After a year of meditating....

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

Post by rumpledime »

I meditated on and off for 2 years, being derailed about every 2 months from "expecting results." Finally I got over that hurdle and for the past year have meditated daily without any expectations. That was a tough road in itself. But now, after a year of consistency I find some frustration kicking in due to the monkey mind. Random thoughts have never left my meditation. I doubt they ever will, but I still can't concentrate on the breath for more than a minute without getting caught up in a random thought. They aren't accompanied by any greed or hatred, just thoughts like "there were only 3 letters in the mail today, usually there are 10, our mail carrier is friendly, the kids sure like her, when will the kids wake up." You know what I mean. So I am beginning to wonder how I can ever reach deeper states of concentration. Will this monkey mind ever go away for more than a minute? Has anyone had experience like this? Help me Sangha.
coconut
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by coconut »

As long as there is no real sense restraint, there will never be contentedness, no matter how hard you try to glue your attention to your breath.
When you live with the ear … nose … tongue … body … mind faculty unrestrained, your mind becomes polluted when it comes to thoughts known by the mind. When the mind is polluted, there’s no joy. When there’s no joy, there’s no rapture. When there’s no rapture, there’s no tranquility. When there’s no tranquility, there’s suffering. When one is suffering, the mind does not become immersed in samādhi. When the mind is not immersed in samādhi, principles do not become clear. Because principles have not become clear, you’re considered to live negligently.
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.97/en/sujato

In other words, you have to follow the gradual training and the noble eightfold path in order. You cannot skip a step, and you need to properly understand each step.

Here's a good article on it https://believeinwhatyousee.com/2020/12 ... s-teaching

and this https://believeinwhatyousee.com/2021/01 ... breathing/
Last edited by coconut on Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by Ceisiwr »

rumpledime wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:47 pm I meditated on and off for 2 years, being derailed about every 2 months from "expecting results." Finally I got over that hurdle and for the past year have meditated daily without any expectations. That was a tough road in itself. But now, after a year of consistency I find some frustration kicking in due to the monkey mind. Random thoughts have never left my meditation. I doubt they ever will, but I still can't concentrate on the breath for more than a minute without getting caught up in a random thought. They aren't accompanied by any greed or hatred, just thoughts like "there were only 3 letters in the mail today, usually there are 10, our mail carrier is friendly, the kids sure like her, when will the kids wake up." You know what I mean. So I am beginning to wonder how I can ever reach deeper states of concentration. Will this monkey mind ever go away for more than a minute? Has anyone had experience like this? Help me Sangha.
You need to see how thoughts are coarse, a disturbance and dukkha and that the unity of perception of the breath is fine, peaceful and calming. Then your attention will become more and more wedded to the breath, like magnetism.
"Because of attachment to doctrines one approaches and refutes,
For those unattached, how can they dispute?
Not because self or no-self are said to be true,
He has only shaken off all harmful views."


Duṭṭhaṭṭhaka Sutta
Inedible
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by Inedible »

It is annoying to spend all your meditation time on thinking, but it is keeping you from falling into sloth and torpor. Or lethargy. It requires a great deal of skill to find the balance between too much energy and not enough.

One of the reasons the Vajrayana says it is a faster path is that it uses exercises to release blocks from the body. There are common places to hold tension such as the jaw, neck, shoulders, and stomach. The tension adds fuel to monkey mind. If you get some good body work done it will help with thinking.

Also, you could just let your mind run wild the first ten to fifteen minutes. Watch it without getting caught up in it. Trying to stop it just increases the tension. If you can let it go on its own you will feel better.
Alino
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by Alino »

Hello🙏

Thoughts and emotions are not the problem, the problem is to follow them, wanting to get rid of them, or distracting yourself from them.

As say Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro, "meditation is about awakening. If our aim is to get calm mind we will find all kind of distractions arise, if our aim is to have a bright and awaken mind - all fabrication will eventually disappear."
Our thoughts and emotions are the shadows of imperfections of our minds, if we put full light on them, shadows disappear.

Also you need to understand that supportive conditions of an monkey mind - is a monkey life. Chatter, problems, over stimulation of senses etc - all that make your mind wavering, and when there is waves - there's is shadows...

Solution here are: sense restraint and bright mind

PS Dont identify with your thoughts, they dont care about you, you dont exist for them, they dont ask you if they can appear or not, so dont blame yourself or feel guilty .. transcend them...

Be happy🙏😊
We don't live Samsara, Samsara is living us...

"Form, feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness - don't care about us, we don't exist for them"
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Sam Vara
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by Sam Vara »

rumpledime wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:47 pm I meditated on and off for 2 years, being derailed about every 2 months from "expecting results." Finally I got over that hurdle and for the past year have meditated daily without any expectations. That was a tough road in itself. But now, after a year of consistency I find some frustration kicking in due to the monkey mind. Random thoughts have never left my meditation. I doubt they ever will, but I still can't concentrate on the breath for more than a minute without getting caught up in a random thought. They aren't accompanied by any greed or hatred, just thoughts like "there were only 3 letters in the mail today, usually there are 10, our mail carrier is friendly, the kids sure like her, when will the kids wake up." You know what I mean. So I am beginning to wonder how I can ever reach deeper states of concentration. Will this monkey mind ever go away for more than a minute? Has anyone had experience like this? Help me Sangha.
Yes, you describe with accuracy a common and persistent issue. If people claim to have completely solved this in their meditation, I suspect they are not entirely truthful.

My advice is to try focusing on something which is radically different from the inane mental chatter, and see how that goes. Counting works well. Or maybe try a mantra like "Buddho". The idea is to stick with that until the mind stops wandering, and then move to a more subtle object.

The Samatha Trust teaches a method like that, which you might be interested in. They are based in the UK, but do online courses.
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mjaviem
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by mjaviem »

People, what do you exactly mean by sense restraint? The suggestion makes sense to me but don't know what can be done (living a regular, non-monastic life)
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa
SarathW
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by SarathW »

rumpledime wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:47 pm I meditated on and off for 2 years, being derailed about every 2 months from "expecting results." Finally I got over that hurdle and for the past year have meditated daily without any expectations. That was a tough road in itself. But now, after a year of consistency I find some frustration kicking in due to the monkey mind. Random thoughts have never left my meditation. I doubt they ever will, but I still can't concentrate on the breath for more than a minute without getting caught up in a random thought. They aren't accompanied by any greed or hatred, just thoughts like "there were only 3 letters in the mail today, usually there are 10, our mail carrier is friendly, the kids sure like her, when will the kids wake up." You know what I mean. So I am beginning to wonder how I can ever reach deeper states of concentration. Will this monkey mind ever go away for more than a minute? Has anyone had experience like this? Help me Sangha.
Good news is, in my opinion, that you are progressing in your meditation. You have just defeated the first Mara and under the sway of the second Mara "Arathi"
The bad news is you got another nine Mara to overcome.
I do not have a solution for you as I myself struggle with the same issue but I got ten Mara to overcome!
:D

https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=35806
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
sunnat
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Post by sunnat »

a thought has arisen.
there is thinking.
the mind wandered.
Awareness is back... a thought has arisen, there is thinking, the thought is not mine, not I, not my self... a thought has arisen, there is thinking... The thought was illwill... May I be happy, may all beings be happy... the thought was lust... The body is a suppurating, decaying bag of piss and shit... The mind wanders... awareness returns... There is thought... etc thus train to note and let go of each moment
JohnK
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by JohnK »

rumpledime wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:47 pm ...I still can't concentrate on the breath for more than a minute without getting caught up in a random thought...
It seems that perhaps you are not engaged enough with the breath -- not gluing your attention to it.
There are ways to enhance this, for example, "All the way in," "All the way out." (Or counting.)
Thanissaro Bhikkhu offers methods that engage the mind by visualizing the breath in a number of ways, just for example, visualizing breathing in through the back of the neck and into the shoulders and arms, and then out through the hands and fingers. To do this, the mind must be engaged and so less prone to getting "caught up" in random thoughts that may arise.
Here are a few guided breath meditations of his:
https://www.dhammatalks.org/mp3_guidedMed_index.html
Good luck.
:anjali:
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]
Alino
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by Alino »

Today's Yellow Page Teaching
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We don't live Samsara, Samsara is living us...

"Form, feelings, perceptions, formations, consciousness - don't care about us, we don't exist for them"
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mjaviem
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by mjaviem »

Alino wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:10 am Today's Yellow Page Teaching
Perfect. I just read Coconut's post again:
coconut wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:28 pm As long as there is no real sense restraint, there will never be contentedness...
...
Here's a good article on it https://believeinwhatyousee.com/2020/12 ... s-teaching
...
So, you two, already answered my question:
mjaviem wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:51 am People, what do you exactly mean by sense restraint? The suggestion makes sense to me but don't know what can be done (living a regular, non-monastic life)
Sense restraint is about being content with little and seeing things as correct without greed or aversion.

Thank you guys for this and other posts of yours on this forum where you share good answers, links and quotes. :bow:
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhassa
coconut
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by coconut »

mjaviem wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:04 pm
Alino wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 10:10 am Today's Yellow Page Teaching
Perfect. I just read Coconut's post again:
coconut wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:28 pm As long as there is no real sense restraint, there will never be contentedness...
...
Here's a good article on it https://believeinwhatyousee.com/2020/12 ... s-teaching
...
So, you two, already answered my question:
mjaviem wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 2:51 am People, what do you exactly mean by sense restraint? The suggestion makes sense to me but don't know what can be done (living a regular, non-monastic life)
Sense restraint is about being content with little and seeing things as correct without greed or aversion.

Thank you guys for this and other posts of yours on this forum where you share good answers, links and quotes. :bow:
No problem, some more food for thought.

Perception is the root place where pollution is stored and where mindfulnes is needed:

When you live with the ear … nose … tongue … body … mind faculty unrestrained, your mind becomes polluted when it comes to thoughts known by the mind. When the mind is polluted, there’s no joy. When there’s no joy, there’s no rapture. When there’s no rapture, there’s no tranquility. When there’s no tranquility, there’s suffering. When one is suffering, the mind does not become immersed in samādhi. When the mind is not immersed in samādhi, principles do not become clear. Because principles have not become clear, you’re considered to live negligently.
https://suttacentral.net/sn35.97/en/sujato


And from Ven Varado's pali glossary on the term Sanna:
Mental images are the source of thought:

Because of mental imagery of visible objects, thought about visible objects arises

Rūpasaññaṃ paṭicca uppajjati rūpasaṅkappo.
...
Ascetics must overcome unvirtuous mental imagery:

If any ascetic or Brahmanist does not quickly abandon, dispel, put an end to, and eradicate unvirtuous mental imagery that has arisen in him, he abides unhappily in this very lifetime.
..
One who abstains from sensuous mental imagery, who has transcended all ties to individual existence, with spiritually fettering delight in individual existence destroyed, he does not sink in the deep.'
https://pali-glossary.github.io/content ... 1n%C4%81ti


Therefore one needs to be aware of mental images before they become thoughts, before thoughts become speech, action, habits and lifestyle.

One needs to see how sense-contact become "agreeable" and "disagreeable" which is the creation of craving.
2600htz
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by 2600htz »

Hi:

Just dont do the same thing expecting different result.

Most common mistake is meditating everyday but always doing only 20-40 minute sessions. Try longer periods, 2, 3 hrs, if your body cant take it just stretch every half hour for a couple of minutes and restart the practice.

If that doesnt lead to new experiences try working on the 5 precepts or doing group sittings retreat mode.

Regards.
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Sam Vara
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Re: After a year of meditating....

Post by Sam Vara »

coconut wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:49 pm
One needs to see how sense-contact become "agreeable" and "disagreeable" which is the creation of craving.
I think this is excellent advice. Very hard to do, but excellent all the same as a summary of a very important practice. :anjali:
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