Post meditation, what to do?

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

Post meditation, what to do?

Postby Laurens » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:12 pm

I struggle sometimes to find a way to incorperate mediation into my daily life. I know that they say meditation should not just be done on the cushion, but I am not entirely sure how I can make the transition. Is it something that I should make a concious effort to do? Or is it something that happens naturally the more I practice?

Right now I often find myself doing OK on the cushion, but not too long after finding myself caught up in greed, hatred and delusion. Is this the practice? The fact that I notice myself in these states? Or is there more of a concious effort to be made on my part?

I would appreciate if someone could clear up exactly what is meant by continuing meditation practice, beyond sitting for 30 mins twice a day, cause it is something that I have never been sure of.

Thanks
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan
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Re: Post meditation, what to do?

Postby Reductor » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:53 pm

Set a timer on your watch (phone), and when it goes off resolve on a 10-30 minutes of 'clear awareness'. Being clear of your bodily, verbal and mental actions. Do this once or twice a day, making it longer and longer or more and more frequent.

That is one suggestion.

I find it helpful to classify my thoughts under the hindrances.. When I become aware of sexual desire I have a mental noting 'sexual desire' and then attempt to stand back from it and see what caused it, what factors are promoting it, and see if I can undercut it. When it abates I take stock of its absence, and try to discern if I feel better after it arose, or better after it subsided.

A different approach.

But just keep meditation, and you will find that the better your meditation the more aware you will be during the day. You can also classify you're thoughts, when you notice them, as 'this is pleasant' or 'this is painful', or 'this is neutral'. You will build the habit of reflection one thoughts at a time.

These are all my own take on different parts of the Satipatthana. You can set cues in your day (like an alarm) and then meditate on what your doing at that time (filing, sitting, running, etc).

Bye.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Post meditation, what to do?

Postby seanpdx » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:06 pm

Laurens wrote:I struggle sometimes to find a way to incorperate mediation into my daily life. I know that they say meditation should not just be done on the cushion, but I am not entirely sure how I can make the transition. Is it something that I should make a concious effort to do? Or is it something that happens naturally the more I practice?

Right now I often find myself doing OK on the cushion, but not too long after finding myself caught up in greed, hatred and delusion. Is this the practice? The fact that I notice myself in these states? Or is there more of a concious effort to be made on my part?

I would appreciate if someone could clear up exactly what is meant by continuing meditation practice, beyond sitting for 30 mins twice a day, cause it is something that I have never been sure of.

Thanks


Noticing when greed/hatred/delusion arise is important because it allows us to do something about them. Sometimes I'll take a very short break (<5min?) to just sit and watch the breath -- not a full sitting, more of a little nudge to get the mind to settle down a bit -- if I notice that the mind is agitated. Sometimes, if I'm particularly busy, I'll watch one or two breaths when I notice a pause in what I'm doing, and then get back to what I was doing. If I see greed/hatred/delusion arise, I'll do the same thing -- watch the breath a bit to settle down the mind -- then look at why the greed/hatred/delusion arose.
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Re: Post meditation, what to do?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:25 pm

it's not so much about continuing meditation throughout the day as it is about keeping right mindfulness throughout the day. i dont use the noting technique when i sit (though i did learn this style in thailand) however i find it useful to use it in daily activities when problems arise, maybe to say to myself "anger anger" or "greed greed" when it arises, to just know it is what it is and not attach to it, not to let it lead me down a path of conditioning even more akusala mindstates.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Post meditation, what to do?

Postby zavk » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:45 pm

Laurens wrote:Right now I often find myself doing OK on the cushion, but not too long after finding myself caught up in greed, hatred and delusion. Is this the practice? The fact that I notice myself in these states? Or is there more of a concious effort to be made on my part?


Hi Laurens,

As the others have suggested, there are steps you can take to cultivate mindfulness throughout the day as you go about your activities. For me, I try to be mindful when I am walking from one place to another. I also try to be mindful when I go about my daily chores. However, in my experience, it seems inevitable that such negative mindstates become more apparent as we start to meditate regularly. It certainly happened to me when I first started, and in fact it still happens.

When certain conditions are present, such mindstates will inevitably arise. But we may not be aware of these mindstates if we didn't make an effort to meditate regularly. Based on the advice I've heard (e.g. various Dhamma talks), this act of recognition is very important. The more we are able to recognise these mindstates the less power they have over us. For me, I find that I do not act out these mindstates as quickly as before. Or if I do--say, I lash out at someone in anger--I find that I come out of anger more quickly than before. And when I do so, I stop feeding the conditions that produce these mindstates.

So yes, I would say that this is part of the practice, but at the same time continued effort is needed. In one of Bhikkhu Bodhi's talks, he mentions that we cannot really control the mindstates that arise. We can really only work at setting the right conditions for relinquishing or developing mindstates.

So while we need to make a conscious effort to return to the cushion regularly, we also need to make an effort in other areas: i.e. to have compassion towards ourselves when we behave unskillfully, and to develop other aspects of the path like dana and sila. These things are not strictly 'meditation' but are nevertheless vital in shaping the conditions for unwholesome mindstates to fall away and wholesome ones to arise.
With metta,
zavk
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Re: Post meditation, what to do?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:00 am

Something I like to do (or try to do) is to watch Right Speech. We use it all the time in the course of the day. So in conversations I try to watch my sensations and observations to the speech going on. When it is my turn to respond I watch to see if wholesome or unwholesome thoughts are arising or not. I try to respond with wholesome speech or gauge if my speech is even necessary or not. Is it mindless chatter, important to the conversation, etc.

This can be done on online forums too, observing our thoughts and actions online. :)
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Re: Post meditation, what to do?

Postby Guy » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:16 am

It is a bit easier to practice Right Speech online due to the Backspace key, but a good place to practice anyway. :computerproblem:
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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