Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

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Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

Postby Awarewolf » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:59 pm

If I simply think an answer to this, I would say you be yourself, but with an added aspect of mental focus on objects. I think the stuff I read from Tejaniya made even formal practice seem like just awareness of being yourself. He actually comments on this specifically, saying if focus on one object puts too much strain on you, it is okay to go with the flow and hold awareness on whatever arises. But would you guys consider this formal practice?

During my daily life I've worked through bad anxiety by being myself, trying to act as I naturally am. This works nicely, life can flow this way. But when it's time to sit down, should I put this mentality in the back of my mind, for concentration development on an object? (nostrils, sounds, touch points, etc.) I don't find that this can stress me out, staying with one object, but in daily life this obviously does for me.

So what do you think? Go with the flow, focus on an object, or a combo of both? I find near the beginning I have to let my mind go with the flow as it partially begins to fixate on an object, then later into the time spent sitting I've better managed to stay on the object without anything feeling unnatural.

Any comments would be great, thank you!
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Re: Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

Postby Ben » Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:40 am

The question to ask is what does "being yourself" actually mean?
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Re: Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:51 am

I don't know what you mean by "being yourself" in the context of your question which I understand to be about whether you should focus on one object or be open to all objects.

When we focus on one object it can be tiring because when we hear words like concentrate and focus we think we have to strive when really it's about resting the mind and allowing it to collect and unify.

You just need to try and feel what works, if the mind is all over the place then rest the mind on one object for a wile, if you find you get tense then expand to include all objects that arise within awareness.

The mind is naturally designed to be aware, it isn't at times because of the defilements, you just need to recognise the process of awareness operating and when defilements are operating.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

Postby Dewgong » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:21 pm

I'm not exactly qualified to answer this question, but from my own layman's view it seems like when you sit formally your mind naturally settles down. Based on what I've read (I'm going off of memory here so forgive my lack of citations) this is a good thing. Your mind is starting as a glass of agitated water and you are allowing it to settle into it's natural state of calmness where fixing on one point is easier. It makes sense to me that during regular life it is better to let things flow because your glass of water is being moved around with no real opportunity to settle on one point. Because your mind will inevitably flow from one point to another then accept that and watch where it goes. I see all of this as being yourself. It is watching yourself in life and watching what happens to yourself when you sit for an extended time with minimal distractions, it is watching the water settle.
Again, take my view with a grain of sand, but I hope I've given some perspective on the subject.

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Re: Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

Postby reflection » Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:44 pm

Whatever brings peace, that's the thing you should do. At times just go with the flow, because fighting the current only makes you tired and restless. At other times, the mind is dullish and it may be better to fix it onto a point. However, at those moments you can still be yourself, because the fixation should ideally not come from force, but also from the same 'going with the flow'.

This is how it works for me, anyways.
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Re: Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

Postby convivium » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:54 am

being oneself is a continuation of formal practice and formal practice is a continuation of being oneself i.e. formal practice a profoundly natural continuity of daily life. getting caught up in interested distinctions is not part of formal practice at the higher level. that's the zen way of approaching it, which is compatible with theravada as far as i know. edit: profoundly natural does not mean ordinary
Last edited by convivium on Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

Postby danieLion » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:57 am

Ben wrote:The question to ask is what does "being yourself" actually mean?
Kind regards
Ben

Hi Ben,
IMHO, you were being yourself when you wrote and posted this. No?
Kind regards,
Daniel
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Re: Where does 'being yourself' fit into formal practice

Postby manas » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:47 am

danieLion wrote:
Ben wrote:The question to ask is what does "being yourself" actually mean?
Kind regards
Ben

Hi Ben,
IMHO, you were being yourself when you wrote and posted this. No?
Kind regards,
Daniel


Language is tricky. What if instead of saying 'being yourself' we say 'exercising your preferences'? Even the Buddha had preferences. He liked solitude, for example. We all have preferences, but that's not to say there's any 'self' in any of this. 'Self' is such a loaded word in Buddhist circles that to say 'being yourself' can sometimes result in people (with good intentions, of course) feeling like they have to jump in and correct it, when it is really merely a figure of speech to mean that, you are following your own acquired tendencies, or preferences.

That's my take on it, anyway :)

:anjali:
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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