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Backsliding in my sitting meditation - Dhamma Wheel

Backsliding in my sitting meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Digity
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby Digity » Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:06 pm

I don't fully understand what's going on, but I feel like I've been backsliding in my sitting meditation. Before I could at least have a few sittings where I got fully concentrated on my breath. However, now it never happens. It's been like this for weeks and weeks. I just can't bring myself to concentrate on the breath. I would think with practice I'd get better at this, but it seems like I just can't do it...I can stay with the breath, but I can't get fully absorbed in it. I'm trying to play with the breath and stuff to see if that would help. Sometimes I get glimpses of getting back to that concentration, but it doesn't last long. Anyone experience this before? Any advice? Should I take break from meditating? I'm guessing not.

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daverupa
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Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby daverupa » Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:59 pm

Take a break from seeking to have the meditation be one way or another. This dissatisfaction has arisen; find the causes for that hindrance, yes?

:heart:

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:17 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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manas
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby manas » Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:15 pm

Hi Digity,

while I also agree with letting go of expectations in a meditation session, in favour of just doing the practice to the best of your ability (while still remaining sensitive to what works and what doesn't so you can remember that), I also think that if a significant obstacle has arisen, it is ok to seek some guidance from a wise and experienced meditation teacher, who knows the terrain, has probably been where you are right now, and might be able to guide you through. Some make themselves available to talk over the phone.

So I will not advise regarding meditation itself, because I really think that is best left to an expert, and I mean someone who has mastered the method you are engaged in. But I will remind you (remind because I'm sure you already know the following) that 1. all of the Noble Eightfold Path, every single factor, matters a lot and we can always work on improving the other factors, regardless of how our meditation practice is faring at present. We 'western, intellectual types' often tend to be too overly focussed on the samma sati / samma samadhi limbs of the Path (as compared to the other six limbs), in what I think is a slightly unbalanced way (please note - I include myself in that admonishment, and I apologise for generalising :) ). 2. Virtue. I heard more than one meditation teacher say that most problems come not from wrong technique on the cushion, but from what we do off the cushion. Increase and purify Virtue, that can help. 3. Be kind to yourself.

:anjali:
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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marc108
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Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby marc108 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:33 pm

We all go through those periods. Could you say specifically what's happening and describe your practice a bit?
"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."

alan...
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Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby alan... » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:38 am


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Nyorai
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Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby Nyorai » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:21 am

Use counting of breath, breath one to breath ten repeating these ten counts again. Alternatively the counting of Buddha name :sage:
ImageTo become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.
If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path. He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self.Image

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:57 pm

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream."
Dairy Lama

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kirk5a
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Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby kirk5a » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:18 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

Digity
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby Digity » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:21 am


Digity
Posts: 1205
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby Digity » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:33 am


Dennenappelmoes
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Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:42 am

An interesting comment that Ajahn Brahm makes repeatedly is that meditation isn't forcing the mind to concentrate on one point. My Vipassana teacher also said that focussing on the breath isn't meditation but a concentration exercise. This is a bit surprising, considering how many people do meditate this way, so I am not sure how to take this. At any rate, just thinking out loud (or through the keyboard rather), maybe if focussing on the breath for a longer amount of time doesn't work, you could try exploring your distractions mindfully (vipassana) to both cultivate acceptance and to just discover where all of that restlessness or distraction comes from? I am in the process of trying out this new kind of meditation where I sit down at a miserable moment deliberately (tiredness, backpain, you name it) and focus on letting go of expectations and try and train myself in accepting the unsuccesfulness of that meditation session which is sort of doomed from the beginning. You could say this is sort of a self-directed metta meditation. Not sure yet how this works out but it's an interesting approach.

Digity
Posts: 1205
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Backsliding in my sitting meditation

Postby Digity » Fri May 10, 2013 12:26 pm

I spoke to my teacher and described what was happening. He thinks that my awareness is developing more and that I'm just more aware now of what's going on. I honesty thought the same thing at one point....so hearing it from him too is encouraging. Anyway, he said it was a good sign and to continue with the practice.


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