Bringing the mind to stillness

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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ShanYin
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Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by ShanYin »

I'm not sure if anyone here has experience with neuroleptics, severe mental illness label and meditation or dharma in general.

But I want to experience stillness. I want the mind to become still in order to feel peace. To feel like I am not experiencing any problems or that I see through my problems.

I talked to a teacher who said it was OK to meditate, and probably to stay away from vipassana and just do Samatha.

Is samatha a good technique for stillness?

To put it another way I want to transform the way I experience thoughts. Right now I feel pulled by my brain to do things and I feel like I am acting unconciously. I have alot of anxiety that seems to be subdued when I acknowledge it or express it to someone too. :zzz:

I also feel that stillness is a healthy thing. :shock:

I struggle with samatha and almost feel like my teachers advice was not right, that I should be trying to see my experiences for what they are through labeling vipassana, or just vipassana that doesn't label and just notices things as they arise.
ShanYin
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by ShanYin »

The farthest I have got with the samatha lately (over the past few months) has been the sensation of being in the here and now, that the present moment is all there is. I don't seem to be experiencing thoughts clearly and my belly is hard to concentrate on because I am having alot of thoughts about meditation instructions during my meditation.
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one_awakening
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by one_awakening »

If you want stillness them you want to practice Samatha where you train your mind to notice thoughts and let them be. Vipassana is not a practice, it's a quality of mind to be cultivated, the quality of wisdom.
“You only lose what you cling to”
bodhifollower
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by bodhifollower »

Practice both and see which one gives the better results.

If you practice insight, note that thoughts, thinking, thinking, or thought, thought, see it's just a thought. See it's nature, it's arises and then ceases, it is like a cloud, it has no core, no substance, it's just made out of awareness, like the cloud is made out of water vapor. Contemplate that each thought is impermanent, that is unsatisfying, and that it is not yourself. Can you say, let my thought be this or that? No, so therefore, is not myself. Contemplate this.

If you practice tranquility, focus on your breath, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out. Nothing to think about, nothing to do, breathing in, breathing out. When you get distracted by a thought, bring the attention back to the breath, breathing in, breathing out. Don't be pulled by each thought, they are not the concern right now. Right now, it's just about breathing in, and breathing out, leave the past behind, don't dwell on the future, keep your mind present, breath in, breath out.

Or focus on the sensations in your body, or focus on the thought, may all beings be joyful.

Blessings to you, may all your wishes be fulfilled.
Laurens
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by Laurens »

I think one of the foremost things that meditators need to understand is that the brain secretes thoughts. That's just what it does. The saliva glands secrete saliva, the stomach secretes gastric juices, the brain secretes thoughts.

You cannot make the brain stop it's secretions through force of will. This will result in confusion and frustration. What you absolutely can do is alter your relationship to thoughts. Rather than being enamored with them, or wanting them to go away, just realise 'its just another mind fart'. Look at what happens to thoughts once you direct your attention away from them and back to the meditation object. They vanish without a trace. You can teach yourself not to be so influenced by such insubstantial things that have no real substance.

Don't become frustrated by them. It's just the brain doing what it does. I say all this because some people approach Samatha meditation like an exercise in forceful thought suppression. But it's more like an exercise in persistence, and loving patience. Like training a persistently defiant monkey. All you have to do is bring yourself back every time you get caught in the secretions of your brain, and do that as many times as you need to, without thinking you can't do it, or becoming frustrated. Every time you come back to your object of meditation that is a beautiful moment of awareness, it should be appreciated and cherished rather than thinking 'ugh I messed up again, I can't do this...'

Best of luck.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

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Dhamma Chameleon
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by Dhamma Chameleon »

ShanYin wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:53 am I'm not sure if anyone here has experience with neuroleptics, severe mental illness label and meditation or dharma in general.

...

I talked to a teacher who said it was OK to meditate, and probably to stay away from vipassana and just do Samatha.

Is samatha a good technique for stillness?
...:

I struggle with samatha and almost feel like my teachers advice was not right, that I should be trying to see my experiences for what they are through labeling vipassana, or just vipassana that doesn't label and just notices things as they arise.
Hi there, just a note of caution- if you have (severe) mental illness samatha practice may actually be contra-indicated as it can induce loss of touch with reality, disassociation and psychosis. Mindfulness is the safest option and sufficient for progress. Good luck.
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confusedlayman
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by confusedlayman »

Dont worry ... just do the buddho meditation.. breath in BUD.. breath out DHO... do it for 10 min and enter calm...

look the below video where he teach at end

dont think
ShanYin
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by ShanYin »

Dhamma Chameleon wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:59 am
ShanYin wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:53 am I'm not sure if anyone here has experience with neuroleptics, severe mental illness label and meditation or dharma in general.

...

I talked to a teacher who said it was OK to meditate, and probably to stay away from vipassana and just do Samatha.

Is samatha a good technique for stillness?
...:

I struggle with samatha and almost feel like my teachers advice was not right, that I should be trying to see my experiences for what they are through labeling vipassana, or just vipassana that doesn't label and just notices things as they arise.
Hi there, just a note of caution- if you have (severe) mental illness samatha practice may actually be contra-indicated as it can induce loss of touch with reality, disassociation and psychosis. Mindfulness is the safest option and sufficient for progress. Good luck.
Is that sort of the opposite of what I was told? (to do samatha).
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Dhamma Chameleon
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by Dhamma Chameleon »

ShanYin wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:14 pm Is that sort of the opposite of what I was told? (to do samatha).
It sounds like it. I do not know your mental health situation but if there are problems such as anxiety, depression or trauma it is best to be under the guidance of a mental health informed teacher if you want to try samatha practice https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/artic ... -dangerous
KenD
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by KenD »

Laurens wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:30 am I think one of the foremost things that meditators need to understand is that the brain secretes thoughts. That's just what it does. The saliva glands secrete saliva, the stomach secretes gastric juices, the brain secretes thoughts.

You cannot make the brain stop it's secretions through force of will. This will result in confusion and frustration. What you absolutely can do is alter your relationship to thoughts. Rather than being enamored with them, or wanting them to go away, just realise 'its just another mind fart'. Look at what happens to thoughts once you direct your attention away from them and back to the meditation object. They vanish without a trace. You can teach yourself not to be so influenced by such insubstantial things that have no real substance.

Don't become frustrated by them. It's just the brain doing what it does. I say all this because some people approach Samatha meditation like an exercise in forceful thought suppression. But it's more like an exercise in persistence, and loving patience. Like training a persistently defiant monkey. All you have to do is bring yourself back every time you get caught in the secretions of your brain, and do that as many times as you need to, without thinking you can't do it, or becoming frustrated. Every time you come back to your object of meditation that is a beautiful moment of awareness, it should be appreciated and cherished rather than thinking 'ugh I messed up again, I can't do this...'

Best of luck.
:goodpost:

Thank you for this useful insight on the practice of serenity meditation.
MN 118
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NuanceOfSuchness
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by NuanceOfSuchness »

confusedlayman wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:59 am
Something tells me the monk is not smiling for the photograph.

:jumping:
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confusedlayman
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by confusedlayman »

NuanceOfSuchness wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:09 pm
confusedlayman wrote: Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:59 am
Something tells me the monk is not smiling for the photograph.

:jumping:
He looks natural to me
dont think
SteRo
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by SteRo »

ShanYin wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:53 am I'm not sure if anyone here has experience with neuroleptics, severe mental illness label and meditation or dharma in general.

But I want to experience stillness. I want the mind to become still in order to feel peace. To feel like I am not experiencing any problems or that I see through my problems.

I talked to a teacher who said it was OK to meditate, and probably to stay away from vipassana and just do Samatha.

Is samatha a good technique for stillness?

To put it another way I want to transform the way I experience thoughts. Right now I feel pulled by my brain to do things and I feel like I am acting unconciously. I have alot of anxiety that seems to be subdued when I acknowledge it or express it to someone too. :zzz:

I also feel that stillness is a healthy thing. :shock:

I struggle with samatha and almost feel like my teachers advice was not right, that I should be trying to see my experiences for what they are through labeling vipassana, or just vipassana that doesn't label and just notices things as they arise.
The ordinary approach is "I want to have this or that. What shall I do to attain it?" But this approach oversees that often nothing has to be done, i.e. it is doing and planning to do which actually obstructs. So it is with stillness. When nothing is done there is stillness. The challenge is to do nothing at all.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ
skandha
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by skandha »

Ajahn Brahm has often used the analogy of a hand holding a glass of water and stillness. No matter how hard you try you will not be able to hold it still for long, if at all. However if you let go and put the glass down it will be still and with no effort. Samatha is this stillness. Vipassana is realizing that there is no point holding the glass if you want it to be still.

Though I think it is not advisable to practice intensive formal meditation of any kind when having mental illness. My suggestion would be to pick a normal everyday task and just do it with the attitude of non clinging and non distraction and make that a formal and regular scheduled practice.
Form is like a lump of foam, Feeling like a water bubble; Perception is like a mirage, Volitions like a plantain trunk, and consciousness like an illusion
- SN 22.95
sentinel
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Re: Bringing the mind to stillness

Post by sentinel »

Why not deal with mental illness first and find out the cause to get relieve from it .
You always gain by giving
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