Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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Kidet0
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Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by Kidet0 »

A meditator reported the following. What could they be going through or what could be the explanation for it?
After about 2 months of practicing both walking and sitting meditation (insight meditation of the observation of arising and vanishing of phenomena), it seems that I have entered a mental state where there is just sheer boredom. In the first few weeks, there were periods of joy and rapture at the noticing of phenomena arising and vanishing. The mere seeing of the impermanent nature of phenomena caused deep contentment and tranquility to arise in the mind. I was enthusiastic about being delivered from defilements and I thought that this newfound power of observation will continue on until all defilements have been destroyed.

Now, however, I just sit like a vegetable for long periods of time and watch the same spectacle unfolding without caring much about it. It's no longer interesting to investigate the arising and vanishing. The mind has become dull, the body doesn't want to eat and there's aversion towards food, and interacting with fellow yogis at the monastery is bothersome to me. While other people seem to be happily living out each day, I'm almost never concerned about anything. I avoid conversation and will only speak the bare minimum enough to function properly since I live in a community with group activities like pindapāta, communal work, chantings, and Dhamma discussions. Other than that, I prefer to keep to myself.

Small things that disrupt my mental calmness tend to cause me annoyance e.g. people coughing or farting during group meditation, someone starting to sweep 5 minutes before it's officially duty time, someone saying good morning to me... simple things of that nature. Initially, these weren't things I'd get flustered about. They were objects of meditation but now they seem like they disrupt my inner quietude.

The boredom that the seemingly uninteresting meditation has brought about is causing people to inquire whether I'm doing okay because I always look sad and dejected. The people who "check on me" are only a few who I consider to be nosy anyways because they don't understand that they shouldn't be concerned with the meditation progress of other yogis unless they are the meditation teacher.

I'm neither experiencing joy nor sorrow. There's neither happiness nor sadness. No motivation at all. During meditation, there's no desire to cultivate concentration. But even when a little bit of it comes about, the mind somehow automatically starts noticing the arising and vanishing of phenomena again. Hearing - abandoning the sound; thinking - abandoning the thought; hearing again - abandoning the sound again; knowing again - abandoning again. When the mind lets go of a sense object, it just reverts to that bare awareness that is plain boring with nothing happening. Will I be seeing this rising and vanishing forever? When does it end?

My days are spent creeping around like a zombie and doing things ultra slowly which I imagine puts people off. I try to maintain the awareness of bodily movements in the present but it becomes distasteful quickly as, yet again, there appears to be nothing but the arising and vanishing of mental and physical phenomena without rhyme or reason. Gazing downwards without interest in my surroundings is far more desirable than looking about here and there saying hello to people. I'm afraid I'm coming across as snobbish. The problem is I can't describe my current situation to other yogis because they wouldn't understand. I wouldn't even know where to begin. They like to walk in groups with friendly chit-chat, giggling, and socializing so I'd rather not strike up a conversation with them.
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mikenz66
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by mikenz66 »

Is this one of those "asking for a friend" questions? :tongue:

Do you have more context? Is this someone who has been practising alone, based on what they have read or heard, without a teacher or companions?

:heart:
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SarathW
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by SarathW »

It appears this person is overwhelmed by the five hindrances.
He does not seem to practice Satipathana correctly.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Kidet0
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by Kidet0 »

mikenz66 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 9:25 pm Is this one of those "asking for a friend" questions? :tongue:

Do you have more context? Is this someone who has been practising alone, based on what they have read or heard, without a teacher or companions?
It's someone I know personally. They're living in a monastery with other yogis and of course there's a meditation teacher/monk who plays the role of a guide.
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Kidet0
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by Kidet0 »

SarathW wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 9:57 pm It appears this person is overwhelmed by the five hindrances.
He does not seem to practice Satipathana correctly.
I would say that there is an imbalance of the five mental powers. Concentration and awareness are strong while faith, energy, and wisdom have become weak. I understand that all five need to be fairly balanced in order to have any kind of success.
SarathW
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by SarathW »

Kidet0 wrote: Sat Mar 23, 2024 4:01 am
SarathW wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 9:57 pm It appears this person is overwhelmed by the five hindrances.
He does not seem to practice Satipathana correctly.
I would say that there is an imbalance of the five mental powers. Concentration and awareness are strong while faith, energy, and wisdom have become weak. I understand that all five need to be fairly balanced in order to have any kind of success.
:goodpost:

Agree.
However, you are saying the same thing using positive words. :D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
BrokenBones
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by BrokenBones »

I get the pain. I can relate to some of the same experiences from way back.

Perhaps "observing" or investigating the arising and passing away of what is readily discernible and observable would help.

Were you angry or lustful today? How did that arise? How did it pass away? How were you left feeling?

Will I die? Why will I die? (Hint... because of birth). What will that be like? Is it a cause of suffering? Etc. etc. etc.

Understanding and observing passing away is not some microscopic examination of movements/sensations etc. it's examining some or all of the links of dependent origination.
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mikenz66
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by mikenz66 »

Kidet0 wrote: Sat Mar 23, 2024 4:01 am
SarathW wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 9:57 pm It appears this person is overwhelmed by the five hindrances.
He does not seem to practice Satipathana correctly.
I would say that there is an imbalance of the five mental powers. Concentration and awareness are strong while faith, energy, and wisdom have become weak. I understand that all five need to be fairly balanced in order to have any kind of success.
I would agree. I've sometimes been in very quiet states that seemed quite boring and lethargic. More energy from walking (not too slow) or chanting, or some other activity may be helpful. Thanissaro Bhikkhu mentions this in some of his talks and essays, but I can't quite remember what he calls it. In terms of the seven factors of awakening, more joy would help.

The quote from Ajahn Brahm here may help: viewtopic.php?p=322945&hilit=dull#p322945

Mike
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Kidet0
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by Kidet0 »

mikenz66 wrote: Sat Mar 23, 2024 7:29 am
The quote from Ajahn Brahm here may help: viewtopic.php?p=322945&hilit=dull#p322945

Mike
Brilliant! This is helpful even for me.
anagaarika
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by anagaarika »

I have heard that this can easily happen for some people with this "dry insight / noting" approach. And honestly this doesn´t surprise me at all - I can´t imagine practicing like that and not going crazy...

The thing is that the path cannot be reduced to just one technique such as noting or body scanning. Where is cultivation of skillful emotions? Where is joy, energy? Where is proper dhamma vicaya, i.e. intelligent investigation of phenomena (not just blasting everything out of the mind because it´s impermanent)?

The path needs to be balanced, there has to be significant emotional development too. For real insight to happen, the mind must be lubricated with brahmaviharas first. From brahmaviharas comes contentment, serenity, energy and joy. When these factors are present, the mind is ready for investigation. This investigation is not mechanical, but intelligent - taking things apart, looking into them, experimenting, discovering...

Tell your friend that in this current state of mind, he is far from true insight, no matter how much of his "insight producing technique" he will keep doing... If he has not yet heard about such things as metta or compassion or samatha, then I think he should start from there.
Neo
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Re: Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation Report

Post by Neo »

Kidet0 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 5:12 pm ..
In the first few weeks, there were periods of joy and rapture at the noticing of phenomena arising and vanishing.

It was out of enthusiasm, not out of observation. It comes sometimes when we start with base as "expectations of calming of thoughts and reasoning behind them". Not just that, it also comes with high increment in the tendency of telling others about your achievements or analysis, an itch.
..
the body doesn't want to eat and there's aversion towards food, and interacting with fellow yogis at the monastery is bothersome to me.

Staring phase of arrogant kid. Any progress with previous fruit of worldly desires/defilements as base leads to another defilement only. Try not eating food for 3-4 days with the motto of torturing mind instead of body to see what else pops up in mind apart from aversion.
..
Small things that disrupt my mental calmness tend to cause me annoyance e.g. people coughing or farting during group meditation, someone starting to sweep 5 minutes before it's officially duty time, someone saying good morning to me... simple things of that nature. Initially, these weren't things I'd get flustered about. They were objects of meditation but now they seem like they disrupt my inner quietude.

Establishment into arrogance for current and new birth/place.
..
I'm neither experiencing joy nor sorrow. There's neither happiness nor sadness. No motivation at all.

Progress towards new birth or new place (if robes are left or if monastery is changed) where above experience will be "enjoyed" just like a spoiled rich brat or an arrogant non-spoiled rich brat(if 5 precepts are practiced by heart).
..
Will I be seeing this rising and vanishing forever? When does it end?

My days are spent creeping around like a zombie and doing things ultra slowly which I imagine puts people off.

Bhav tanhā : as it is, for new place with qualities mentioned above
..
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