boredom when observing the mind throughout your day to day activities? Or have you found interest and the ability to be present with all of that heightened?

If the latter then I'd say your meditation has worked, this is a sign that you are realising that it is about moment to moment awareness throughout the day, and sitting practise is a means of establishing that and not an end in itself.

If the former then I guess you need to ask yourself what's important in your life.
"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: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Viscid » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:27 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote: I have been doing this for the last few days and am actually making true progress for the first time in a year.


I wonder if changing one's practice, or taking a break from it, is a more effective strategy for progression than relentless use of a singular method..
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby Ferox » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:52 pm

not sure if this was mentioned or not, but Metta is about development of our own minds and equanimity, not actually "sending magical waves of help" to people or anything like that. Of course people in the world need help, but no one is saying " sit and send them metta" as a method of it hehe. Metta is for our own mind.
-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby farmer » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:27 pm

Ron, I suggest you explore the breath meditation method taught by Ajahn Geoff (Thanissaro Bikkhu). You can find his writings at AccessToInsight and recordings of his talks at DhammaTalks.org.

He teaches that it is easier to stick with meditation practice if we find a way to make it interesting, for example by exploring the effects that different kinds of breathing and different ways of conceptualizing the breath have on body and mind. You might find this approach helps with boredom.
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Re: Meditation: Can't live with it! Can't live without it!

Postby cooran » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:28 am

Ferox wrote:not sure if this was mentioned or not, but Metta is about development of our own minds and equanimity, not actually "sending magical waves of help" to people or anything like that. Of course people in the world need help, but no one is saying " sit and send them metta" as a method of it hehe. Metta is for our own mind.

Hello Ferox,

You may be interested in this previous thread:

The Power of Metta (Classical Theravada Version)

.....The subjective benefit of universal love is evident enough. The enjoyment of well-being, good health, peace of mind, radiant features, and the affection and goodwill of all are indeed great blessings of life accruing from the practice of metta-meditation. But what is even more wonderful is the impact which metta has on the environment and on other beings, including animals and devas, as the Pali scriptures and commentaries illustrate with a number of memorable stories......

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1643

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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