minimum to no discipline...

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

minimum to no discipline...

Postby freefall » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:02 pm

Is there space here for this topic? My practice suffers because I do not meditate, practice mindfulness or even lightly consider following the 8FP as a guide to my daily life. When I meditate it feels intolerable. However when I meditate within a few minutes I almost always experience expanded consciousness which lasts for several hours at the least. What is going on with me? Feedback would be welcome.

Peter
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
User avatar
freefall
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:17 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby bodom » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:05 pm

What kind of meditation do you practice?

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4614
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:57 pm

When I meditate it feels intolerable


When you meditate do you try really hard to focus so it feels like a strain? You may be trying to hard, remember meditation is about letting go.

Try not to think to much about what your doing, Know and let go as Ajhan Chah would say

Also remember to be gentle with the mind, being to forceful will only lead to frustration


:namaste:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby freefall » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:47 pm

Thank you for your responses. When I actually do meditate I usually use the method of sitting, and focusing on the air leaving my nostrils. When my attention wanders I bring it back to the nostrils. When I couple this meditation with teachings about the nature of letting go it puts my mind into some altered states, and occasionally a greater sense of continuity and unity with all things hits me like a ton of breaks. I try to breathe through that but eventually my feelings of excitement of having found a truth as well as a valid path overwhelms me and the feeling fades. If I could I would meditate all day and night. I have the time and space to do it, but I don't have the discipline despite these amazing experiences. I feel so close to "breaking through" my limited perspective however I rarely do anything about it. I studied in Thailand for three months with some Dhammayut monks and was even going to ordain however it is tough work and worldly distractions have the reward of immediate gratification. I can follow this pattern the rest of my natural life but that is a disappointing thought. I wish I could seriously commit to my practice. I am far from hopeless or powerless; I am tired of worldly distraction and have been for a long time. How do I do that? How do I develop my practice? I would go back to Thailand or somewhere closer to home even, if I thought I wasn't going to be wasting everyone's resources. I came here to Dhamma Wheel and Buddha Chat because I do need the Sangha to help me figure out what to do. Floating_Bo of Buddha Chat said “meditate” and is correct. But I find meditation feels intolerable. I certainly have plenty of softness for myself, how do I segue that into a strong practice. And why do I have such amazing experiences when I contemplate the dharma when I am such a poor practitioner? Thanks for your feedback. Peter
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
User avatar
freefall
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:17 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby nathan » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:46 am

You can practice meditation either with or without discipline but the trade of is more awareness of more suffering. For predominantly pleasant meditation to arise more commonly overall there must be a basis of virtue and that requires discipline in all aspects of life. So you are noting what would be natural to note in meditation and the more you do this the more you will see that it is so. At that point you may opt to consider virtue and the discipline that goes with it in order to lessen your suffering. The discipline is worth it but we can only see the worth directly for ourselves. So continue, however you will.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby freefall » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:59 am

What a insightful post Nathan. The idea that I find meditation intolerable because of the lack of virtue in my life is startling.
Thank you.
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
User avatar
freefall
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:17 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby nathan » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:13 am

Yes, and it has been startling to me many times already... It is our whole being that we examine with calm and insight and we see how virtue is beneficial and we pursue it and are rewarded. Otherwise life just happens to us and we are at the mercy of that as well as not understanding what is in our best interests. These aren't our feelings and thoughts. They just happen because of the ways that things are. So we can understand them and make informed decisions about what we are or this experience will simply define us whether we like it or not.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby freefall » Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:26 am

Wow Nathan, you said a lot with that statement. I hardly understand what you are saying. It seems you are saying several things.you said: "It is our whole being that we examine with calm and insight..." That implies that when I am meditating I am looking at myself from a perspective that can effectively measure and define who I am. Since we are talking about my meditation feeling intolerable that implies my virtue is intolerable and from my wider perspective, I am self-defined as intolerable. Therefore if I act in a more disciplined way to accrue virtue my meditation will be more tolerable, and I will be self-defined as more tolerable. That would be one reward of virtue. Later on you said: "Otherwise life just happens to us and we are at the mercy of that as well as not understanding what is in our best interests." You seem to be saying the examined (with calm and insight) life diminishes the frequency/severity of unpurposeful events in addition to creating understanding about what is best for ourselves. You go onto say "These aren't our feelings and thoughts. They just happen because of the ways that things are." I don't understand. What isn't our feelings and thoughts? The reactions we have to a unexamined life? The feelings and thoughts of a non-virtuous life? I am sorry, I just don't understand. The general gist of your reply seems to be that by meditating and practicing discipline we not only know who we are, not only have a pleasant meditative experience, but we get to redefine ourselves. I am not trying to create a problem here. I probably understand what you are saying and am just being obtuse, but reasoning with me is effective in changing some of my actions. Do you mind confirming or reexplaining what you are saying? Thank you, and sorry for the thick head. :rolleye:
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
User avatar
freefall
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:17 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby genkaku » Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:42 am

Maybe the usual approach to meditation is to meditate in order to feel better. Certainly no one ever took up the practice in order to feel worse. But the fact of the matter is that in our lives, sometimes we feel better and sometimes we feel worse. Either way, things don't seem to get much better as far as uncertainty or sorrow is concerned.

Meditation is not about feeling better. It is not about feeling worse. It is about getting more sensible in our lives. This takes some determination, since feeling good and feeling bad is what we may be used to.

Expecting to get something from meditation is a sure-fire way of getting nothing very satisfactory. So maybe it is better -- to the extent possible -- to practice our practice and FIND OUT what happens rather than expecting something to happen. Just sit down and engage in whatever practice you prefer and -- instead of waiting for angels to descend or devils to attack -- just pay attention. When you pay attention, anything is possible ... and you are ready for anything.

Just my two cents.
User avatar
genkaku
 
Posts: 416
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:14 pm
Location: Northampton, Mass. U.S.A.

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby freefall » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:07 am

pretty sweet genkaku...go into meditation not expecting anything. I like that. Thanks...put a smile on my face. Sometimes I trap myself in thick coils of logic-nonsense.

Peter
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
User avatar
freefall
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:17 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:28 am

tips from ajahn brahm

Tips for meditation

1) Relax - Start by relaxing your body physically, removing any tension in your muscles. Then imagine transferring that same action of relaxing your body to relaxing your mind.

2) Let go - Don't try to gain anything or get rid of anything through your meditation.

3) Do nothing - The more you try to control the mind, the stiffer it becomes and the less suited for meditation. Just do nothing and leave the mind alone and it will become still on its own.

4) Be kind and gentle to yourself - Adopt a kind and gentle attitude in your meditation. Don't be too forceful with your body and mind. Don't try too hard or be too impatient. Gently and softly is the fastest way.

5) Focus on the how, not the what - The trick in meditation is not to focus on what you're experiencing but how you're experiencing it. What's more important than the object of meditation is how you are relating to the object (see number 6).

6) Give unconditional love to every moment - Another dimension of loving-kindness meditation (metta bhavana), in addition to giving unconditional love to yourself and other beings, is giving unconditional love to every moment. Open the door of your heart to whatever you're experiencing in your mind and body, whether it is comfort or pain, calm or restlessness, alertness or torpor, etc.

7) Keep theory and practice in balance - Theory is like a map, practice is like a flashlight. Both are needed to find treasure, but both have to be kept in balance.

8) Enjoy meditation!
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
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby Element » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:10 am

freefall wrote:When I meditate it feels intolerable.

FF

Generally, everyone starts like this. Keep meditating until it become tolerable. The 'intolerable' is impermanent and ends quickly enough if you have aspiration for peace.

Best wishes

E
Element
 

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby freefall » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:28 pm

Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I find it helpful.
Peter :meditate:
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
User avatar
freefall
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:17 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby clw_uk » Wed Feb 11, 2009 5:04 pm

Element pretty much hit the nail on the head. When I first started it was tough and could only sit for 15 minutes each day but I kept patiently practising and over time my meditation deepend and the sitting sessions lasted longer. Didnt plan for them to it just comes around naturally.

Just keep meditating and be patient, dont beat yourself up to much. Mediation is actually a very natural thing, you will find you ease into it in no time :smile:


:namaste:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby nathan » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:31 pm

freefall wrote:Do you mind confirming or reexplaining what you are saying? Thank you, and sorry for the thick head.
Sure, I'm willing to elaborate. I just find that I can tend to go on and on and on searching for a way to say something in a better way and I probably am more clear if I can say something in a very few words. Everyone is correct in telling you to set aside expectations but they are likely well aware of many things of which you may not be aware. Things you need to understand. You can live life with out any expectations at all if you are willing to accept whatever happens and you do not care what happens. Does this describe you? Or do you expect more? Do you expect that if you are well instructed and well trained that you will be able to get a job done or do you expect that you can just go apply for any job in the world and be just as qualified to do it as the next guy? Does this make sense to you?

1.That implies that when I am meditating I am looking at myself from a perspective that can effectively measure and define who I am.

With meditation we are working towards having that perspective, we start from where we are. We get there by practicing in a very specific way and not just by "whatever way we feel like". We practice with one thing foremost in mind. This body, these sensations, feelings, thoughts, everything, is not me. We just look at our body and mind as if it is all alien, a complete unknown, because it is. So long as we keep this prime directive foremost in our minds we will always and increasingly see that this is true and we will eventually arrive at full understanding of what we are.

We are not working towards a self definition, we are fixing a broken machine and yes, some parts are worth keeping and some parts are better thrown away. If we see this we benefit, if not we remain confused.

2. You seem to be saying the examined (with calm and insight) life diminishes the frequency/severity of unpurposeful events in addition to creating understanding about what is best for ourselves.

Not merely purposeless but unwholesome, unhealthy and harmful thoughts, speech and action which will hurt us and can easily destroy us. Furthermore we discover how wholesome, healthy and beneficial thoughts, speech and action will heal us and bring us immeasurable joy, peace, knowledge and wisdom.

3. What isn't our feelings and thoughts?

This goes back to the first point. You have to see for yourself. The Buddha and those who have likewise fully known and understood for themselves all assure us that none of it is ours. I am quite convinced, even though I still see very little, but I have put some time into looking. When we sit to meditate or when we walk and meditate or as we work through our day we naturally have assumed that all of it is me, myself and mine. The body is mine, the sensations are mine, the feelings are mine, all that is sensed is my experience, the thoughts are mine; it is all me and mine. That is the natural, untrained assumption and even more than this we will be held accountable by everyone else for all of that. So whether it is ours or not so we are compelled to think, feel and act as if it is me, myself and mine just to get through life in this world.

Because this is our natural practice, we know nothing else unless we practice something else. When we sit down to practice as if none of what is in or of the body and mind in whole or in part is me, we have no choice but to put up with the patterns of continuing to identify with all of it almost entirely. We train to give up that practice and adopt a new one. So usually we continue to assume that some or all of the feelings are me or some or all of the thoughts are me or that the awareness which can observe the thoughts and feelings are me. In fact none of it is me, not a single molecule or even one wisp of awareness, none of it. But we don't even realize how much of it is completely hidden to that awareness. So every time something new is felt or thought or comes to awareness we immediately jump on it and think "ah, this is new, this is very pleasant, this must be me". Or else we think, "uhhgh, this again, this is unpleasant, I don't want this to be in me, I don't want to look at this, I want this to go away" or whatever. Continuing on in this way we continue to remain blind and unwise even after a million years of meditation.

When we study the Buddha's teaching we are being blessed by the teachings of the greatest meditator we have ever known of and he makes very clear, in comprehensive detail, how to proceed. We are always, always, always, to consider all things that we observe in our body and mind and even all things that are observing those other things to be NOT ME, NOT MYSELF and NOT MINE. If we practice this always, everything is meditation. If we do not do this, we are not meditating as the Buddha taught and so we cannot expect to gain the benefits or the wisdom that comes from following the path he showed us.

I can only refer you to the Buddha's teachings. Go directly to these. Read. Ponder. Consider and act on these teachings. No one here or anyone else can teach you better. I am sure of it and I am sure you would see this as well. When you understand better what the Buddha is teaching us all, then it will be easier for you to benefit from the things that other followers here and elsewhere have also learned from following the Buddha's teaching and taking steps to walk that path.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby fijiNut » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:52 am

Meditation is something you don't have to do. It should be something that you want to do.
So you have to convince yourself, have some faith in the Triple Gem.
Yes, the Buddha was fully enlightened, yes, the Dhamma was well expounded, and yes, the Sangha has achieved the achieved the aspired results through practice.
Convince yourself that meditation and Nibbanna is the heart of Buddhism, a process of self purification.
Every time you sit, you set a cause for future success, and little by little you chip away at the defilements of the mind.
And little by little you find some more peace and happiness, in yourself which overflows into your work, your friends and your family.
Don't take anybody's word for it, see for yourself.
Only when you see the benefits of meditation (bhavana) for yourself, will you really want to sit (even if your hair was on fire).

Wishing you all the best on the Path,
fijiNut
fijiNut
 
Posts: 122
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 2:11 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby nathan » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:07 am

fijiNut wrote:Meditation is something you don't have to do. It should be something that you want to do.
So you have to convince yourself, have some faith in the Triple Gem.
Yes, the Buddha was fully enlightened, yes, the Dhamma was well expounded, and yes, the Sangha has achieved the achieved the aspired results through practice.
Convince yourself that meditation and Nibbanna is the heart of Buddhism, a process of self purification.
Every time you sit, you set a cause for future success, and little by little you chip away at the defilements of the mind.
And little by little you find some more peace and happiness, in yourself which overflows into your work, your friends and your family.
Don't take anybody's word for it, see for yourself.
Only when you see the benefits of meditation (bhavana) for yourself, will you really want to sit (even if your hair was on fire).

Wishing you all the best on the Path,
fijiNut
We can't deny either that there is nothing that MUST be done. Draw air maybe? If one wishes to live. I am sure you mean as I do that IF one wishes to meditate then one needs to understand how and the Buddha's teachings show us how by studying the teachings. Then IF we meditate will have the opportunity to see if by this means we will see and know in some same way rightly and truly also. As we begin and persist unknowingly we will require some faith that we will see and know better and when we then do see and know better we will be increasingly convinced by this same knowing and understanding.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
nathan
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:11 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby freefall » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:33 am

I would like to thank nathan and fijiNut for their insights and responding to my request for help. It seems that what you are saying nathan is: It would be beneficial to enter a ongoing meditation of "unidentification". Also since in fact I do believe in the raft of the triple gem (a belief that is not entirely complacent but occassionaly there is activity attempting to disprove the triple gem) that it would be useful to enter into a more knowledgeable/experienced understanding of it. It is true my knowledge is very small, slightly more than an U.S. American pop culture understanding of BUDDHISM. My experience has allowed me to have a good grasp of the first three noble truths. An active appreciation of the 8 fold path, like meditation, is something I have chronically put off with my many adventures in distraction land. I have put off that understanding because from where I sit, i would rather not do the work, but have just one more distraction, which I am addicted to as well as any addict can be addicted to anything. Sadly for me I have too much awareness of the unreality of things coupled with a basic understanding that sweet eternal love is the One, and the One is All. That makes me a hypocrite, and I know it. Because I know it, and know it well, I understand the first three of the noble truths. I am here to recieve encouragement from the Sangha to live up to what are now my responsibilities, since I know certain things. It seems that the best way to move forward here, in light of my addiction to distraction and innate laziness, is to meditate, do what good Buddhists do by observing at least the layman's precepts, form closer ties with the Buddhist Sangha in my area, study formal Buddhist theology and remember not to claim as my identity anything. How am I doing? Am I on the path? Should I be a monk? More to the point, how the hell am I going get off this crazy wheel of cause and effect that my addication to distraction has created? Each moment flies by in distraction but when wrestling with incorparating the dharma and meditation I would rather be dead. If I do manage to do combat with myself and meditate or read Buddhist theology I usually have a mind altering expansive experience. As you can guess I am not an idle curiosity seeker of the Asian secrets but a druggie with potential, different from the other druggies in that I know I am a druggie. Now I am embarassed. Moving on I will mediatate tonight because I am just sick enough of my shit to try again. Sorry about my drama. If it isn't my drama the whose is it?
Peter
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
User avatar
freefall
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:17 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby freefall » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:42 pm

I like the strata of bedrock found throughout the earth reflecting the billions of years. It doesn't lie and everything that is preserved there is a record of geology's change through time. My very last post is particularly humiliating but I will keep it, for at the time it was written, it felt true. If other's delete it, if it is never visited again, it still, in it's limited way existed and is a reflection of my process. I mean no harm to anyone, myself included and in fact wish universal peace for all being everywhere. :buddha2:
Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
User avatar
freefall
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:17 am

Re: minimum to no discipline...

Postby clw_uk » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:08 pm

It seems to me you are infactuated with sensual desire

My advice would be to step back, evalutate the reasons that are holding you back from the dhamma, investigate if those distractions really bring benefit or harm.

You say you feel aversion to meditation, ask yourself why, investigate it.

Dont rush investigation, take your time

Also dont be embarrased about your post, there is nothing to be embarrased about.


:namaste:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Next

Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], no mike and 0 guests