Frustrations.

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

Frustrations.

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:22 am

Recently I've had many frustrations from meditation. I've been finding it much harder to concentrate while meditating as of late. It seems that sitting leads to me feeling very perturbed and I can't exactly figure out why. I think it may be because I feel like I should be making "progress" and I feel like I'm doing the opposite. Whenever I feel this way during meditation I try and think of what is is I want to gain, and who exactly is gaining from it. Sometimes this helps, sometimes it does not. Either way, I usually exit my sitting feeling worse than before I sat, and it's making me not want to meditate. So far my only real course of action has been to continue with my meditation/practice. Does anyone have any insight as to what is happening, or advice on understanding and correcting it?



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Re: Frustrations.

Postby Ben » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:23 am

It would be helpful to know what it is that you are practicing.
One thing I can share with you is that difficult sensations and mental states are not uncommon in meditation.
Sometimes we may interpret those feelings and ascribe meaning to them.
In my experience, it is best just to maintain awareness of the meditation object and remember that all dhammas are like bubbles. They arise and pass away, they are completely ephemeral and identifying with them only leads to suffering.
kind regards,

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Re: Frustrations.

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:47 am

I practice anapanasati. I believe I do a combination of Samantha and Vipasanna. I mostly concentrate on my breath using the "mantra" Buddho, and when thoughts arise return to the breath if I don't yet feel focused and if I do, watch them as they pass and then return to the breath.

Thank you for the advice. That is something I try to keep in mind, although sometimes it's much easier said than done.

Any other insight or advice would be appreciated.


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Re: Frustrations.

Postby Aloka » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:55 am

Any other insight or advice would be appreciated


Hi PSS,

You might find this little book helpful..."Finding the Missing Peace - A primer of Buddhist Meditation" written by Ajahn Amaro who's the abbot of Amaravati Monastery UK.

http://amaravati.org/downloads/pdf/finding_the_missing_peace.pdf

With kind wishes,

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Re: Frustrations.

Postby Ben » Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:38 am

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:Thank you for the advice. That is something I try to keep in mind, although sometimes it's much easier said than done.


Yes, I understand. Hence, I find it a good idea to recognize that in those moments of difficulty, that aversion and craving are manifesting.
And return to the breath/movement of the abdomen.
All the best,

Ben
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Re: Frustrations.

Postby Still Searching » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:54 am

Hi PsychedelicSunSet,

I too struggle with anger and frustration.

I managed to meditate and was successful.

I achieved this by ignoring my thoughts, sitting still and letting the world do its work.
I closed my eyes for 15 minutes, not thinking about anything and after that, I felt refreshed and amazing.

Hope this helps.
"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." ~ Siddhārtha, Gautama Buddha
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Re: Frustrations.

Postby Digity » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:49 pm

I struggled with this for a while, but eventually things started to settle down and I can sit now with relative ease. I actually enjoy meditating now...not to the point where I run home so that I can sit on the cushion to meditate, but when I do have to do it I don't feel resistance like I use to. I'm not saying this to brag or anything...I'm saying it to give you some hope that things can change and shift if you stick to it and you practice skillfully. If you're not doing the meditation practice skillfully then it won't bare much fruit. However, sometimes you need to sit through a whole lot of crap before you figure out what's skillful and what isn't. You need to observe and see what's working and what isn't. This is all part of the process and you'll improve your discernment and awareness in the process. I even wrote a post a while ago here saying that I don't like to meditate, but like I said before my attitude has shifted and how meditating feels like taking a mental bath.

You should definitely stick with it, but you might need to adjust things or look more closely at what's working and what isn't. You might just have to build up your endurance and be able to sit through the crap when it comes up. Sure, this might sound torturous, but there's wisdom to be found in all of it. Don't get too caught up in the things that arise and fall away and focus more on the big picture of the nature of these things.

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Re: Frustrations.

Postby daverupa » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:04 pm

What sort of antidotes are you employing against these perturbations?

"Just watching" defines it for awareness, but there's followup... in particular, calming citta-sankhara, or perhaps releasing citta altogether after gladdening the mind and then composing it...

So, how are you gladdening the mind?
    "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: Frustrations.

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:05 pm

daverupa wrote:What sort of antidotes are you employing against these perturbations?

"Just watching" defines it for awareness, but there's followup... in particular, calming citta-sankhara, or perhaps releasing citta altogether after gladdening the mind and then composing it...

So, how are you gladdening the mind?



I'm not entirely sure of what you mean by citta-sankhara? And I don't usually focus on gladdening the mind so much as watching the breath. Coincidentally, last night I decided to explore something I had read on this forum with regards to rapture. Someone had said that once you've calmed and concentrated the mind that you could think of a situation where you felt great happiness. Once you bring back that feeling, drop the memory and focus on the feeling and try to spread it through out the body. I had trouble with spreading the feeling, and eventually gave up and returned to the breath.
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Re: Frustrations.

Postby daverupa » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:30 am

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:I'm not entirely sure of what you mean by citta-sankhara?


It's part of the second tetrad of anapanasati, which is why I asked. Gladdening citta is part of the third tetrad.
    "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: Frustrations.

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:58 pm

daverupa wrote:
It's part of the second tetrad of anapanasati, which is why I asked. Gladdening citta is part of the third tetrad.


Ah. To my knowledge I've only really experienced things from the first two tetrads. I haven't spent much time considering the tetrads. Is it something I should further investigate?
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Re: Frustrations.

Postby reflection » Sat Oct 05, 2013 4:09 pm

Meditation shouldn't be about trying, figuring out, about controlling and interfering. It is about letting things be. The mind is restless and frustrated? Fine, let it be. Exactly that attitude is what gets it to cool down. Every time you force or try the mind into some position, you sort of create a schism, a duality that may sometimes seem like peace, but will never be truly peaceful.
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Re: Frustrations.

Postby daverupa » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:36 pm

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:I haven't spent much time considering the tetrads. Is it something I should further investigate?


I have found much greater progress by using satipatthana (and, thus, the tetrads of anapanasati) as the foundation of my practice, and applying other teachings by way of modifying, clarifying, and refining this, than with my previous efforts using Zen and Qigong practices.
    "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: Frustrations.

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:27 pm

daverupa wrote:
I have found much greater progress by using satipatthana (and, thus, the tetrads of anapanasati) as the foundation of my practice, and applying other teachings by way of modifying, clarifying, and refining this, than with my previous efforts using Zen and Qigong practices.


Do you have any suggested readings on the subject?
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Re: Frustrations.

Postby daverupa » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:00 pm

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:
daverupa wrote:
I have found much greater progress by using satipatthana (and, thus, the tetrads of anapanasati) as the foundation of my practice, and applying other teachings by way of modifying, clarifying, and refining this, than with my previous efforts using Zen and Qigong practices.


Do you have any suggested readings on the subject?


I gained from reading Ven. Analayo's book on Satipatthana. When I get confused, I tend to hunt through the Samyutta Nikaya and its sections on satipatthana and anapanasati as well as the hindrances and awakening factors.
    "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: Frustrations.

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:28 pm

daverupa wrote:
PsychedelicSunSet wrote:
daverupa wrote:
I have found much greater progress by using satipatthana (and, thus, the tetrads of anapanasati) as the foundation of my practice, and applying other teachings by way of modifying, clarifying, and refining this, than with my previous efforts using Zen and Qigong practices.


Do you have any suggested readings on the subject?


I gained from reading Ven. Analayo's book on Satipatthana. When I get confused, I tend to hunt through the Samyutta Nikaya and its sections on satipatthana and anapanasati as well as the hindrances and awakening factors.



Thank you for the recommendation. I'll read it when I next get the chance.



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