Resistance

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Resistance

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:28 pm

Good morning forum,

Perhaps I need to spend more time observing this phenomena, but last night I observed deep resistance in regards to the emptiness of existence or the ultimate end of projections (i.e. rebirths). I am left puzzled as to the category of hindrance to further create an objective observation.

Is this a "more" clear experience of the resistance to not self, suffering, and impermanence? I am trying to articulate this in a relatable fashion, but after having contemplated impermanence and not self at length I can feel a "grasping resistance" within to both. As if ignorance (if it was an entity) deep within is saying "OH HELL NOOO!!!" and wants to keep projecting and desire arises for an enticing belief set that allows the imagination run wild. Intellectually not self, impermanence, and suffering are agreeable, however deep within there is a multi-facet arising of frustrated resistance to it.

Or am I experiencing hindrances for what they really are: friction /resistance?

Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

Metta,

Zen

Edit:
Oy, the constraints of human language. :lol:
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Re: Resistance

Postby mynameisadahn » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:50 pm

I am a little unclear on exactly how your issue of resistance to impermanence etc. arose. where you in a sitting or was it more general reflection?

in my limited experience, when i am sitting (and noting, as in the mahasi sayadaw tradition), i might feel resistance but it is experienced in terms of a specific bodily sensation, or my mind tries to entertain me with distractions and i note 'torpor' or something like that. or i just want to end my sitting because it is difficult. it would be hard for me to group things into 'resistance to impermanence' in the middle of a sit. if i feel like i have a sort of broader difficulty incorporating the dhamma into my life, then that sort of broader understanding would come across through reflection rather than a sitting itself.

however, i emphathize with what seems to be your broader point. i also have times where i feel resistance, and frequently, for me, this is articulated more in terms of disliking renuncitation, wanting to indulge, and just not wanting to do regular meditation. I think these are all sort of related. i think also, that is helpful to take an attitude of 'surrending to a tradition' to get through these issues, but i am still working on that.

i am interested, though, in learning a bit more about the appreciation of sensory experience in the Zen tradition. there seems to be more of an acknowledgment in Zen of enjoying transitory experiences and then just letting them go. Like Zen poetry talking about everyday experiences or seeing nature, and taking a sort of enlightened joy in that. Maybe taking that sort of Zen-like view to appreciating things would help take some of the (seemingly) dour/negative aspects away from coming to understand impermanence.

This is pretty abstract, so I hope my comment makes sense.
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Re: Resistance

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:10 pm

mynameisadahn wrote:I am a little unclear on exactly how your issue of resistance to impermanence etc. arose. where you in a sitting or was it more general reflection?

in my limited experience, when i am sitting (and noting, as in the mahasi sayadaw tradition), i might feel resistance but it is experienced in terms of a specific bodily sensation, or my mind tries to entertain me with distractions and i note 'torpor' or something like that. or i just want to end my sitting because it is difficult. it would be hard for me to group things into 'resistance to impermanence' in the middle of a sit. if i feel like i have a sort of broader difficulty incorporating the dhamma into my life, then that sort of broader understanding would come across through reflection rather than a sitting itself.

however, i emphathize with what seems to be your broader point. i also have times where i feel resistance, and frequently, for me, this is articulated more in terms of disliking renuncitation, wanting to indulge, and just not wanting to do regular meditation. I think these are all sort of related. i think also, that is helpful to take an attitude of 'surrending to a tradition' to get through these issues, but i am still working on that.

i am interested, though, in learning a bit more about the appreciation of sensory experience in the Zen tradition. there seems to be more of an acknowledgment in Zen of enjoying transitory experiences and then just letting them go. Like Zen poetry talking about everyday experiences or seeing nature, and taking a sort of enlightened joy in that. Maybe taking that sort of Zen-like view to appreciating things would help take some of the (seemingly) dour/negative aspects away from coming to understand impermanence.

This is pretty abstract, so I hope my comment makes sense.


I appreciate your thoughtful post, thank you!

I think I still need to continue mindfully watching "it" whenever it arises. I apply mindfulness through most of my day, other than an increase of concentration on the pillow I do not directly decipher a difference between on or off the pillow (better results on the pillow, of course, but that doesn't exclude some results off the pillow). This occurred last night as I sat though and post reflection. It is less about the resistance to meditate and indulge (although there are parallels) and more about fundamentally accepting emptiness. (I think?).

I was simply watching the mind and ill-will arose towards impermanence & not self primarily. I wonder if it wasn't a standard habitual tendency to cling to permanence and a self; a continuing projection of the conscious experience. The longing for "more" in an empty world; essentially ignorance. I likely sound double sided as I intellectually and insightfully seen (likely in a shallow manner) impermanence, not self, and suffering.

I wonder if this falls in the category of doubt or ignorance in general (i.e. longing for permanence, self, & not suffering?).

:shrug:

No worries! Mindfulness is the solution in the end, was hoping for a category for this bugger to further assists in objective awareness.

Btw, I identify with that "Zen technique". I personally do not fret tradition, but I do find tranquility in the most mundane reality. Had a fun conversation the other day about finding bliss in mundane reality. It is all empty, you know? I still find it humor at how serious I've taken it all.

Metta,

Zen
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Re: Resistance

Postby mynameisadahn » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:28 pm

Great, i think we have similar thoughts, at times.

As for how to categorize your feeling of resistance, I might relate my experiences. I do try to note kilesas/defilements accurately, and find this helpful in my practice. When sitting, at times, I might allow myself a moment (just a moment or two) to reflect on what is an accurate label, if something is really bugging me. However, sometimes you can be suffering an MKA (multiple kilesa attack, as my in-person teacher has said), so you might need to note multiple ones being present. And it probably shifts over time, what exactly is bothering you. If you want to be super accurate in labeling what your specific thoughts represent, then maybe only you can really answer that (and that might vary over time as well).

In my own practice, I have some common themes crop up and I am able to quickly categorize them under one of the 5 defilements. But it is also good to capture the nuances, and maybe what seems to be the same-old thought process is a little different this time.

And on the converse, I try to be aware of when things are going better, and I have increasing faith, or doubt is gone (temporarily). Etc.

Anyways, just some thoughts from someone dealing with the same things.
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Re: Resistance

Postby reflection » Wed Jul 17, 2013 7:56 pm

I found that when practicing the path, you have to accept a lot of things on a deep level. Before you are able to accept these things, there may be a certain tendency to not want to face them. For example, everybody knows we'll die, right, but few people can really accept it. So the Buddha said contemplate it, so we also learn to accept it on a deep emotional level. This is the best example, because everybody knows what death is, but if you get a sense of deeper things like impermanence or anatta, similar resistance can arise towards accepting it. It doesn't have to be full understanding, a glimpse or initial idea can already do it. Anatta, from a position of 'self' is one of the most frightful things there is, that's why the Buddha said the dhamma is so hard to see. It sounds to me this is what you are talking about. Or am I misinterpreting?

Either way, the remedy the Buddha gave? (or at least the most prominent I think) Clear the mind with samadhi so it is strong and fearless. It can go to the center of things without being hindered. That way it will be easier to accept the nature of things, it'll go by itself. You can't accept things that are hard to accept by willpower or by contemplating them endlessly. That could even frustrate you more and build up more resistance. You can however, accept them when your mind is clear and not clinging to the hindrances.
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