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Meditation going off the rails - Dhamma Wheel

Meditation going off the rails

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Meditation going off the rails

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:23 pm

Hello there, allow me to share a little bit of background. I've been meditating for maybe a year now, and although I'm certainly no master, I am at a comfortable level that I know well; I haven't experienced a huge amount of progress in the last couple months, but there has a definite improving of concentration, insight, etc. over time.

However, just in the last week or so, my concentration has just completely left me. I mean gone. I have no idea what has happened, but my last ten or so meditation sessions have been me just struggling to even keep my mind on one breath. My thoughts seem plagued by nonsensical tangents and bizarre interior vocalizations and distractions. Although, as I said, I was never a master, I certainly know that I have gone downhill in my practice recently.

I cannot locate any change in my life or practice that would have led to this. Can anyone offer some suggestions or clarification about the possible causes of a derailment of the meditation practice? I've made the confusion my meditation object and contemplated its impermanence and the evidence it presents for non-self, etc. but it's still quite the roadblock. Any advice, tips, or possible things I may be doing to bring this about?

Thanks for your help!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


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Goofaholix
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Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Meditation going off the rails

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:36 pm

So you say you've been meditating for a year now and the past week is the only time things have gone to custard to the degree you're talking about?

I'd say you are doing marvellously well, or possibly it's been like this a lot and it's just your awareness has been too dull to pick it up.

It's pretty normal for people to go through phases like this, this is where you've got the most opportunity to learn, it's the uphill battles where you strengthen your muscles.

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Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Meditation going off the rails

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:47 pm

I second what Goof has said.
Its a mistake to conflate progress with pleasant and easy meditative sessions as is attachment or craving for particular experiences.
Just keep on going. If you have the time and inclination - a residential meditation retreat will be of benefit.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Meditation going off the rails

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:16 pm

I'm actually going on a Goekna one soon. Should I postpone my meditation for the next few days until I leave in order to start with a fresh approach, or should I keep trying until the day I head out? It's not so much a motivation issue but I'm afraid that just pushing ahead will leave me a bit worn out for the start of the retreat. Advice? Ben, you seem to be a Goenka-ite. I'd appreciate knowing your opinion on the matter.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta


User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Meditation going off the rails

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:24 pm

Hi LY,
Just continue with your daily practice until you go on retreat. Then when on retreat just practice as instructed.
I wish you all the very best with your ten-day course. And if you have any questions or concerns you are welcome to contact me via pm.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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icyteru
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 1:11 am
Contact:

Re: Meditation going off the rails

Postby icyteru » Tue May 08, 2012 2:35 pm

what are the thoughts that appear in your meditation? try avoid that in life.
and don't talk to thought. that is its food.
The most complete english tipitaka on the internet world.

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Cittasanto
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Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: Meditation going off the rails

Postby Cittasanto » Tue May 08, 2012 4:13 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.


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