The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

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

The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:45 am

Hi everyone

Welcome to the Dhamma Wheel meditation challenge.
The purpose of this thread is to provide an avenue by which members can find support and be supported by members of our community in the challenge of maintaining their daily practice. Members may wish to utilise this thread by diarising the vicisitudes of daily meditation, by making public a challenge they may set for themselves to maintain their daily practice, and for members to support others. Members may wish to start something like a monthly 'club' of co-practitioners who share the same ambition of maintaining their practice for the month of (say) November and provide mutual support for each other.
The focus of the thread should be about giving and receiving support. For issues relating to the efficacy of one technique over another, then that should be in its own thread.

May you all be happy, may you all be successful in your practice.
May you all be liberated.
May you all experience the supreme peace of Nibbana.
with metta

Ben
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:50 am

At least 10 minutes of meditation, according to one of the traditional methods for at least a week.

Is that a reasonable challenge? :)
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Wed Nov 04, 2009 5:56 am

Its a very reasonable challenge!
I wish you every success, individual!
Please keep us posted with your progress.
metta

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby BlackBird » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:03 am

Sounds good everyone. Thank you Individual for the suggestion of this thread, and thank you Ben for starting it up :anjali:

I've recently started a job working in a petrol station. Since I've gone from having the whole day to myself to working 8 hours - I've been seeing a noticeable decline in my practice - Especially behavioural things like I'm starting to get pissed off with stuff again. So it's time to start setting out a framework. My goal is to meditate 1 hour a day on weekdays, and at least 3 hours on weekends.

Metta
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:34 am

Hi All,

I will try to do at least 1 hour of walking meditation, 1 hour of sitting meditation every day for the rest of November.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Jechbi » Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:28 am

MN 106 wrote:There are these roots of trees, these empty huts. Meditate, Ananda, do not delay, or else you will regret it later.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:29 am

This a great idea. Thank you Ben and Individual. My goal is to do formal meditation in any of the four postures for 2 hours a day until January 1st. May we all meet with success. Metta.

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:32 am

Ok

40 mins Anapanasati in the mornings.
30 minutes Metta Bhavana in the evenings.

:anjali:
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Vardali » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:59 pm

I am aiming to sit once a day for more than 40 mins (workdays) plus at least 2x a day on weekends - methods are allowed to vary :)
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Individual » Thu Nov 05, 2009 6:50 am

I just meditated, following the advice of this video on anapanasati. I haven't meditated in many months, perhaps even as long as a year.

It took me several minutes to get fully settled into what I was doing. When I finally began to meditate, I began to feel a sense of dread and despair, which seemed to grow, the deeper that I meditated. It was a peculiar experience, very different from typical anxiety. I have been very anxious in the past and still sometimes am anxious, so I have developed an intimacy with anxiety, so I know it very distinctly, as well as anger and depression. This was a feeling in the back of my chest cavity, behind my lungs and heart (whereas anxiety for me feels like a tightness of the heart and lungs), at the base of my neck. It felt like failure. I think I felt the same way a year ago, on the last day that I got on my treadmill, I began to feel, "What if I can't keep this up? What if my will isn't strong enough? What if I give up (or have to give up)?" It also felt like a sense of excitement, a strong desire to get up and play the videogames I've been playing everyday. I mused on whether it might be some evil spirit, but let that thought go. Thinking, "This isn't my thought," helped a bit, yet still, it grew stronger. I felt as though -- and I've heard this advice before -- that bearing down and sitting through such an experience would make me stronger in the end. I felt as though perhaps I could win. I created a smell sense of joy and tried to grow it, to fight the dread, yet it continued.

Suddenly, I remembered that I needed to register for college, something I've been putting off, that I've been worrying I might never do because of my habit of procrastination. I didn't go to school this fall, because of such procrastination. Feeling that this memory was an accomplishment of my meditation, I decided to end it. I could have continued, but it would've been difficult, and I felt it was better to end it on a positive note -- that I had achieved the recollection of an important memory and summoned the motivation to carry out a rightful action -- than to face the possibility of continuing to face such misery, giving up, and then possibly being too upset with myself to register for school.

I'm not sure how long this went on for, because I checked the time beforehand but forgot to check the time afterwards. I started at 12:45, then hopped in the shower, remembered I forgot to check the time, and saw it was 1:30. I only have about 10 minutes of hot water because our hot water heater has been broken the last several months, so the meditation was somewhere between 10 or 20 minutes long.

After I finished, I felt the sense of meditative calm that I always felt when going to the local Zen temple: A sense of dispassion, impersonality, a sense of intelligence and rationality, a disillusionment with petty wants, and a feeling as though the connection between bodymind and self had been weakened, that this being would do what it must entirely on its own, and I would merely observe it from outside, in addition to the neutral feeling of pressure in my cranial cavity. Like always, this feeling quickly fades and I'm "normal" now.

I consider it a success and plan to continue this meditation, hopefully forever, although we all know that's never going to be true. :lol:

I think I will go to the Zen temple once a week again, though I'm unsure if I will attend their dharma talks, since I don't like the Zen monk very much.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby BlackBird » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:01 am

Great stuff Individual! Keep up the good work. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good, but it all adds up - Like a drop of water into the pot.


Day 1 and 2 for me was mostly getting back on board. Lots of discursive thought so the sati needs some strengthening, but everything's on track and the train will keep on rolling. Still got a couple of sits to do this evening, and just trying to keep clear of expectations.

Joy's coming back into my life and I'm smiling and joking about so what more can you ask.

How's everyone else doing?
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:09 am

Hi Individual,

It sounds like you noticed three of the five hindrances (sensual desire, restlessness/remorse and doubt) and you handled them without giving in to them, well done. :woohoo:

As for the sense of dread, I have experienced something similar on more than one occassion in varying degrees of intensity, it is very unlikely to be externally caused (an evil spirit) and much more likely to be internally caused (thoughts and emotions). These experiences are like phantom tyrants; if you believe they are powerful then they will oppress you, even if you fight against them they will crush you if you believe in them. The way to defeat these tyrants is not to fight but to see them through the perception of the three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta). Even after having seen through them they may persist for some time but they will, like all things, eventually pass. This is where patient endurance comes in.

Ajahm Brahm has mentioned in some of his talks that there is no such thing as a "good" meditation or a "bad" meditation. The meditations where we experience bliss, joy and equanimity are the "payday" for all the meditations where we have to work with the hindrances. There is a lot to learn from the "bad" meditations, whereas there is not really anything to learn when everything goes the way we want it to.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:15 am

Hi Jack,

Yesterday I ended up walking 1 hour and 15 minutes because I didn't hear the timer, I was enjoying myself too much. The sitting went well also, I had a lot of mindfulness and became concentrated quickly.

Today I haven't meditated at all yet, I am going to start walking now.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby PeterB » Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:37 am

I suspect that you will not like my reply Individual..but I feel honour bound to post it. What you have described is almost word for word what I hear in my treatment room on an almost daily basis when I am seeing an habitual cannabis smoker, or one that is attempting to cut back. If I am correct about the cause/effect of your underlying anxiety there is only one thing to do...
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Guy » Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:21 am

Hi Individual,

PeterB wrote:I suspect that you will not like my reply Individual..but I feel honour bound to post it. What you have described is almost word for word what I hear in my treatment room on an almost daily basis when I am seeing an habitual cannabis smoker, or one that is attempting to cut back. If I am correct about the cause/effect of your underlying anxiety there is only one thing to do...


Having been a heavy pot-smoker, I am inclined to agree with Peter's assessment. I know first hand that smoking pot, especially when used habitually, contributes to feelings of frustration, anger, depression, anxiety. These are all typically more apparent when sobering up which, if one is not careful, can lead one to have an aversion to sobriety and go back to pot which just continues the downward spiral. The good news is that these are all anicca (impermanent). If you resolve to stay clean you will gradually see these symptoms fade away and the mind will become more balanced. While I was quitting (which was the same time I began discovering Buddhism) I decided not to meditate much for about a month and instead focused on getting my body healthy and THC-free first. It might be a bit of a bumpy ride for you in the short-term but if you keep the five precepts then your long-term future will be a happier one.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Glenn » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:34 am

I haven't posted in a while, so thanks Ben for starting this thread and getting me "back in".

I decided to meditate in the evening, instead of the morning today. 20 minutes with an agitated body. I just couldn't get comfortable. Oh well, they all can't be blissful moments. I should probably lay off the caffeine before I sit. Lesson learned.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Ben » Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:47 am

Hi Glenn
Depending on what meditation you are doing, the discomfort can be something you just merely remain equanimous towards. Keep in mind that the hindrance of restlessness can manifest as discomfort.
Congratulations with restarting your practice! Keep on going!
metta

Ben
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- Hereclitus


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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby James the Giant » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:23 am

My challenge will be to meditate at least a little bit every evening.
I have no trouble fitting in my daily early-morning meditation (one hour), but in the evening I am usually so exhausted and hungry that I just skip meditating, and instead eat then go straight to bed.
But tonight and in future I will meditate at least... ten minutes. Ya!
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby Glenn » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:14 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Glenn
Depending on what meditation you are doing, the discomfort can be something you just merely remain equanimous towards. Keep in mind that the hindrance of restlessness can manifest as discomfort.
Congratulations with restarting your practice! Keep on going!
metta

Ben


Thanks, Ben for your suggestions. My discomfort is just something I need to work with, and that will come with time. No big deal.
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:11 pm

im kind of fickle and i dont like making promises, too many chances for regrets. i did 70 minutes on my cushion today tho :)
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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