Giving up....

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

Post by Sanjay PS »

Hello Myotai ,

Nice to know that you have attributes by way of a caring family :smile: Once again i am sure this state of mind is just a blowing wind which will soon run out of its strength , in turn replaced by a gentler more workable mind .

i was looking for a post which i had recently came across , by one of the renowned teachers of Vipassana , Goenkaji . Was not able to locate it , however , from what i recall reading , the advise to deal with these states of mind was to let the awareness be limited to the extremities ( palms of the hands and feet ) , and in feeling the sensations that are happening there . If this does not help , taking intentional hard breaths for 5-10 minutes , may help . Another aid may be to simply scan the body from head to feet and feet to head rapidly for about 5 -10 minutes , without trying to focus on the sensations in each part of the body as the mind traverses up and down . The mind will eventually calm down , and then one can revert back to the normal sitting or walking awareness .

The above may be of help , should one have done a guided 10 day course in Vipassana . If not , this would just add to the confusion , please forgive me , should this be the case . There are wonderful advises given in this post , by people who have been there where are you are , and i think we will find ourselves very normally in these kind of situations again , and we will then look forward to your help and guidance :smile:

sanjay
Last edited by Sanjay PS on Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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mikenz66
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Re: Giving up....

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Myotai,
Myotai wrote:
robertk wrote: ...
Ok I might be confused about this. Is the aim to be good at meditation or to understand the present moment as you see it?
...
Please don't hijack my request for advice and assistance by turning into a platform for your reticence to accept that the Buddha talk sitting meditation. ...
I think that Robert's question is actually a good one, no matter what approach one is taking. We all have a tendency to think that "successful" meditation is when we feel good afterwards, whereas the reason for doing it in the first place is to develop understanding, not just pleasant feelings.

:anjali:
Mike
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Myotai
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Myotai »

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Myotai,
Myotai wrote:
robertk wrote: ...
Ok I might be confused about this. Is the aim to be good at meditation or to understand the present moment as you see it?
...
Please don't hijack my request for advice and assistance by turning into a platform for your reticence to accept that the Buddha talk sitting meditation. ...
I think that Robert's question is actually a good one, no matter what approach one is taking. We all have a tendency to think that "successful" meditation is when we feel good afterwards, whereas the reason for doing it in the first place is to develop understanding, not just pleasant feelings.

:anjali:
Mike
Of course he has a good point. I just know that as someone who doesn't subscribe to formal sitting meditation he's not likely to understand the issue at hand. I meant no harm in my request. Just trying to keep things on topic.
Spiny Norman
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Spiny Norman »

Myotai wrote: Of course he has a good point. I just know that as someone who doesn't subscribe to formal sitting meditation he's not likely to understand the issue at hand. I meant no harm in my request. Just trying to keep things on topic.
:goodpost:
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Anagarika
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Anagarika »

Myotai wrote:Hi all,

One of the things that might be contributing to my issue is a feeling that Anapanasati has become somewhat of a nut I have to crack. The problem is I find it extremely difficult to do. I have been practicing for many years in another tradition and am competent at different methods. But since coming to the Theravada I have found Anapana does nothing but makes me feel drowsy and almost induces tiredness and lack of focus. Is that possible?

When I practiced Zen I found 'just sitting' useful as there was no pressure to focus on anything. Just a subtle bare awareness of all that was happening in that moment. I moved to Theravada as I became disillusioned with the goalessness concept and Dogens insistence that merely sitting was itself enlightenment and nothing more was required. I begged to differ!

I love the Theravada, the chants, history, iconography but seem unable to find a practice similar to that I had in Zen.

Cake and eat it syndrome!

Thanks again for listening _/|\_
Myotai, I, and I am sure many of us here can, know exactly from where you are coming. Many have come from a Zen practice (like Starbucks, a Zen center on nearly every corner in the west :) ), found the traditions and authenticity of the Theravada and the teachings of the Pali Canon Buddha to be the truest path. Like quantum physics, there aren't that many people that study Theravada...to me, the Pali Canon establishes the same authentic and practical foundation as modern physics does, but the Theravada does not have the same buzz, the same brand, as Soto Zen, for example has in the US. Go to Thailand, as I have done, and I promise you the Theravada world will explode like fireworks in the sky, with magnificent wats, learned monks and nuns, a widespread Forest Tradition that lives as the Buddha's monks and nuns did, and an educated lay culture. Living in Thailand, or traveling to a western Wat like San Diego's Wat Metta, has helped me illuminate what can be a very solitary practice.

I have found that it if I can't surround myself with a Sangha of Theravadins, I use the internet to surround myself at home with a teacher. I will sit and take 30 minutes to listen to something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4NR3nn ... blQY2cC6_A I have traveled to San Diego to Wat Metta to hang out with Thanissaro Bhikkhu and his excellent monks, but as he is unwilling to accompany me back to my home in Chicago, I use technology to bring him ( as well as Ajahns Brahm, Sujato, Brahmali, and others) into my sitting area. His teachings on Anapanasati, as in the video, can be helpful keeping the mind mindful and free of burdensome thoughts. Some days, it's too difficult to cultivate the sati needed for skillful meditation without the aid of a teacher's voice.

Myotai, your mileage may vary as they say, but like many things in life, the best path is not the easiest or the friendliest. The Buddha promoted community, but he also promoted the idea of reclusiveness, and the discipline needed to cultivate a meditation practice. I feel as though you're hitting the same "walls" that many of us do, and with some help and support, the journey you're on will take to to the right destinations.
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Roseland
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Roseland »

Hi Myotai, :hello:

I am a beginner struggling on my own, without any local friends to consult. This forum has been a huge help forward.

I got nowhere with watching the breath and did not know what to do. I even felt much more 'centred' when I previously used to go to a local Quaker meeting and just plonk among people occasionally leaping up to say a few words. It didn't help that I have issues about relaxing with breathing, having reduced lung capacity.

I turned instead to Kasina meditation. I didn't get any where near calm with that either, but it made a fundamental difference in that the object kept my attention without my feeling stressed and bothered. That was a good step forward. I started to enjoy meditation and kept investigating methods available.

I read about the different meditation objects that I could use and was greatly attracted to metta. I can now 'tether' my mind whilst being very interested in the object -goodwill towards myself and others. I feel good instead of irritated and you can imagine that is much more encouraging. It is early days yet, but I am hopeful and continuing this practice.

If you are stuck with mediation on breathing, you may find that an alternative meditation object is better for you or gives you the break you need.

All good wishes,

Roseland :namaste:
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Alex123
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Alex123 »

Hello Myotai,

I have somewhat similar problem, despite years of practice, I still do have too many thoughts.


Have you tried meditation where you practice being aware (without trying to stop) of thoughts and hindrances? That is a valid practice described in satipatthana and may even be better than blissing out and becoming almost like a tree stump (no that there is anything wrong with getting into blissful states, the goal is ultimately insight).
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
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Myotai
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Myotai »

Its all a bit of a mush at the moment....in the middle of one of those times were I need to focus on some praticalities in my life that are going to go away unaddressed - like money!!!

I am trying to sit but its even harder now I am having to deal with this other stuff.

I am at the moment 'just sitting' and being aware of what ever comes up trying to see it as nothing that needs to be addressed or pushed away.

I know, sounds more like Soto than Theravada...its working though at the moment so I'm not knocking it!

:anjali:
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Alex123
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Alex123 »

Myotai wrote: I am at the moment 'just sitting' and being aware of what ever comes up trying to see it as nothing that needs to be addressed or pushed away.
I know, sounds more like Soto than Theravada...its working though at the moment so I'm not knocking it!
:anjali:

Well, it is part of Satipatthana sutta
"And how does a monk remain focused on the mind in & of itself? There is the case where a monk, when the mind has passion, discerns that the mind has passion. When the mind is without passion, he discerns that the mind is without passion. [alex: repeat the same for other qualities]

Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to the mind, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to the mind, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to the mind. Or his mindfulness that 'There is a mind' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
AN 7.38 (7) Analytical Knowledges (1)
"Bhikkhus, when he possesses seven qualities, a bhikkhu might soon realize for himself with direct knowledge the four analytical knowledges and acquire mastery over them. What seven?

"Here, (1) a bhikkhu understands as it really is: 'This is mental sluggishness in me (2) Or when the mind is constricted internally, he understands as it really is: 'My mind is constricted internally (3) Or when his mind is distracted externally, he understands as it really is: 'My mind is distracted externally.' (4) He knows feelings as they arise, as they remain present, as they disappear; (5) he knows perceptions as they arise, as they remain present, as they disappear; (6) he knows thoughts as they arise, as they remain present, as they disappear. (7) Then, among qualities suitable and unsuitable, inferior and superior, dark and bright along with their counterparts, he has grasped the mark well, attended to it well, reflected upon it well, and penetrated it well with wisdom. When he possesses these seven qualities, a bhikkhu might soon realize for himself with direct knowledge the four analytical knowledges and acquire mastery over them ."
Obviously one can't do the above if one is totally concentrated on one point with thinking, will, and senses totally off.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."
Digity
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Digity »

Maybe you should sit less.. Try sitting for just 15 minutes a day and then work your way back up to your longer sits.

I've had dry spells that lasted a while, but six months does seem a lot. I think rather than giving up you should use this experience to understand your mind better. Experiment to see what's driving your mind to be so hectic. Maybe you need to change things in your life. Maybe you need to stop hanging around certain people, etc.
Thisperson
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Thisperson »

Myotai wrote:
robertk wrote: My understanding of Buddhism in a nutshell is that he taught Suffering and the end of Suffering. Not a perfected indifference to suffering.

I appreciate the difference in pleasant and unpleasant - but I also understanding when I am banging my head against a brick wall and getting nowhere -pleae don't get all Zen on me and talk about the goalessness of it all - we ALL have goals no matter how you dress it.

If the car doesn't start do you just sit there or do something about it - the latter I presume.

:anjali:
To paraphrase Thanissaro Bhikkhu, goals are helpful when they come from a place of aspiration rather than craving. In our practice we can aspire to be like the Buddha or noble beings by acting skillfuilly (meditating regularly, practicing mindfulness, practicing metta and generosity). On the other hand, if you sit and crave results, you will surely suffer. The second noble truth states that suffering comes from craving. Craving for sense pleasure, craving for becoming and craving for not becoming. Can you see any of that in what you are experiencing now? Try to really see with mindfulness your own minds craving and the effect that it has. Your own minds craving is what is leading to your own frustration.
More on the second noble truth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samudaya_sacca

You are right to be fed up with your practice as it seems like you are approaching it from the wrong angle. You have been sitting down and meditating trying to get results and get frustrated and then wanting to quit. Try to take a step back and witness this process. This is mindfulness, watching how these frustrating and unskillful cycles take place and originate.

You may want to practice a guided metta meditation on its own or prior to watching your breath. This can help by shifting your perspective away from "me" and more towards others. Here's a link to several different short guided metta meditations given by Ayya Khema.
http://ayyakhematalks.org/Loving_Kindne ... assic.html
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m0rl0ck
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Re: Giving up....

Post by m0rl0ck »

Myotai wrote:

I really don't know what to do. I am losing faith.

_/|\_
Sometimes all you can do is just give up your expectations, keep putting one foot in front of the other and carry on in spite of yourself.

Good Luck :)
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig
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Aloka
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Aloka »

Hi Myotai,

You could try Ajahn Jayasaro's youtube series of "Buddhist Meditation" videos. Each set of instructions is just a few minutes long.

This one is the introduction:



There's also a helpful little meditation booklet by Ajahn Amaro which you might like . Its called "Finding the Missing Peace" :

http://www.amaravati.org/downloads/pdf/ ... _peace.pdf

With kind regards,

Aloka
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Myotai
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Myotai »

You are of course absolutely right. It almost definitely has to do with my approach...
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Kumara
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Re: Giving up....

Post by Kumara »

daverupa wrote:Can you redirect this scattered rumination towards recollecting your wholesome actions of the past, and wholesome intentions in the now for the future, in order to help build a sense of calm confidence? What about noting the mind's static as a fact, instead of in contradistinction to preference?
Yes, a directed practice is what I would recommend in this case, following the Buddha's instruction in SN47.10.

My translation:
While he dwells in the body as a body-contemplator [similarly for feelings, mind and mind-objects], either a burning in the body—based on the body [similarly for feelings, mind and mind-objects]—or mental sluggishness arises, or the mind is scattered outwardly. Then, Ānanda, the mind is to be directed to some inspiring theme (pasādanīye nimitte). For one who directs his mind to some inspiring theme, gladness is born. For one who is gladdened, joy is born. For one of joyful mind, the body calms down. One whose body has calmed down feels happy. Being happy (sukhino), the mind is collected (samādhiyati). He reflects (paṭisañcikkhati) thus, “The purpose for which I directed the mind has been accomplished. So now I withdraw it.” He withdraws, and neither thinks nor considers (na ca vitakketi na ca vicāreti). He discerns (pajānāti), “Without thinking (avitakka), without considering (avicāra), I am internally mindful (ajjhattaṁ satimā), I am happy.” Thus, Ananda, there is cultivation after having directed (paṇidhāya bhāvanā).
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