Help letting go

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Help letting go

Postby JackV » Sun May 27, 2012 11:13 am

Hello.

I just wondered if anyone had any useful tips or practical advice on letting go of thoughts and feelings etc. during meditation?

The reason I just ask is probably just because I'm going through one of those periods of unsettled midstates. Usually my ability to let go of something and return to my base object is alright, but during these times I find that I'm not noticing that I'm actually in another thought train and being beset by images and words and thoughts. Every time I notice this and attempt to let go simply results in my returning to the noisy meaningless rubbish of the mind.

I understand that there is probably nothing that can be done other than practicing to know this better and accept these times for what they are, and my aversion to them is diminishing, however I'm not fully there just yet ^_^
When I have spent the last 45mins vainly trying to clear aside layers of mental Flotsam and stay for a moment in the present it still does feel annoying.

Thanks
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Re: Help letting go

Postby Dan74 » Sun May 27, 2012 11:22 am

What I do at times like these is just let it be. Slowly equanimity naturally develops around these thoughts. It might take half an hour in the cushion. It might take an hour. It might not happen at all in the first sit. But gradually disengaging from feeding these thoughts and just letting them come and pass is a great learning experience that can be translated into the off-the-cushion life as well.

Then they gradually settle down. They are not you. They just have their momentum and once you stop feeding them, they will run out of energy and fade.

On the other hand, sometimes there are things that need looking after. It could be a matter of sila or some other responsibility, or psychological issue and they can press for attention for quite a while until they get a proper look.

Depends.

Just a few bits and bobs from my very limited experience.
Last edited by Dan74 on Sun May 27, 2012 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_
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Re: Help letting go

Postby befriend » Sun May 27, 2012 11:40 am

practice some samatha technique that will stabilize the mind beforehand. or exercise beforehand. apparently after people exercise there meditations are incredibly more fruitful.
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Re: Help letting go

Postby hanzze_ » Sun May 27, 2012 12:18 pm

Have you ever tried just to label them when they come into mind? The go by them selves, while something different might come up (to your present sensitivity) and in between back on the main object.
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Re: Help letting go

Postby JackV » Sun May 27, 2012 2:50 pm

befriend wrote:practice some samatha technique that will stabilize the mind beforehand. or exercise beforehand. apparently after people exercise there meditations are incredibly more fruitful.


The basis for the practice is Samatha. This is the issue; not being able to stay with the breath (or any focus) for any length of time before slipping off into dreams.

It's probably just tiredness. I go through stages: a month or two of very productive and bright practice and then these times.

Thanks
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Re: Help letting go

Postby befriend » Sun May 27, 2012 3:05 pm

alright then count the breath up to ten. that is what is taught to stop daydreaming.
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Re: Help letting go

Postby marc108 » Sun May 27, 2012 8:07 pm

Ajahn Sucitto has some really useful advice on this in his meditation manual, pages 47-80:
http://forestsanghapublications.org/vie ... 12&ref=vec

When you notice that your attention has drifted (or leapt) off, wait in the
acknowledgement of that for a moment. Don’t react; just give the mind a
moment to fully note the feel of that drift or spin, and the feel of the clear
acknowledgement. Then, as you feel clarity return, ask: ‘Where is my
breathing right now?’ In this way you bring the breathing to mind. Wait
for the next exhalation, and as it comes, breathe out the agitated or
constricted energy of the hindrance.
If you feel sleepy or low in energy,
wait for the in-breath andmeet that, letting go of the dullness. Then wait
for the next inhalation and be with that.

The mind will get agitated from time to time, but make the practice one
of relating to the busy or wandering mind with sympathy. Rather than
control the mind, or follow or speculate over its moods, keep patiently
returning to the breathing with: ‘Where is the breathing right now?’Wait
for it, meet it and relax with the out-breath. Let the breathing moderate
the mind.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Help letting go

Postby JackV » Tue May 29, 2012 4:01 pm

marc108 wrote:Ajahn Sucitto has some really useful advice on this in his meditation manual, pages 47-80:
http://forestsanghapublications.org/vie ... 12&ref=vec

When you notice that your attention has drifted (or leapt) off, wait in the
acknowledgement of that for a moment. Don’t react; just give the mind a
moment to fully note the feel of that drift or spin, and the feel of the clear
acknowledgement. Then, as you feel clarity return, ask: ‘Where is my
breathing right now?’ In this way you bring the breathing to mind. Wait
for the next exhalation, and as it comes, breathe out the agitated or
constricted energy of the hindrance.
If you feel sleepy or low in energy,
wait for the in-breath andmeet that, letting go of the dullness. Then wait
for the next inhalation and be with that.

The mind will get agitated from time to time, but make the practice one
of relating to the busy or wandering mind with sympathy. Rather than
control the mind, or follow or speculate over its moods, keep patiently
returning to the breathing with: ‘Where is the breathing right now?’Wait
for it, meet it and relax with the out-breath. Let the breathing moderate
the mind.


Yeah, this is the process that I usually try. I actually spoke to Ajahn Succito about this and he said essentially the same thing.
After I come back from the monastery I keep the practice for a few months then as work becomes more exhausting it begins to slip. It's just that constant practice to keep it going and re-learning it form the top every time.

Like I said on my post I know it's just a stage and I will be through it. My aversion to these times has diminished a great deal thanks to the Ven. Ajahn and the tradition as a wholes methods/views etc but still...i'm not quite there yet ^-^

Oh well. Onwards and upwards! Thank you everyone.

Peace and blessings.
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captains swore grand conquest
Tall grasses their monument.
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Re: Help letting go

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 29, 2012 11:42 pm

Greetings Jack,

JackV wrote:I just wondered if anyone had any useful tips or practical advice on letting go of thoughts and feelings etc. during meditation?

The Buddha had this advice...

MN 20: Vitakkasanthana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Help letting go

Postby manas » Wed May 30, 2012 12:49 am

Hi Jack,

I've come to the humbling realization that training the mind needs to be done constantly, not just when we sit in meditation. If, throughout the day and amidst the manifold duties that Lay life requires of us, you can regularly 'check in' with the mind, and examine it, asking: "Where is my mind right now? Am I just with my current task, or are there other trains of thought taking place, also? Do I need to be thinking so much, whilst doing an ordinary task? Could I maybe just wash the dishes, focussing on just getting them done nicely, instead of letting my aversion to the mundaneness of this task make me daydream, not really here, nor really there either, but in a kind of dull stupor?" ...and so on. It's an acquired skill. But here's the good bit...I am finding that, the more I can train the mind in this way throughout daily life, the better is 'behaves' during sitting meditation. If throughout that day you kept placing awareness back into where you are, and on what you are doing, then ime sati-sampajanna has already been getting a decent 'warm-up' so that, when it does come time to sit, you are not having to drag the mind out from the mud of a dull restlessness, into the brightness of alertness all at once, but are already somewhat alert. The mind will do what it has been trained to do, imhe. But it's a long-term process, and not only consistent effort, but patience will be needed.

That's my current understanding of this issue, and my current challenge, also. Hope it adds something of value to the good advice already given.

_/I\_
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Re: Help letting go

Postby marc108 » Wed May 30, 2012 5:07 am

is whats coming up related to a specific thing or is it just random noise?
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Help letting go

Postby JackV » Thu May 31, 2012 7:47 pm

marc108 wrote:is whats coming up related to a specific thing or is it just random noise?


marc108 wrote:is whats coming up related to a specific thing or is it just random noise?


Yeah it's just the mind doing it's thing. When tired it's a lot less focused and liable to slip into all types of meaningless rubbish. For instance I will have thoughts, images, feelings etc fleetingly appear. Most of the stuff is super random, I mean really weird. Noticing that I am off elsewhere the "feeling" to the ask where the breath is now can suddenly mutate into a odd daydream or another feeling, or an image of a pink tiger walking along!

It genuinely is just tiredness. I have come to see that when the conditions are as such (tiredness) this is the mindstate / result. I have come to know my mind a lot better now and know how it is so I don't take it so personally. The issue is just that this slip can come so quickly off other more valuable tthoughts or feelings that I can't see the seams attaching them to it.

In regards to some of the other replies here about training being an ongoing thing aside from the cushion I agree totally and I do not have a dichotomy in my practice. I try to have a ongoing awareness and investigative attitude.

Meh. I don't post too much here simply cos I know whatever issue I have the best thing to do is be patient and work through it, see how it changes. Obviously at points though we all get to that point where it feels too much and becomes real agrivating. Just another feature of tirdness and the cognitive disfunction it causes.

Dhamma everywhere! :)
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