Tips for sustaining concentration.

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby robdog » Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:31 am

Hey guys:)

I have been meditating now seriously for around 12 months, i sometimes feel like im not getting much out of it but then i only have to look at me now as a person compared to what i was like 12 months ago to see that is not the case as i have changed for the better in so many ways. I currently just sit and watch the breath using "Buddho" mantra.

What i am finding though in my 30 minute sitting is that most of the time within 5 minutes or so i am pretty much focused on the breath and start to feel nice and relaxed, this lasts for around 10 minutes and feels great but then my mind starts on me, it can be any sort of thought, some really weird and strange, others that are things from my past or concerns about my future etc, standard monkey mind stuff. I find it very hard to just sit through them so to speak and not get involved, they seem to sort of for want of a better word possess my mind. I find this carries on for much of the rest of my sitting.

I do understand i need to be patient and i am trying to develop my practice away from the cushion but i was just wandering if anyone had any tricks for developing concentration or is it simply a case of just trying to be more mindful and keep going back to the breath everytime i catch myself wandering?

Ive always had problems with an overactive mind to be fair and i am trying not to get frustrated by it as it simply is what it is but if there are any tips it would be greatly appreciated it.

Thanks for your time:)

With Metta

Rob
User avatar
robdog
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:41 pm

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby culaavuso » Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:37 am

Five techniques for relaxing distracting thoughts are covered in MN 20.

If the mind is restless, it could be useful to focus on developing the appropriate factors for awakening at that time as discussed in SN 46.53.

SN 46.53: Aggi Sutta wrote:In the same way, monks, on any occasion when the mind is sluggish, that is the right time to develop analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, persistence as a factor for awakening, rapture as a factor for awakening.
...
In the same way, monks, when the mind is restless, that is the right time to develop calm as a factor for awakening, concentration as a factor for awakening, equanimity as a factor for awakening.
...
As for mindfulness, I tell you, that serves every purpose.


Ajahn Brahm's video on the simile of the cup might be helpful to consider:
culaavuso
 
Posts: 996
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby robdog » Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:25 am

Thank you culaavuso :smile:

I have seen the simile of the cup before, i guess it is the letting go aspect i have real trouble with, i tend to cling very strongly. I will persevere and read the scriptures you have given me. I will also work more on being peaceful and calm off the cushion too as i think this will only benefit my meditation practice further.

I maybe think i am being slightly impatient too, i have changed so much in the last 12 months i must be doing something right.

Thank you for your time :sage:
User avatar
robdog
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:41 pm

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:03 am

robdog wrote:
standard monkey mind stuff...

...I was just wandering if anyone had any tricks for developing concentration



What you are experiencing is quite normal.
Just keep going. Also, it is useful to remember that one's experience of meditation is not a reliable indicator of success.
This publication might be useful for you:


The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest
Selected Texts from the Pali Canon and the Commentaries
compiled and translated by
Nyanaponika Thera


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."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16074
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby robdog » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:03 am

Thank you Ben. I will take a look at that :sage:

I agree when you say "one's experience of meditation is not a reliable indicator of success" because as i say i sometimes feel im not getting anywhere in the meditation itself but when i look back at how i was 12 months ago i have changed so much and i would say all for the better too.

I still have much to work to do and i think i just need to be patient and persevere.

Thanks so much for your time :smile:
User avatar
robdog
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:41 pm

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby Ananda26 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:27 pm

robdog wrote:Hey guys:)

I have been meditating now seriously for around 12 months, i sometimes feel like im not getting much out of it but then i only have to look at me now as a person compared to what i was like 12 months ago to see that is not the case as i have changed for the better in so many ways. I currently just sit and watch the breath using "Buddho" mantra.

What i am finding though in my 30 minute sitting is that most of the time within 5 minutes or so i am pretty much focused on the breath and start to feel nice and relaxed, this lasts for around 10 minutes and feels great but then my mind starts on me, it can be any sort of thought, some really weird and strange, others that are things from my past or concerns about my future etc, standard monkey mind stuff. I find it very hard to just sit through them so to speak and not get involved, they seem to sort of for want of a better word possess my mind. I find this carries on for much of the rest of my sitting.

I do understand i need to be patient and i am trying to develop my practice away from the cushion but i was just wandering if anyone had any tricks for developing concentration or is it simply a case of just trying to be more mindful and keep going back to the breath everytime i catch myself wandering?

Ive always had problems with an overactive mind to be fair and i am trying not to get frustrated by it as it simply is what it is but if there are any tips it would be greatly appreciated it.

Thanks for your time:)

With Metta

Rob



First Jhana: Here quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states one enters upon and abides in the first jhana which has thinking and pondering with rapture and pleasure of seclusion.

Second Jhana: With the stilling of thinking and pondering, by gaining internal serene confidence and unification of mind one enters upon and abides in the second jhana which is without thinking and pondering with rapture and pleasure of concentration.

Third Jhana: With the dispassion of rapture one abides in equanimity and mindful and clearly still experiencing the pleasure on account of which the Noble One's announce he has pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful one enters upon and abides in the third jhana.


Fourth Jhana: With the abandoning of pleasure, with the abandoning of pain, with the previous disappearance of joy and grief with not pain not pleasure and equanimity mindfulness purity one enters upon and abides in the fourth jhana.
Ananda26
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:41 pm

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby robdog » Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:21 pm

Thank you Ananda26 :sage:
User avatar
robdog
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:41 pm

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Wed Apr 09, 2014 6:39 pm

I find the time I spend meditating varies.
Ridiculous as it may sound, I "listen" to myself; occasionally, 5 minutes gives me a better quality of meditation one day, than 20 minutes did the previous day....

It varies....
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
User avatar
TheNoBSBuddhist
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:06 pm
Location: Loch Lomond, via the High AND Low road....

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby pegembara » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:19 am

I have seen the simile of the cup before, i guess it is the letting go aspect i have real trouble with, i tend to cling very strongly. I will persevere and read the scriptures you have given me. I will also work more on being peaceful and calm off the cushion too as i think this will only benefit my meditation practice further.

I maybe think i am being slightly impatient too, i have changed so much in the last 12 months i must be doing something right.




"In the same way, Sona, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness(monkey mind), overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune[2]the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there pick up your theme."

"Even if powerful forms cognizable by the eye come into the visual range of a monk whose mind is thus rightly released, his mind is neither overpowered nor even engaged. Being still, having reached imperturbability, he focuses on their passing away. And even if powerful sounds... aromas... flavors... tactile sensations... Even if powerful ideas cognizable by the intellect come into the mental range of a monk whose mind is thus rightly released, his mind is neither overpowered nor even engaged. Being still, having reached imperturbability, he focuses on their passing away.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
pegembara
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby robdog » Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:44 am

Thank you for the comments TheNoBSBuddhist and pegembara it is very much appreciated :smile:
User avatar
robdog
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:41 pm

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby Digity » Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:22 am

I've been meditating for a little over a year too and it's the exact same for me too. The first 10 minutes or so are nice and then inevitably the distract thoughts come in. This is totally normal. I just try to stay aware of what's going on. So, if the mind is distracted by thoughts I make a note of that and then try to bring it back to my breath. Some days bringing my attention back to the breath doesn't take much effort and other days the thoughts have such a strong gravitational force that it's nearly impossible to pry my attention away. Regardless, I just try and stay aware of this...whatever the situation might be that day.

I don't think the ultimate goal of meditation is to develop 100% concentration on the breath...I think what matters more is developing the awareness and you're doing that even if you have distracting thoughts.
Digity
 
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby alan » Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:04 am

Developing concentration is like developing muscles: You have to push yourself further every time.
alan
 
Posts: 2544
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:14 am
Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby Coyote » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:44 am

Ven. Thanissaro talks a lot about the causes and conditions for concentration/jhana. If these are there, concentration will happen, if they are absent, the mind will be unfocused. I don't think the mind is random, rather we can look for patterns and use techniques in order to get the mind in concentration. When monkey mind is present, you can ask "what can I do to get the mind to settle down?". Often this is enough, other times you will have to use the skills you have learnt during meditation. If you like testing and experimenting with your meditation this might be the approach that works for you.

http://www.dhammatalks.org/
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 537
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Tips for sustaining concentration.

Postby robdog » Fri May 02, 2014 7:43 am

Thanks alan and Coyote :sage:

I have a feeling alot of my concentration problems may be to do with my past heavy drug and alcohol use, i have never been able to relax my entire life hence my use of drugs and alcohol in the past. I don't even drink tea or coffee these days though and although i still have difficulty concentrating i can say 100% for sure i am improving and moving in the right direction so i guess its a case of keep doing what im doing and be patient.

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my post, i will for sure take on board your advice:)
User avatar
robdog
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:41 pm


Return to Samatha Meditation and Jhana

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests