The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

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: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby bodom » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:23 pm

Good to see you posting again Guy! Welcome back!

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:07 am

Thanks Bodom, glad to be back. :hug:
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:55 am

Good day, everyone.

About six months ago, or so, I do not recall exactly, my daily meditation practice broke down. I went a few weeks without sitting, nor did I read dhamma. There was just a sudden halt that kind of took me by surprise, although I suppose it shouldn't have. Looking back, I do believe that I had taxed myself to much in trying to be a 'scholar' buddhist practitioner, when in fact I am a poor fit for that. Trying to learn pali, read the VM and the vimuttimagga, the nikayas, post here frequently, meditate, all the while maintaining two children and personal studies not connected with dhamma, proved to much. Something had to give.

Anyway, such a thing happens to many of us sooner or later, I suppose, so no big deal. But what has been a big deal is that I haven't been able to maintain a consistent meditation practice since. Some periods I can easily bring myself down to sit, other periods it's hard to convince myself. I've just grown to complacent with my lot in life, and find myself anticipating the day when the kids have grown and I can dispense with all but those things that are absolutely necessary for living. It is then, I imagine, that I'll get to it again.

We all know well the warning about death's sudden visit, however, and the length of my life is a mystery even to me.

So in light of a few recent realizations, the reminder death's suddenness being only one, I resolve here to meditate for one hour each evening for the next 30 days. Each day I will post and declare my success. I fancy that 30 hours meditation, with you good people as my witness, should be a good way to kick this problem of mine to the dirt.

After that I figure a minimum of 365 hours meditation per year shouldn't be to taxing.

What do you good people think?
Last edited by Reductor on Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:56 am

Success for the 20th of March!

Even before sitting to write the post immediately above, I had already succeeded in my hour's meditation. I sat, and sat. The first 30 minutes were a cake walk. The last 30... not so much. Haha.

Onward!
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:00 am

Hi thereductor,
Thanks for the update and sorry to hear that your practice has been a bit rocky of late.
It can be very hard work at times - and I know that myself from personal experience.
What I found helpful is to meditate in the very early morning before anyone else gets out of bed and again later in the evening when family members have retired for the night. And if it is at all a possibility - I strongly recommend a yearly residential meditation retreat. This will be really very helpful to get and remain established.
with Metta,

Ben
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:05 am

Thanks for the encouragement, Ben.

I shouldn't have much trouble with the evenings. That's my natural time. Mornings... well, one thing at a time. Hehe. I would love to make that work, though.

And I am finally going to get a retreat in. I have decided, dang it! I have not done one so far, because I always think of it as me burdening my family members. But without a yearly retreat I can see that my practice will be lacking a very important component.

:heart:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:26 am

Hi TheReductor and All,

It's good to hear about your experience because it means I'm not alone when it comes to dropping the practice! I also have been trying to cut back to what I really "need" in life.

Probably one of the biggest areas I need to cut back (or be more selective about) are my friends, I have been trying to juggle too many friendships and there's just no "me"(ditation) time. The problem is not just having too many friends, but the wrong type of friends. Being a 25 year old male I feel that society expects me to be a certain way and that way is just not good for me. Many of my closest friends are much older than me as often I don't feel that I can relate to many of the people my age.

Good, virtuous, wise friends are the whole of the spiritual life, not half! The Buddha was right...again!

By the way: I meditated for an hour yesterday and I will go and meditate for an hour today right now!

Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:11 am

Hey Guy, all.

I know that society wants people to conform its expectations. I feel it at times, as my life certainly doesn't conform to the norms of where I live. Or perhaps it is I that expect society to expect it! Or perhaps again the expectation is indeed real, in which case those that are disappointed/surprised/dismayed will have to remain that way.

Did I mention that I'm glad to see you posting again? I've had occasion to wonder just where it was that you had gone. So welcome back!

Tonight I completed the hour. Actually an hour and 11 minutes, as I restarted. All in all it was an adventure. First I sat in my kids' room so that they'd quiet down and sleep (which worked well last night). My daughter complained after 11 minutes or so (I checked on my timer) that her teeth had something caught in them. After flossing her, I began again. Then, after she had drifted off and my mind seemed to be collecting inwardly, I instead became drowsy. So I struggled a moment or two before deciding to make the experience of being drowsy the focal point of the meditation. That worked for a time, and paradoxically eased my drowsiness. Then it ceased to keep it at bay (because the room is very warm, and dark?).

So I spent the last half hour in walking/standing meditation.

:twothumbsup:

Thank you everyone for reading.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:14 am

Hi TheReductor,

I can only imagine what it must be like being a father AND a meditator! Great effort!

It's an interesting experience isn't it, when you make the dullness the object of the meditation (as long as it's not too strong) it often fades away and is replaced by brightness. When the dullness is really strong, in my experience, then, the time is better spent sleeping than trying to meditate. I have a lot of experience with sloth and torpor as it seems to be one of my more dominant defilements.

Back to basics for me as I know my mindfulness is much weaker than it has been in the past. I have been practicing just a basic body scan meditation the last couple of days and I will be practicing a basic breath meditation (with counting) this afternoon.

Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:47 am

Guy wrote:Hi TheReductor,

I can only imagine what it must be like being a father AND a meditator! Great effort!


It does take more effort than I feel it should, at times. Often my role as father and husband (and tech guy, and proof reader, and sounding board, and ...) requires me to go off task to often. For example, tonight I waited until I thought my wife was asleep before sitting. Ten minutes into my sit, she comes out to inform me of something related to a computer problem we had been discussing in the evening. She apologized for interrupting me, true, but I had plenty of time to mindfully experience irritation just then.

It's an interesting experience isn't it, when you make the dullness the object of the meditation (as long as it's not too strong) it often fades away and is replaced by brightness. When the dullness is really strong, in my experience, then, the time is better spent sleeping than trying to meditate. I have a lot of experience with sloth and torpor as it seems to be one of my more dominant defilements.


Mine too, actually. I've tried working with it in a number of ways, but the best (i.e., most effective and most dhammic) has been more analysis of my meditation experience in whatever form its taking. More thinking! that's usually the answer for me. The only draw back is that it take more practice than a cup of tea and some really bright lights. Haha. Actually, walking is just as effective, but so far for me it's not as satisfying.

However, walking back and forth is going to be a staple practice for me here on out. It is proving very helpful (which isn't news to most posters here).

Back to basics for me as I know my mindfulness is much weaker than it has been in the past. I have been practicing just a basic body scan meditation the last couple of days and I will be practicing a basic breath meditation (with counting) this afternoon.


Back to basics, indeed. Having committed to the hour a day, I've come to the conclusion that I need to put my training wheels back on. I too will be counting my breaths for the first half hour of the meditation, and will do so for the foreseeable future (it was very helpful tonight).

Actually, it occurred to me that meditation is like playing a musical instrument, a little bit. Not practising for a prolonged period of time allows the "muscle memory" to erode. But, the knowledge of theory remains, as does the knowledge of how to train to play that instrument. Along with that there is knowledge "I have played it, and I can play it again; I need only train myself".

Kind of a reassuring thought.

:heart:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:43 am

hi TheReductor,

thereductor wrote:Actually, it occurred to me that meditation is like playing a musical instrument, a little bit. Not practising for a prolonged period of time allows the "muscle memory" to erode. But, the knowledge of theory remains, as does the knowledge of how to train to play that instrument. Along with that there is knowledge "I have played it, and I can play it again; I need only train myself".

Kind of a reassuring thought.


Great metaphor, one that has occurred to me also.

If we look at the fact that our mindfulness has deteriorated that can be disheartening. However, if we investigate what the causes are for the deterioration of mindfulness; how it creates more suffering; and how to restore the mindfulness: then even the times when we have strayed from the Path, so long as it is followed by that investigation as to why we have strayed, it is only a matter of time before we are back on the Path properly (in fact, if we are investigating, then in that moment we are on the Path already).

So, depending on what we choose to focus on (the disheartening feeling on the one hand, or investigation on the other hand) not only is it going to make us feel better in the immediate short-term if we choose the wise perception over the unwise perception, it will also facilitate further development of the Path. But, even the disheartening feeling in-and-of-itself is not a bad thing if it leads to investigation, it is only bad if we get caught up in it.

Of course, in order to recognize this choice in the first place it takes at least a small degree of mindfulness - It can seem a bit like a chicken or egg scenario. Ajahn Brahmali gave a great talk last night about the importance of correcting our views and being virtuous and how mindfulness doesn't really take off until we have done so.

Ultimately, if we reflect wisely often and deeply, there isn't really a choice - we have to follow the Path, which is certainly reassuring.

Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:14 am

Hello and good evening (or morning - tis' a matter of perception) to Guy and All!

Tonight was a late start. Most of my meditation was of the walking sort, although the time I spent sitting was time spent counting my breath... but I do have a habit of Bud-dho-ing by default. Not bad, just not part of the game plan right now.

Also, Bud-dho works really well when timed with the stepping of the feet. Put foot down "Bud-", put next foot down "-dho". Repeat!

Or, for more fun, lift foot up "bud-", place foot down "-dho". Repeat!

That really slows things down.

Guy wrote:Great metaphor, one that has occurred to me also.


Do I detect a musical background? I don't have one, except that my kids are both part of a music/piano program and I am responsible for their practice sessions. My wife plays, and I've seen her skill wax and wane over the years, which is probably a source of my thought. Her passion for music has been inherited by my kids; Olivia especially gravitates to piano, and out shines all her classmates (a source of pride for her papa!).

Anyhoo...

If we look at the fact that our mindfulness has deteriorated that can be disheartening. However, if we investigate what the causes are for the deterioration of mindfulness; how it creates more suffering; and how to restore the mindfulness: then even the times when we have strayed from the Path, so long as it is followed by that investigation as to why we have strayed, it is only a matter of time before we are back on the Path properly (in fact, if we are investigating, then in that moment we are on the Path already).


I think this, along with what followed, sums up my experience over these last months.

In some respects I was far from the path. But still, I contemplated my state, and the causes, continuously; sometimes shrewdly (it seemed to me), while at other times not so clearly. Even when it seemed my mindfulness had eroded to an abysmal degree, I always had enough left to me to notice and contemplate my condition.

Ultimately, if we reflect wisely often and deeply, there isn't really a choice - we have to follow the Path, which is certainly reassuring.


I think this is a great thing.

For me and for you there is a need to follow the path; for many others here, and out in the wider world, this certainly is true. On some level we really have grasped the dhamma right, and so we know enough never to relinquish our mind completely to circumstances.

Gosh, I feel like I'm giving myself to much credit. :jumping:

:heart:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:27 am

Tally up this evening also.

Counting works well for concentration, in that my attention is anchored well to the breathing. However, it might work a little to well because of the drowsiness I feel so regularly ('when is the wrong time for concentration? when one feels drowsy' - a crude paraphrase of the Buddha). So, I found myself counting only exhalations, and feeling the inhalations. Feeling inhalations while not engaging my mind with the counting at those moments allowed me a measure of analysis, which helped dispel the drowsiness. Yet, counting kept my mind from wandering away with it's new energy.

So, that's how it seems tonight. What will tomorrow bring?

Good will to all.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Yana » Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:03 pm

I'm going to meditate 2/day.(Anapanasati)

I will start with 5min then add 1 min every sitting till i reach an hour.

5min+1,2,3..55min.

yes it's very slow..but i like slow and gradual work!grr.
Hopefull after i will have adapted..and i won't have much trouble sitting two hours a day.An hour 2/day.which is my ultimate goal for my lifestyle.

hehe :tongue:
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby dhamma_newb » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:31 pm

Yana wrote:I'm going to meditate 2/day.(Anapanasati)

I will start with 5min then add 1 min every sitting till i reach an hour.

5min+1,2,3..55min.

yes it's very slow..but i like slow and gradual work!grr.
Hopefull after i will have adapted..and i won't have much trouble sitting two hours a day.An hour 2/day.which is my ultimate goal for my lifestyle.

hehe :tongue:


Hi Yana,

I think it's wise to start off short and increase your time in small increments. The meditation course I took when I first started meditating started off with 10 min sittings and went up to 45 min at the end. Now I add 5 min to every meditation. I am up to 35 min Samatha, 25 min walking, and 65 min Vipassana. My goal is to meditate 3 hours a day.

Congratulations on your decision! Sending you much support :smile:

Peace,
Don
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Dhp 36

I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:12 am

Once more I have completed the hour. This was a difficult night for me.

Peace to all.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:10 am

I was getting comfy in bed for sleep when I remembered that I hadn't posted here.

So yes, I did my hour. It is becoming easier and easier to do each day, in terms of habit and duration. Last night was difficult in that I was burdened by certain defilements, while tonight was very good. It was smooth sailing, and I ended with a good bout of brahmavihara meditation.

:twothumbsup:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:55 pm

Hi Yana,

Yana wrote:I'm going to meditate 2/day.(Anapanasati)

I will start with 5min then add 1 min every sitting till i reach an hour.

5min+1,2,3..55min.

yes it's very slow..but i like slow and gradual work!grr.
Hopefull after i will have adapted..and i won't have much trouble sitting two hours a day.An hour 2/day.which is my ultimate goal for my lifestyle.


That's an awesome goal and an awesome strategy!

I have pretty much the same goal, but I am starting to think that my strategy is too advanced (i.e. hour/day already) for where I am actually at (busy and restless due to being busy, also sleep deprived). Starting from tomorrow I will try your strategy.

Thanks for sharing!

Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:58 pm

thereductor wrote:Once more I have completed the hour. This was a difficult night for me.

Peace to all.


I admire, and aspire to, your level of sincerity and unwavering dedication!
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:00 pm

thereductor wrote:So yes, I did my hour. It is becoming easier and easier to do each day, in terms of habit and duration.


That's reassuring to know, too!!!

thereductor wrote:Last night was difficult in that I was burdened by certain defilements, while tonight was very good. It was smooth sailing, and I ended with a good bout of brahmavihara meditation.


Glad to hear your persistent effort is paying off!!! Meanwhile I am taking the lazy man's path to happiness - Mudita!!! :D
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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