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 Reductor » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:11 am

Hello again. Fine evening, ain't it? :)

Tonight I managed the entire hour. The first half hour was spent sitting, and I overcame some restlessness to establish a healthy level of sati. I observed the sense of calm in mind and body. Needless to say, calmness doesn't last, and neither does the sense of wakefulness, so I took up walking meditation. I attempted to sit again, but found that I was drowsy, and so returned to walking meditation.

And Ben, I agree wholeheartedly with you about bending with the wind - learning to both practice and live at the same time. It seemed to be the case for me, and for the occasional poster here on DW, that the effort to be a good practitioner was set at odds with the circumstance of living; in which case there is the risk of not accomplishing much of anything in either sphere. I am pretty sure there's a sutta out there on just that topic, actually.

Now, I would like to extend my encouragement to both jcprice, retro and LonesomeYogurt.

To jcprice, I hope that your practice becomes reliable and bears fruit. Feel free to post about success and struggles here on this thread, or on any other. It'll help, I think, because it is helping me.

Retro: weird! :rolleye: :jumping: :heart: I must ask why it is that you were meditating at 3am. Whatever the case, I am glad you managed it.

LonesomeYogurt, I hope you soon reach your goal, and then surpass it! And, as handsome as your last bench must have been, I suspect you new one is far superior.

Have a good night, or day, everyone.
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 » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:24 am

thereductor wrote:Hello again. Fine evening, ain't it? :)

Twilight here in Tasmania.

thereductor wrote:Tonight I managed the entire hour. The first half hour was spent sitting, and I overcame some restlessness to establish a healthy level of sati. I observed the sense of calm in mind and body. Needless to say, calmness doesn't last, and neither does the sense of wakefulness, so I took up walking meditation. I attempted to sit again, but found that I was drowsy, and so returned to walking meditation.

Glad to hear it.

And Ben, I agree wholeheartedly with you about bending with the wind - learning to both practice and live at the same time. It seemed to be the case for me, and for the occasional poster here on DW, that the effort to be a good practitioner was set at odds with the circumstance of living; in which case there is the risk of not accomplishing much of anything in either sphere. I am pretty sure there's a sutta out there on just that topic, actually.

Yes, I am sure there is. In the beginning I was very fixated on doing my meditation for one hour, twice daily at set times. Then life intervenes. When my family was much younger, I found the best time for me was before dawn and again when everyone was in bed for the night. In time I just learned to let go. I found I was less stressed about practice.

Have a good night, or day, everyone.

Thanks, and you too!
with metta,

Ben
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:55 pm

Last night was interesting in that I was drowsy in every posture. It was a long hour.
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 Apr 08, 2012 6:30 am

I didn't get around to posting here last night, but I did do my meditation hour then, and I've done it tonight also.

There is something about 11pm to 12pm (approximately) that makes me drowsy, although today wasn't nearly as bad. I've meditated at much later hours and struggled a lot less.

Any number of factors from my life may be involved, so I cannot determine the culprit just yet. Perhaps never.

Anyway, I sat and started by counting each breath until it seemed my attention was firmly turned toward the fact that I was meditating. Counting those breaths loosely at first, and then more closely, does seem a good way to reaffirm my intentions. There does come a time when such close counting of the breaths leads me into a dim state, because I am meditating late and am already drowsy.

Afterwards I counted only with the incoming breath, but felt the outgoing breath as clearly as possible. Tonight the perception of the bodily process of breathing was clear almost from the beginning, whereas other nights it starts slowly. Once this half counting was steady and reliable, and the perception of body seemed clear, I allowed my breathing to relax - which just means I was not breathing in as deeply. As that occurred my body lost tension, but my mind also relaxed, because the breath that was following was soothing. In this early stage I remained alert, mindful of body, and relaxed. It was then the case that I ceased to count, and instead observed this state. The observing part actually made the state calmer and steadier for a time.

Over time I do have to keep an eye out for changing states, which are usually states of near sleep: a soft, cosy and indistinct state. They didn't arrive tonight until I had stood up to do some walking mediation, after about 35 minutes. It was then that drowsiness seemed prevalent. I sat again, obviously by that time my mental vigour was in short supply.

I could go on, but I think it would be rather tedious to those that read these posts. If it isn't already. :thinking:

Take care.

: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 cooran » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:53 am

Hello thereductor,

Not tedious at all - I'm finding it interesting. I wonder ... what time do you get up in the morning? Sitting to meditate at 11 p.m. seems very late to me ... I'm regularly in bed two hours before that. But I do get up in the morning around 5 a.m.

with metta
Chris
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Reductor » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:03 am

Hello Chris. I'm glad I'm not being too dull by posting here.

I get up at around 8am with the kids, and go to bed much to late for my own good at or around 1am (or so I am trying). If I get much more sleep than 7 hours I wake up stiff and sore. Less than that, and I'm a freaking zombie all day.

My hours of meditation are dictated partly from circumstance (kids resist sleep, and the wife sleeps much less than I do which means she is awake very early), and partly from temperament. I've tried early morning meditation, but just cannot make it feel natural. Eventually I just toss my hands up and resume these late night sessions.

It could also be diet, or the amount of exercise (or lack) I get on some days verses others. Or maybe its just that I am unaccustomed to this particular hour of the day.

Anyway, I am going to go sleep.

Take care.
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 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:19 am

Tonight I dug out the list of 32 parts and went over them. A couple of iterations and I had it memorized. With each pass, I would direct my attention to that part within my body. Often it seemed I could sense the part under attention, although in the case of the internal organs that must have been a perceptual matter more than a sensation of the body.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to ward off lust, but rather mental dullness. And in that respect I was successful: this contemplation was effective.

Hope everyone else had a good night.

Good night.
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 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:59 am

I haven't been meditating...Any tips on self-discipline?
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 dhamma_newb » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:06 am

Guy wrote:I haven't been meditating...Any tips on self-discipline?


Hi Guy,

Do you know anyone else who meditates? If you do you could ask that person or group of people to be your meditation partner(s) and just send each other a quick email every day letting the other person/people know you did your daily meditation and maybe even include some of the experiences and difficulties you are having during meditation. It's like having an exercise partner. Another good tip is to start off with a short meditation time, even 10-20 minutes at first is better than nothing, and work your way up from there.

With Metta,
Don
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:16 pm

Hi Dhammanewb,

dhamma_newb wrote:
Guy wrote:I haven't been meditating...Any tips on self-discipline?


Hi Guy,

Do you know anyone else who meditates? If you do you could ask that person or group of people to be your meditation partner(s) and just send each other a quick email every day letting the other person/people know you did your daily meditation and maybe even include some of the experiences and difficulties you are having during meditation. It's like having an exercise partner. Another good tip is to start off with a short meditation time, even 10-20 minutes at first is better than nothing, and work your way up from there.

With Metta,
Don


If anything I have it too easy!

As the librarian at Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre, I have easy access to Ajahn Brahm and other great meditators, so, it is not for lack of Kalyana Mitta's that I do not meditate (as often as I might desire)...

However, I will take you up on the 10-20 minutes daily idea...will let you know how it goes. Perhaps I can set the timer for 10 minutes and go for longer if I want to.

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 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:48 am

Well, that was the easiest hour to date. I've gotten more exercise today, as well as a high calorie intake (2800 cal) over the course of the day (as a part of improving my health, and appearance too - not very dhammic, but its been on going since mid October).

Tomorrow will have no exercise and a much lower calorie intake. Will there be a difference in mediation? Will the difference be attributable to these factors? Time will tell.

The actual meditation unfolded simply enough: count each in and out, in order to arrive. Count out breaths, feel in breaths. Body starts to come into view, I calm my breathing while not losing either the breath nor the body. Gradually the mind also begins to relax, and the experience in pleasant. I then turned my attention to the sense of stillness and pleasure.

Eventually that experience begins to break up, and I find my legs are starting to go to sleep. I recall to mind the 32 parts of the body, and go through the body trying to sense each - that is, I just recall that my body contains each.

Then I stood up and walked for 10 minutes, sat, and thought good thoughts about the various people I've run across today.

What will tomorrow be like? ????

: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 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:55 am

Guy wrote:I haven't been meditating...Any tips on self-discipline?


I've notice that habits form when we're busy chasing pleasure, or avoiding pain.

To actually set out to form a habit seems an alien concept to me, because a habit for habit sakes neglects to mention just what will be gained when said habit it realized.

So, perhaps you should think about what kind of pleasure you might obtain by meditating. Perhaps you can envision yourself avoiding some kind of displeasure? Unless you've conceived some reward which motivates you, you'll struggle.

For some, the idea that they will be great Buddhist practitioners is enough to motivate them. Others wish to obtain psychic skill.

Until you know what will really motivate you, I suggest you commit to 15 minutes or so each day this month, and then post here about your success and failure. If you agree to do so, I promise to give you a hard time when ever you neglect to post.

:hug:
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 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:24 pm

thereductor wrote:Until you know what will really motivate you, I suggest you commit to 15 minutes or so each day this month, and then post here about your success and failure. If you agree to do so, I promise to give you a hard time when ever you neglect to post.


hahahaha fiiiiine...
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 Apr 11, 2012 4:33 am

Guy wrote:
thereductor wrote:Until you know what will really motivate you, I suggest you commit to 15 minutes or so each day this month, and then post here about your success and failure. If you agree to do so, I promise to give you a hard time when ever you neglect to post.


hahahaha fiiiiine...


You are committing yourself? If so, then a clear statement of intent is in order, otherwise I might harass you needlessly. ;)
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 Apr 11, 2012 7:26 am

Tonight my wife was up late and sat in the living room where I normally meditate. When she'd finally went to bed I had become preoccupied with some reading on the internet, and delayed my sitting. So, I after coming to notice that the time was 12:40, I organized myself for a half hour instead of an hour.

Strangely my mind was quiet and seemed free of drowsiness, yet it also seemed to inert to be of much use. I walked a little, and then recalled the 32 parts to mind. During my second iteration of that list, my timer went off, which made it dreadfully hard to complete the list. It seemed so soon, too.

I'm not satisfied at my dalliance tonight.

Peace to everyone.
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 Apr 11, 2012 8:07 am

thereductor wrote:
Guy wrote:
thereductor wrote:Until you know what will really motivate you, I suggest you commit to 15 minutes or so each day this month, and then post here about your success and failure. If you agree to do so, I promise to give you a hard time when ever you neglect to post.


hahahaha fiiiiine...


You are committing yourself? If so, then a clear statement of intent is in order, otherwise I might harass you needlessly. ;)


If you are still offering me a way out of committing to this commitment (did I mention I am a commitment-phobe?), then I will take that offer!

My ego is an eel-wriggler, for sure.
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 Apr 11, 2012 8:14 am

Hi Reductor and All,

I know my personality somewhat well (though it is still subject to the law of impermanence) and I know it can be a stubborn ass at times. But at least it is not an impossible stubborn ass. In other words, it will take me a while, after initiating a wholesome intention (and even making a wholesome vow based on that intention) to undertake the desired course of wholesome action.

Bad habits, on the other hand, I am not so stubborn when it comes to forming those!!!

But, like I said, I know I am not impossible, just like a very heavy boulder that is sitting at the top of a mountain just waiting for the right conditions to start it rolling. Just a matter of time before my meditation starts rolling again, I believe. I appreciate the push though (which I asked for), thanks!

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 Apr 12, 2012 7:12 am

:lol:

I'll stand here and blow in your direction, Mr. Boulder, although you shan't feel my influence. And when you begin rolling, I shall then take ALL THE CREDIT! Yea! :rofl:

On another note, I've done tonight's hour. The sitting portion of my session is becoming longer and longer.

Good night to everyone.

: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 Ben » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:29 am

Well done, mate!
"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


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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:51 pm

thereductor wrote:I'll stand here and blow in your direction, Mr. Boulder, although you shan't feel my influence. And when you begin rolling, I shall then take ALL THE CREDIT! Yea! :rofl:


Yeah, you have played your part, you deserve some of the credit, for sure. :)
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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