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Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating - Dhamma Wheel

Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Umos
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Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:49 pm

Hi, I am new to meditation and almost completely illiterate when it comes to theravada buddhism but have had wonderful results as a result of vipassana meditation, basically I have come a long way of treating my compulsive and addictive behavior after only a few weeks of meditating a couple of hours per day.

However, this doubting keeps coming up when I am meditating, preventing me from being mindful and even preventing me from meditating, I dont know what to do. I keep ruminating about it when not doing formal meditation, thus preventing me from being mindful in everyday life.

Should I never think or follow doubting thoughts when meditating? I feel that if i just say to myself "doubting, doubting" or "thinking, thinking" I am lying to myself, ignoring what to me seem like legitimate doubting and thoughts and I am turning into a robot. Will the doubting really go away if I say "doubting, doubting" in my head for 30 minutes or an hour? As said in the beginning, I have had superb results with meditation. I dont doubt that the brain is reacting positively to my meditation. I have so far just said to myself that when the doubting gets too strong, that the doubting is some sort of trick the brain is playing on me to prevent me from meditating. It has kept the doubting somehow at bay, but it does pop up again. Is this the wrong approach?

Should I ask here about my misunderstanding of Buddhas teaching that causes me to doubt, or does that only bring energy to the doubting and thinking, and will it only mean that more things will pop up into my head about the teachings that will just cause more doubting about some other stuff in the future?

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Zenainder
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:04 pm

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EmptyShadow
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby EmptyShadow » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:38 pm


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Kamran
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Kamran » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:58 am

What are you being asked to believe ?

I think all that is required is to believe that your actions will will have an impact, and that you can learn from your mistakes.

I try to distinguish between good honest doubt, and doubts that I've picked up from society's values, which encourage greed, lust, and delusion.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

duckfiasco
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:21 am

It depends on the doubt and what it's about.

I get periods where I doubt the efficacy of practice, and it saps my confidence. This kind of doubt and worry is like a magician: it uses sleight of hand to get you to look away while it works in secret. In this case, the doubt is really in the doubt itself, the worry really is in the worry itself. The pain of doubt comes exactly from the momentum built up in doubting: pursuing possibilities, leaving the present moment, chasing "what if..." scenarios, the friction caused by constant restlessness. It may make you feel helpless as well, stuck in indecision. The Buddha compared doubt to striking out into a desert with no map and no provisions. You wander around for a while, then maybe some bandits kill you after a time. I've come to know that place rather well :P Doubt is convincing because it makes you feel like you're being reasonable, doing your due diligence, trying to "get it right".

This is where "doubting, doubting" can help to step out of the proliferation of doubt on doubt. It's not to sweep things under the rug, but to stop pouring gas on the fire.

But not even just that: probe into the doubt. What does it feel like in the body, for instance how does it affect the breath? Can you pinpoint the first link in this particular chain of doubt? What seems to set it in motion? Where does it go when you do not doubt?

See its impermanence, its contingency on other things to arise, and the suffering it causes. Really study your doubt while it's there. Be like a physician carefully and skillfully inquiring into a patient's symptoms to find the best course of treatment.

What ultimately helped me out of a months-long morass of doubt was the Buddha's summary: Suffering I teach, and the way out of suffering. Don't fly after whatever doubt tells you to, usually some metaphysical truth or something better "someday". Instead, take your suffering for what it is, no matter its cause, and see what you can do to relieve it.

And don't forget: when doubt is not there, notice that too.

Best of luck, from one chronic doubter to the next :)

duckfiasco
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:08 am

I also wanted to add that gratitude has been a potent antidote to doubt for me. How has the Dharma helped in your suffering already? From your post, it sounds like you have something to be grateful for. It can be a small seed of confidence when you feel doubts setting in.

Umos
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:52 pm


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daverupa
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

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reflection
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby reflection » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:23 pm

Hi,

To develop the wholesome and take away the unwholesome is important, so it is also important to recognize them as such. For example, if anger arises and you recognize it, it is not something to allow or objectify, it is something to take care of and replace with a wholesome state of mind. Sometimes just seeing it does the job, sometimes noting works, sometimes cultivating metta works, sometimes something else. There are multiple ways to go about this. You may want to take a look at suttas like SN 47.8, MN19 and MN20 to learn a bit more about this.

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Zenainder
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Zenainder » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:34 pm

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ohnofabrications
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby ohnofabrications » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:03 pm


duckfiasco
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:31 pm


Umos
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:14 pm

OK, i may not have made it all clear, and i am sorry for that. But i dont doubt the vipassana practice nor the mental noting and its benefits and I am not feeling impatient or frustrated about the practice. I just need to read some suttas maybe to make sure i understand what i have misunderstood. I am only doubting the part about telling myself that I should never judge any emotion or mindstates (or any of the 4 categories of body, feeling, thought and mindstates).

The thing is, I do this mental noting or mantra of as much as possible that i do all day, trying to stay meditative all day. For example, if i feel a generous thought, then i would just do the mantra on that thought, not judging it, and then let it go away (seeing impermenance). Not acting on it. If I read something, lets say a review of some product i intend to buy, I have to make judgements, doubting some things, accepting other things. What I do is turning more into "indifferent meditation" or "robot meditation" I think even though my progress is very good and consistent with what I read about vipassana. Surely, critical thinking is needed?

Also, how can sex be consistent with vipassana (I think i practice or try to practice what you guys call thai forest tradition) meditation? This doesnt make sense to me (again i am doubting). Why would sex do anything else than lead to suffering?

Umos
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:38 pm


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daverupa
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

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Umos
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:25 pm


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mikenz66
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:40 am

Hi Umos,

Perhaps if you can tell us what talks and/or what reading you are basing your meditation approach on, we can suggest something reasonably compatible to read. You're describing the approach taught by Sayadaw Mahasi, and his students such as U Pandita. Bhikkhu Pesala's site: www.aimwell.org has quite a lot of useful material, including an on-line version of U Pandita's book In This Very Life.
Unfortunately the site seems to be having some difficulties right now.

:anjali:
Mike

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Zenainder
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:05 pm

I don't believe anyone has referred this, but it may shed some helpful insight:

"Q: I still have very many thoughts. My mind wanders a lot even though I am trying to be mindful.

Answer: Don't worry about this. Try to keep your mind in the present. Whatever there is that arises in the mind, just watch it. Let go of it. Don't even wish to be rid of thoughts. Then the mind will reach its natural state. No discriminating between good and bad, hot and cold, fast and slow. No me and no you, no self at all. Just what there is. When you walk on alms-round, no need to do anything special. Simply walk and see what there is. No need to cling to isolation or seclusion. Wherever you are, know yourself by being natural and watching. If doubts arise, watch them come and go. It's very simple. Hold on to nothing. It is as though you are walking down a road. Periodically you will run into obstacles. When you meet defilements, just see them and just overcome them by letting go of them. don't think about the obstacles you have passed already. Don't worry about those you have not yet seen. Stick to the present. Don't be concerned about the length of the road or about the destination. Everything is changing. Whatever you pass, do not cling to it. Eventually the mind will reach its natural balance where practice is automatic. All things will come and go of themselves."

"Q: What can I do about doubts? Some days I'm plagued with doubts about the practice or my own progress, or the teacher.

Answer: Doubting is natural. Everyone starts out with doubts. You can learn a great deal from them. What is important is that you don't identify with your doubts: that is, don't get caught up in them. This will spin your mind in endless circles. Instead, watch the whole process of doubting, of wondering. See who it is that doubts. See how doubts come and go. Then you will no longer be victimized by your doubts. You will step outside of them and your mind will be quiet. You can see how all things come and go. Just let go of what you are attached to. Let go of your doubts and simply watch. This is how to end doubting."


Information from an interview with Ajahn Chah:
http://www.buddhanet.net/bodhiny2.htm
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daverupa
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:24 pm


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Zenainder
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:28 pm

I think it is fundamental not to identify with the doubt that arises, simply be mindful and objectively observe it. "You" are not doubting because doubt arises. The only time we "doubt" is through the delusion of identity (self). Refrain from seeing doubt thinking "I am doubting", instead when you see doubt arise use the noting / mantra technique to assist in creating objective awareness and observe the doubt arise, exist, and disappear. Then you may conclude "doubt is aries from x view and is a mental phenomom and is imperament and stressful" and so unfetter yourself from it.

When anything arises remain detached and objectively observe it for what it is.

At least this is how I have come to understand it.

Metta,

Zen
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