johnny wrote: mikenz66 wrote:
johnny wrote:i know! samatha is so close to sleep! if i'm at all tired i go out instantly.
If you're falling asleep it's not likely to be right samadhi, but the hindrance of sloth-and-topor.
if you know how to fix this please let me know. and just too be clear, i've tried everything within reason. i get very calm and focused on my breath and then i start too drift into a dreamy early stage of sleep kind of state. this kind of thing would make a secular person laugh. i'm getting myself very relaxed and focused on only my breath with very little thoughts arising and i wonder why i'm falling asleep.
however sometimes i'm able to remain entirely alert, enter access no problem, and then jhana (shakily, and not for long, but nonetheless, i get there), totally awake, not a trace of sloth and torpor. but this sloth and torpor thing has been a serious problem for my meditation. nothing i have tried has worked even a little. i exercise, i eat reasonably well, i get enough sleep, i've tried all of the tips the buddha gave maha mogallana in the "nodding" sutta, i've tried all the tips given too me by random other meditators. it's like a joke seriously, i have no idea how others stay awake no problem. but then again i've heard of veteran monks/nuns falling asleep in the meditation hall so it's obviously not just me.
are there any theravada monastics on here that could advise me?
I discussed some peripheral things here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=11240http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 20#p102254
As you'll find in numerous instructions, such problems are often to do with balancing the faculties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indriya
1. faith or conviction or belief (saddhā)
2. energy or persistence or perseverance (viriya)
3. mindfulness or memory (sati)
4. concentration or focus (samādhi)
5. wisdom or understanding or comprehension (pañña).
You can never have too much mindfulness. It's the key to balancing the others. The other four can be thought of as pairs that need to be balanced (faith/wisdom), (energy/concentration). In the meditative context it's the energy/concentration balance that can cause difficulties. If there is too much energy without enough concentration you get restlessness, too much concentration without energy you can get drowsy. So whatever techniques you've learned to increase mindfulness and energy, apply those. A fairly universal one is walking or standing meditation. There are others that are specific to particular approaches. For the Mahasi-style approach I mostly use, increasing the rate of noting can help to rouse energy. In general terms, it's to do with increasing the interest of the mind in the object ("Is the breath short or long?" etc is one way that "rousing interest" is discussed in various suttas).
Here are some comments from Ajahn Brahm, Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond, Page 40.
Dullness in meditation is the result of a tired mind, usually one that
has been overworking. Fighting that dullness makes you even more
exhausted. Resting allows the energy to return to the mind. To under-
stand this process, I will now introduce the two halves of the mind: the
knower and the doer. The knower is the passive half of the mind that sim-
ply receives information. The doer is the active half that responds with
evaluating, thinking, and controlling. The knower and the doer share the
same source of mental energy. Thus, when you are doing a lot, when
you have a busy lifestyle and are struggling to get on, the doer consumes
most of your mental energy, leaving only a pittance for the knower.
When the knower is starved of mental energy you experience dullness.
The most profound and effective way to overcome sloth and torpor
is to stop fighting your mind. Stop trying to change things and instead
let things be. Make peace not war with sloth and torpor. Then your
mental energy will be freed to flow into the knower, and your sloth and
torpor will naturally disappear.
Giving Value to Awareness
Another method for overcoming sloth and torpor is to give more value
to awareness. All Buddhist traditions say that human life is valuable and
precious, especially a life like this one where you have encountered the
Buddha’s teachings. Now you have the opportunity to practice.You may
not realize how many lifetimes it has taken and how much merit you’ve
had to accumulate just to get where you are now. You’ve invested life-
times of good karma to get this close to the Dhamma. Reflecting like
this means you will incline less to sloth and torpor and more to bright
The path of meditation sometimes comes to a fork in the road. The
left path leads to sloth and torpor while the right path leads to bright
awareness. With experience you will recognize this fork. This is the point
in meditation where you can choose between the alley to sloth and tor-
por or the highway to mindful stillness. Taking the left path you give up
both the doer and the knower. Taking the right path you let go of the
doer but keep the knower. When you value awareness you will auto-
matically choose the right path of bright awareness.