General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
What was your initial experience with meditation? Was it something you quickly picked up or did you struggle with it? How is your experience with it now? Better, same or worse?
For me I always struggled, but recently my meditation has gotten better. It's something I enjoy now, but I still have plenty of more practice ahead of me...but at least I'm start to see the first taste of the real benefit of meditation. For that I'm grateful. My recommendation to anyone struggling is to just keep at it. That's the advice people gave me here and I'm happy I did.
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I struggled with it for quite a while. At first, I was so determined to get something from it. I had to control my breathing, do it perfectly. I wanted to be in control of everything still. This held me back for months. I almost got frustrated and gave up on it, since I wanted results and I wasn't seeing them, and it took a lot of energy to control everything. I still felt like I was doing it wrong. The very last time I ever planned to meditate is what saved me. I was feeling bummed out about it, and I decided to stop caring. I just sat there and breathed, and I had a miniature epiphany of sorts. I had read somewhere that meditation was just watching the breath. So I stopped trying to control everything and just let it go and watched. And then I had a new problem. Excitement over the feelings doing that brought.
So I guess it took me a while to stop clinging to things which hindered me, and I still struggle with problems a lot of the time, but I've learned to relax and enjoy the process itself, so it's not as much of a struggle these days.
for helpful articles on meditation.
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When I was a teenager I developed a form of meditation which is eerily very similar to what I have been practicing for the better part of three decades.
In my early 20s I 'studied' under a very charismatic aikido teacher and his form of aikido had a very spiritual bent. It included some form of meditation that was a glorified regulated breathing exercise and never lasted for more than a couple of minutes. When I was 22, I attended my first residential retreat and learned anapana (samatha variation), vedanapassana (observation of anicca characteristic of sensation) and metta bhavana. That first retreat was extremely difficult but was a life-altering event.
I think part of the issue is that we mistakenly believe that meditation is easy, relaxing and very pleasant. My experience has been that meditation can be difficult, challenging, unpleasant as it can also be extremely pleasant, dull and boring. When one is actively engaged in mastering the monkey mind by keeping the attention fixed on a singular object for long periods of time and engaged in an activity that pauses the habitual response of craving and aversion to sense impression, then it is only natural that it will be difficult from time to time.
As I mentioned to one member yesterday, with regards to spiritual practice, I have found some comfort in the old samurai adage of "expect nothing but be ready for anything". And to always keep in mind that whatever arises also has the nature to pass away. Everything that arises, sooner or later passes away.
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Before i do it because i have to do it.
Now i do it because i like to do it. Now its my drug. Calm is my drug.
There is a sutta, i lost which one and recite on memory, when Buddha said that:
There is the ones who have practice easily and attain fruition easily.
There is the ones who have practice with difficulty but attain fruition easily.
There is the ones who have practice easily but attain fruition with difficulty.
There is the ones who have practice with difficulty and attain fruition with difficulty.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Its the most difficult, rewarding and important thing i have done in my life. The first few years especially were a struggle for me. Really torturous.
I dont think everyone has as tough a time as i did though. In the beginning i shied away from making a sincere, wholehearted commitment. Also I have a hard time letting go of anger and pride.
I think that its a case of the faster you surrender the sooner you win
Its much better now, calmer. I often look forward to it and its the first thing i do when i get up everyday.
I wouldnt want to have to get along without it.
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to
the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his
-- H.L. Mencken, "Minority Report"
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