Question for those who meditate

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Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:34 pm
Poor Foamy here ran into a problem while 'freeing his mind'
YouTube - : Free Your Mind : Foamy The Squirrel
What are your hangups and obstacles while meditating?


Caution link has some foul language.

Cheers,
RUSS
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 05:48 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;173896 wrote:

What are your hangups and obstacles while meditating?


This is such a broad question and the response would be incredibly long.

There are so many different ways to get hung up.

You could be missing a step.
You could have been misinformed on the process.
You could be assuming some type of result to happen.
You could be impatient for some kind of result.
You could be just sitting and day dreaming.
You could be held back by some preconceived notion or fear.
You could be held back by some emotional affliction.

For example there is a common zen saying that when you are sitting zazen it is practice for when you are not sitting. Meaning meditation shouldn't just be about sitting on some cushion quieting your mind for fifteen, thirty or sixty minutes but it should be about being able to maintain the clarity of mind even when you are doing every day things. Not understanding this crutial part you could be thinking that meditation is only about sitting while your life then completely cancels out anything you are accomplishing during your sitting if you can't maintain the meditation mind.

The list is not just what I have already pointed out. There are many more things that can hang you up. The point is that some will claim they are teachers of meditation but they are actually selling you non-sense because they don't actually meditate. They might think they do, which is why they can't provide proper guidance.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 06:37 pm
@Krumple,
I agree with all of that, I was after a more personal answer. What are your hang ups, obstacles etc...

originally my major obstacle was unrealistic expectations about the process. It was a combination of misinformation and critical self judgment. I assumed that I should be able to 'quiet my mind' but didn't really know what it meant, and in judging myself against a misinformed standard I became frustrated and continually defeated myself negating the purpose of my meditations. Now I feel that my biggest hurdle is undue pride in my own ability to meditate, which I feel is hindering the natural processes and progressions that I may otherwise be experiencing,
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 10:33 pm
@GoshisDead,
My hangup was that I really wanted to be thinking and discovering and not meditating. Reading something and thinking about it puts me in a much much more "meditative" mindset than sitting and focusing on my breathing. It's focused and mindful and calm the way meditation is supposed to be.

This isn't proposed as a put down of meditating, mind you. But it might be someone else's problem as well.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 10:39 pm
@Jebediah,
I used to feel that way as well. I have always assumed you to be fairly young Jeb. Am I wrong? I used to need constant mental stimulation. Also contemplative meditation is a quite real meditative practice. Much more than concentrating on breathing. In most meditative traditions, the breath focus is simply a starting point for more mind intensive focus and contemplation practices. IF you can get the same effect without first concentrating on breath, that's plain coolness on your part.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 10:50 pm
@GoshisDead,
Yeah about 90% of the books and material about meditation will mention something about focusing on the breath being the meditation. However; that is only the beginning and it is only to train your awareness to become sharper and not as easily carried off by distractions. It is only the first step in the ladder though and rarely do books every delve into what comes next. Mostly because they figure by the time you have sharpened your awareness someone else will take up teaching you the next step. But that rarely happens.

I had taken a lot of classes and read a lot of books on the topic but the funny thing was they were all wrong. It wasn't until I met a Laotian monk that was only visiting a local temple for the day that gave me the best advice that actually worked. Since then I can meditate even while riding on the bus. Once you fully experience all the steps and get a little bit of practice you can meditate anywhere and maintain a meditative mind even in the most distracting environments. Where as others kept telling me, make sure it's quiet, make sure there are no other people talking around you. Make sure there is no music playing. However; those are actually not true, not even for a beginner. All you need is someone to properly fill you in on the steps and you can obtain the first jhana state very easily and anywhere.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 11:33 pm
@Krumple,
GoshisDead;174099 wrote:
I used to feel that way as well. I have always assumed you to be fairly young Jeb. Am I wrong? I used to need constant mental stimulation. Also contemplative meditation is a quite real meditative practice. Much more than concentrating on breathing. In most meditative traditions, the breath focus is simply a starting point for more mind intensive focus and contemplation practices. IF you can get the same effect without first concentrating on breath, that's plain coolness on your part.


You're not wrong, I'm fairly young. I find that many things that are called mentally stimulating really aren't. Giving the mind something to work on is the surest way to mental serenity that I've found--like how a spinning top is a lot more stable if it is spinning quickly.

Krumple;174100 wrote:
Yeah about 90% of the books and material about meditation will mention something about focusing on the breath being the meditation. However; that is only the beginning and it is only to train your awareness to become sharper and not as easily carried off by distractions. It is only the first step in the ladder though and rarely do books every delve into what comes next. Mostly because they figure by the time you have sharpened your awareness someone else will take up teaching you the next step. But that rarely happens.

I had taken a lot of classes and read a lot of books on the topic but the funny thing was they were all wrong. It wasn't until I met a Laotian monk that was only visiting a local temple for the day that gave me the best advice that actually worked. Since then I can meditate even while riding on the bus. Once you fully experience all the steps and get a little bit of practice you can meditate anywhere and maintain a meditative mind even in the most distracting environments. Where as others kept telling me, make sure it's quiet, make sure there are no other people talking around you. Make sure there is no music playing. However; those are actually not true, not even for a beginner. All you need is someone to properly fill you in on the steps and you can obtain the first jhana state very easily and anywhere.


I suppose that I am fairly laid back by nature. But even so, having the skill to ward off the distracted mental state seems worthwhile.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 11:47 pm
@GoshisDead,
My big problem is staying with the practise, getting up in the morning to sit instead of sleeping in.

I am always very mindful of what Krishnamurti used to say about meditation. He was always totally against any idea of method, attainement, practise, discipline, or effort. It is hard to convey his point but it is an important counter-balance against getting too attached to the idea or the externals. He would say it is a state of mind that arises spontaneously if you are very attentive and mindful without being self-conscious of it.

But also I found that when I actually commit and sit properly, in the Buddhist style, there is an automatic process that just works, although I suppose it has taken many years for that to happen.

Anyway the main obstacle still is not getting up early enough. I've been pretty lazy. Life is passing by.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 11:58 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;174110 wrote:
My big problem is staying with the practise, getting up in the morning to sit instead of sleeping in.

I am always very mindful of what Krishnamurti used to say about meditation. He was always totally against any idea of method, attainement, practise, discipline, or effort. It is hard to convey his point but it is an important counter-balance against getting too attached to the idea or the externals. He would say it is a state of mind that arises spontaneously if you are very attentive and mindful without being self-conscious of it.

But also I found that when I actually commit and sit properly, in the Buddhist style, there is an automatic process that just works, although I suppose it has taken many years for that to happen.

Anyway the main obstacle still is not getting up early enough. I've been pretty lazy. Life is passing by.


Yeah I also felt this way too, it as one of my problems. A lot of things I read suggested to meditate in the morning just after waking up, which is good advice because then the chances are better you won't want to fall back asleep, but it didn't fill me in on the other important details. You should never be "military" with your meditation. If you have to force any aspect of it to try and be disciplined, it will fail. You can't force it by making yourself wake up early before you want to be awake, because the whole time you are going to be fighting thoughts about wanting to just get a few more minutes of rest. Best thing to do is sleep fully that way you no longer care about sleep and since you are fully rested you will be less prone to want to go back to sleep.

Another poor advice I was given was, meditate before you eat in the morning too. No, because if you are even slightly hungry the body immediately screams at you. If you are hungry, eat a little bit, but don't over do it with a big breakfast or else you will swing the other way. Your stomach will feel all bloated and stuffed. Eat just enough so you can sit without thinking about eating and your body wont be screaming at you to get some food.

The key is, if you are being rigid in any way, it will fail. Doesn't matter if there is some kind of sitting position that you have been told about or that you want to look dignified like the Buddha. If you are experiencing pain it will fail. You need to have a position that is the most comfortable that you could sit there indefinitely without ever wanting, needing or forced to move. If you do move though for what ever reason that is okay, but the key is to find the most comfortable position for you. Later when you get good at focusing your mind you can then sit in some other way, like full lotus position.

That monk I mentioned explained it to me like this. If the roof of your house had a small leak, you can notice it and you can easily fix it with very little effort. But if your roof is leaking in a lot of places and in torrents of water pouring in, you will be over whelmed. So the best way to begin is in the most comfortable position no matter how undignified it may be. This way if your body tells you to move because you are not comfortable, it won't be as distracting as if your legs, back, neck, shoulders, knees, ect, are on fire with pain. When you have gotten the steps down then you can try to make your posture more elaborate or "dignified".

"It is easier to be aware of a small problem than to try and ignore torrents of water water poring in from your roof all around you."

But if you have to move for any reason, be mindful of it and then recenter your attention on the breath. Best advice ever.

This isn't the end, there is more...
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:12 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;174110 wrote:
Anyway the main obstacle still is not getting up early enough.


I didn't know there were optimal hours for meditation. Meditation is best in the early morning?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:18 am
@GoshisDead,
That is always said to be the best time. And if you're working full time and managing a household, it tends to be either then or evening, and somehow I am just always more scattered at that time of day. The other thing is that sitting first thing really sets the tone for the day.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:28 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;174114 wrote:
That is always said to be the best time. And if you're working full time and managing a household, it tends to be either then or evening, and somehow I am just always more scattered at that time of day. The other thing is that sitting first thing really sets the tone for the day.


I think going out at the break of dawn to rob a bank, smack a few old ladies around, and set some random public buildings on fire, really sets the tone for the day too.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:30 am
@GoshisDead,
'as a man thinketh....':bigsmile:
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 02:44 am
@GoshisDead,
A passage I found on usenet.buddhism about meditation which I liked:
Quote:
'Waking up' means: no more mistaking 'existence' as 'crappy'. Whatever you may think life is, is wrong. It's all beyond the painful confines of apparent thoughts and rational judgements. Boundless and clear.

People assume they are thinking, even thinking logically, but in fact they are being 'thought'. Does one control thoughts or is it the other way around? Obviously thoughts go where they will, to heaven and to hell, according to circumstance and conditioned interpretation, and folks helplessly follow those thoughts when they identify with thought as their own doing and their own self-ness.

But if one were the real thinker of his own thoughts, how could he ever be displeased? How could he be sad or angry or fearful or full of pains? Thoughts nag. Thoughts circle. Thoughts attack.

Proper meditation allows seeing thoughts as thoughts, and feelings as feelings, mere mental phantoms of no substance, and not by any means any 'reality' of importance or dreads. This is detachment-mindfulness.

Non meditators can't see thoughts and feelings as such, but they unconsciously obey them as commands supposedly arising from their own self-ness. They are helplessly and painfully reactive and out of control. Victims of circumstance. They don't know what they're doing, or where they're going, racing along heedlessly 'thoughtful'.

If you think meditation seems hard or painful, that is thought not truth. Don't believe what you think you think. Bathed in thought, submerged in thought, enchanted by thought one dreams up a 'life' of heavens and hells that truly do not exist.

Reality is here and now. There's not a problem in the world.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:25 pm
@Zetherin,
I have found the only way for me to do morning meditation is to, go to the gym get a vigorous workout and then meditate. Luckily my gym has a little area that quiet etc. that people use for personal yoga and meditation. At my old gym I would do the workout then sit in the sauna zazen and meditate with headphones on to block out distraction.

Jeeprs:
I hear you its hard to let things roll inside your head without getting caught up in a specific pre-packaged regimen. It took a few years but I have made one that works for me. I have favorite meditations. My absolute favorite and works when I need to focus concentration on something that day is Keeping the color blue in my mind's eye, not worrying about the images themselves as long as they stay some shade of blue. It maximizes my ability to focus the rest of the day.
 
chad3006
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:34 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;174098 wrote:
My hangup was that I really wanted to be thinking and discovering and not meditating. Reading something and thinking about it puts me in a much much more "meditative" mindset than sitting and focusing on my breathing. It's focused and mindful and calm the way meditation is supposed to be.

This isn't proposed as a put down of meditating, mind you. But it might be someone else's problem as well.


Yes I think that's pretty much my obstacle as well. Perhaps I don't really get it, but I think I have small meditations throughout every day, rather than meditating under specific conditions/times. These may be promted by somethng I've read, seen, heard.

Sometimes I get that calming feeling of clarity and sometimes I don't.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:39 pm
@chad3006,
chad3006;174284 wrote:
Yes I think that's pretty much my obstacle as well. Perhaps I don't really get it, but I think I have small meditations throughout every day, rather than meditating under specific conditions/times. These may be promted by somethng I've read, seen, heard.


Yes Chad, the idea does seem counter intuitive, still your mind in order to be better at busying it. It is totally worth it though. It operates under the do one thing at a time and do it well principle. The world is all about multitasking today, but in multitasking a lot of things get done half-assed, or at the very least less than optimally. if the mind learns focus and discipline it is better able to think well, instead of think a lot. Yet life is such that we have become a culture of processors and synthesizers, thinking in volume is what is needed to get through life.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 9 Jun, 2010 07:13 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;174100 wrote:
Yeah about 90% of the books and material about meditation will mention something about focusing on the breath being the meditation. However; that is only the beginning and it is only to train your awareness to become sharper and not as easily carried off by distractions. It is only the first step in the ladder though and rarely do books every delve into what comes next. Mostly because they figure by the time you have sharpened your awareness someone else will take up teaching you the next step. But that rarely happens.


hmm, well, what is the next step? I can be aware, but I've never been quite sure what to do with it. Think about a philosophical issue that I've been considering? Sometimes just sitting peacefully is great, but eventually you start nodding off...
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 04:55 am
@Jebediah,
my experience - a speaker came to my neighborhood when I was...let's see...in my 20's. He turned out to be a teacher of this program that was called Transformations. It was to run in Sydney for some years after that. I can't summarize what he said now, but it was a good presentation. The practice he taught was mantra meditation, 20 minutes morning and evening, supported by ongoing meetings and talks. It was 'spiritual not religious', kind of a cross between Transcendental Meditation and EST, and actually continued to run in one form or another until quite recently in Sydney. I did a number of programs with that school over a couple of years. Anyway, the point of all this is that it was a formal program, with formal practice, and a teacher to speak to about it. That got me started.

 
Krumple
 
Reply Thu 10 Jun, 2010 05:04 am
@Jebediah,
Quote:

hmm, well, what is the next step? I can be aware, but I've never been quite sure what to do with it. Think about a philosophical issue that I've been considering? Sometimes just sitting peacefully is great, but eventually you start nodding off...


once you are able to sharpen your awareness by focusing your attention on the breath, the next step is to actually move your awareness onto a good feeling within the body. If your awareness is sharp you will discover that there is a pleasant feeling, although at first it might seem very faint or even insignificant. However; it is far from insignificant and this is a key point. The other thing to keep in mind is that you should not be thinking about when to move your attention over to the good feeling or pleasant sensation. If you are thinking about when to do it, your awareness is not correct.

Having this habit to search for the feeling is wrong and you should just go back to the awareness of breath until you notice the pleasant feeling arise upon it's own and then shift your awareness onto it. Make sure not to analyze the pleasant feeling, just be aware of it and let it be. After some time, it could be days, weeks months or even years of this awareness that pleasant feeling will expand and actually encompass "everything" and that is the sign that you have successfully entered the first jhana. The most important thing to remember is not to push for or expect the steps. Just be aware of the steps and be patient with them. If you aren't you will become disappointed and probably give up all together by lack of progress. It will happen.
 
 

 
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