a vicious cycle

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a vicious cycle

Postby alan... » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:53 pm

so i meditate a lot, am very mindful and study the dhamma. things become wonderful, i see through reality bit by bit and make great progress. then one of two things happen (or both, i'm really not sure):

1. i feel so good i slack off in practice and therefore go back to largely fluctuating emotions and what not. "i'm nearly accomplished in the dhamma! i don't even need to meditate or chant my sutta and be super mindful today!"

Image

2. i'm on some kind of cycle based on what chemicals my brain is producing. like i produce a ton of serotonin for three weeks then not near enough for two weeks and then a ton again and so on.

i'm thinking number one is more likely as my eating and sleeping habits vary greatly and the cycle is inconsistent. i tried tracking it but it doesn't follow a precise pattern. if it was related to brain chemicals then diet and sleeping habits would affect it directly. so i'm thinking it's just right effort slacking off. if i can do better on that step it should fix itself.

thoughts?
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:14 pm

it is not uncommon to become slack when practising. We have all done it, overestimated... then reality slaps us in the face.

There is a reason mindfulness of death is a protective meditation.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:22 pm

I practice in a daily fashion, such that this breath or that breath occurs in an environment of satisampajanna, or not. This fluctuates all the time, but such is bhavana. There are seated occasions where I approach satipatthana in a more thoroughly structured & composed manner, but overall the practice is one of fluctuations.

Wholesome states are to be trained in; they only start getting locked in at stream-entry, and even then unwholesome states yet comprise half of what right effort deals with.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby Ben » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:14 pm

Greetings Alan,
Try to understand that what you are doing is swimming against the tide of samsara and your own internal conditionings and habituated responses. It takes time and it takes the right type of effort for your Dhamma practice to mature and be something that is sustainable.
Look at adjusting your lifestyle to make it more conducive to practice. It can be as simple as adjusting your schedule so you have some time in the early morning and evening to devote to practice every day.
Try and shed your expectations of what practice should be like. Sometimes its pleasant but a lot of the time one or more difficulties will arise. It could be sloth and torpor, boredom, pain, anxiety or whatever. Craving for bliss or this or that meditative state is actually worse than counter productive.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby alan... » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:37 am

Ben wrote:Greetings Alan,
Try to understand that what you are doing is swimming against the tide of samsara and your own internal conditionings and habituated responses. It takes time and it takes the right type of effort for your Dhamma practice to mature and be something that is sustainable.
Look at adjusting your lifestyle to make it more conducive to practice. It can be as simple as adjusting your schedule so you have some time in the early morning and evening to devote to practice every day.
Try and shed your expectations of what practice should be like. Sometimes its pleasant but a lot of the time one or more difficulties will arise. It could be sloth and torpor, boredom, pain, anxiety or whatever. Craving for bliss or this or that meditative state is actually worse than counter productive.
kind regards,

Ben


:goodpost:

specifically this is a challenge to overcome and understand deeply:

Ben wrote:Craving for bliss or this or that meditative state is actually worse than counter productive.
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby alan... » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:11 am

Cittasanto wrote:it is not uncommon to become slack when practising. We have all done it, overestimated... then reality slaps us in the face.


indeed, thanks for reassuring me i'm not alone.

Cittasanto wrote:There is a reason mindfulness of death is a protective meditation.


that's profound and a very good point in relation to this issue!!!

hey also how does one practice mindfulness of death? as in satipatthana or are you talking about a practice for at the time of death? or something else?
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:35 am

you could use a mantra (my favourite) but essentially it is a specialised reflection on impermanence.
all that is mine beloved and pleasing will become otherwise, will become separated from me.

This reflection on impermanence when associated to death and our sense of self, and specifically what you loose with death if very benefiscial.
any thought of attainment or of being OK to slack off a little should essentially be called a lie, recognising it is not a sure thing. and a remembering of the slippery slope nature of a lack of diligence with practice.

but there is also the reflectins advised here!
AN 6.20 wrote:"Further, there is the case where a monk, as night departs and day returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm... piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskilled mental qualities not abandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die during the day?' If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskilled mental qualities not abandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavour, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskilled qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavour, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavour, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskilled qualities. But if, on reflecting, he realizes that there are no evil, unskilled mental qualities not abandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then for that very reason he should dwell in joy & rapture, training himself day & night in skilful qualities.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:46 am

Cittasanto wrote:you could use a mantra (my favourite) but essentially it is a specialised reflection on impermanence.
all that is mine beloved and pleasing will become otherwise, will become separated from me.

This reflection on impermanence when associated to death and our sense of self, and specifically what you loose with death if very benefiscial.
any thought of attainment or of being OK to slack off a little should essentially be called a lie, recognising it is not a sure thing. and a remembering of the slippery slope nature of a lack of diligence with practice.

but there is also the reflectins advised here!
AN 6.20 wrote:"Further, there is the case where a monk, as night departs and day returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm... piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskilled mental qualities not abandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die during the day?' If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskilled mental qualities not abandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavour, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskilled qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavour, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavour, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskilled qualities. But if, on reflecting, he realizes that there are no evil, unskilled mental qualities not abandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then for that very reason he should dwell in joy & rapture, training himself day & night in skilful qualities.


thanks much!

[quote="Cittasanto"any thought of attainment or of being OK to slack off a little should essentially be called a lie[/quote]

well said!!! even the buddha continued to meditate after reaching nibbana! so if he couldn't slack off and needed to maintain his ultimate and unsurpassed realization how absurd would it be for us to fail to do the same with our realizations?
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:46 am

alan... wrote:[quote="Cittasanto"any thought of attainment or of being OK to slack off a little should essentially be called a lie


well said!!! even the buddha continued to meditate after reaching nibbana! so if he couldn't slack off and needed to maintain his ultimate and unsurpassed realization how absurd would it be for us to fail to do the same with our realizations?[/quote]
The Buddha didn't he continued as an inspiration for others and as it was better than not. Jhana is after all a pleasant abiding in the here and now after all.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:59 am

Cittasanto wrote:
alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:any thought of attainment or of being OK to slack off a little should essentially be called a lie


well said!!! even the buddha continued to meditate after reaching nibbana! so if he couldn't slack off and needed to maintain his ultimate and unsurpassed realization how absurd would it be for us to fail to do the same with our realizations?

The Buddha didn't he continued as an inspiration for others and as it was better than not. Jhana is after all a pleasant abiding in the here and now after all.



are you sure? he does an awful lot of "walking back and forth". especially when alone. why would he do this if not for practice? also bhante g quotes a conversation where the buddha says he still practices anapanasati. aside from the fact that he frequently practiced alone, how do you know the buddha's motivations for continuing to practice? is there a sutta where he flat out says that the only reason he practices is "as an inspiration for others"?

if it's "better than not" that means practicing was better for him than not practicing which leans towards practice continually benefiting him even after enlightenment which is my original point.
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:46 am

alan... wrote:are you sure? he does an awful lot of "walking back and forth". especially when alone. why would he do this if not for practice?

calling it practice then assuming he is practicing is like calling the universe creation then assuming a creator.
like I pointed out he continued to be an inspiration and to do so was better than not.

also bhante g quotes a conversation where the buddha says he still practices anapanasati. aside from the fact that he frequently practiced alone, how do you know the buddha's motivations for continuing to practice? is there a sutta where he flat out says that the only reason he practices is "as an inspiration for others"?

if it's "better than not" that means practicing was better for him than not practicing which leans towards practice continually benefiting him even after enlightenment which is my original point.

this would fall down to what I said about the range of words meaning when translated into english earlier. in this case practice would mean partaking in the activity rather than developing or anything. a brick layer doesn't continue to lay bricks after his training to practice laying bricks but to be a brick layer. the Buddha was the Buddha he didn't cease to engage in the activities after he finished the job.
but to quote an example
Jina Sutta wrote:"Lord, I see two compelling reasons that for a long time I have lived in the wilderness and have extolled living in the wilderness... that I have kept my persistence aroused and have extolled having persistence aroused: seeing a pleasant abiding for myself in the here & now, and feeling sympathy for later generations: 'Perhaps later generations will take it as an example: "It seems that the disciples of the Awakened One and those who awakened after him lived for a long time in the wilderness and extolled living in the wilderness; were almsgoers and extolled being almsgoers; wore cast off rags and extolled wearing cast off rags; wore only one set of the triple robe and extolled wearing only one set of the triple robe; were modest and extolled being modest; were content and extolled being content; were reclusive and extolled being reclusive; were unentangled and extolled being unentangled; kept their persistence aroused and extolled having persistence aroused."'"

"Good, Kassapa. Very good. It seems that you are one who practices for the happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, & happiness of beings human & divine. So continue wearing your robes of cast off hemp cloth, go for alms, and live in the wilderness."


MN8 wrote:4. "It may be, Cunda, that some monk, detached from sense-objects, detached from unsalutary ideas, enters into the first absorption that is born of detachment, accompanied by thought-conception and discursive thinking, and filled with rapture and joy, and he then might think: 'I am abiding in effacement.' But in the Noble One's discipline it is not these [attainments] that are called 'effacement'; in the Noble One's discipline they are called 'abidings in ease here and now.'

something being benefiscial and something being needed are not the same thing.
if I go to a physiotherapist and find having a massage benefiscial there yet I also find it good for other reasons to continue getting a massage elsewhere with a masseus not a physio would not be for the same reasons. I no longer need to maintain the treatment a physio gives, yet to continue would also be pleasant.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: a vicious cycle

Postby alan... » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:45 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
alan... wrote:are you sure? he does an awful lot of "walking back and forth". especially when alone. why would he do this if not for practice?

calling it practice then assuming he is practicing is like calling the universe creation then assuming a creator.
like I pointed out he continued to be an inspiration and to do so was better than not.

also bhante g quotes a conversation where the buddha says he still practices anapanasati. aside from the fact that he frequently practiced alone, how do you know the buddha's motivations for continuing to practice? is there a sutta where he flat out says that the only reason he practices is "as an inspiration for others"?

if it's "better than not" that means practicing was better for him than not practicing which leans towards practice continually benefiting him even after enlightenment which is my original point.

this would fall down to what I said about the range of words meaning when translated into english earlier. in this case practice would mean partaking in the activity rather than developing or anything. a brick layer doesn't continue to lay bricks after his training to practice laying bricks but to be a brick layer. the Buddha was the Buddha he didn't cease to engage in the activities after he finished the job.
but to quote an example
Jina Sutta wrote:"Lord, I see two compelling reasons that for a long time I have lived in the wilderness and have extolled living in the wilderness... that I have kept my persistence aroused and have extolled having persistence aroused: seeing a pleasant abiding for myself in the here & now, and feeling sympathy for later generations: 'Perhaps later generations will take it as an example: "It seems that the disciples of the Awakened One and those who awakened after him lived for a long time in the wilderness and extolled living in the wilderness; were almsgoers and extolled being almsgoers; wore cast off rags and extolled wearing cast off rags; wore only one set of the triple robe and extolled wearing only one set of the triple robe; were modest and extolled being modest; were content and extolled being content; were reclusive and extolled being reclusive; were unentangled and extolled being unentangled; kept their persistence aroused and extolled having persistence aroused."'"

"Good, Kassapa. Very good. It seems that you are one who practices for the happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, & happiness of beings human & divine. So continue wearing your robes of cast off hemp cloth, go for alms, and live in the wilderness."


MN8 wrote:4. "It may be, Cunda, that some monk, detached from sense-objects, detached from unsalutary ideas, enters into the first absorption that is born of detachment, accompanied by thought-conception and discursive thinking, and filled with rapture and joy, and he then might think: 'I am abiding in effacement.' But in the Noble One's discipline it is not these [attainments] that are called 'effacement'; in the Noble One's discipline they are called 'abidings in ease here and now.'

something being benefiscial and something being needed are not the same thing.
if I go to a physiotherapist and find having a massage benefiscial there yet I also find it good for other reasons to continue getting a massage elsewhere with a masseus not a physio would not be for the same reasons. I no longer need to maintain the treatment a physio gives, yet to continue would also be pleasant.


fair enough.
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