Author Topic: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?  (Read 6736 times)

someguy

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Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« on: December 03, 2010, 05:37:04 AM »
When I am meditating regularly, I find myself bringing myself back into the present moment. I know that ideally I should practice each day, but occasionally I'll miss a day or two. When this happens, I notice that I seem to fall back into old patterns and basically float through the day unaware of what's happening.

So my question is for those who have been at it a long time. Do you feel your "baseline" state has improved and you're more consciously aware of your actions even if you're not "under the influence" of a recent session?

Morning Dew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2010, 07:38:26 AM »
I started recently but here is my view;

It happened once that i stopped meditating for a whole week and i went at once into a very negative period, getting into conflict situation.
Even if i skip for a day which happened only a couple of times, i feel like im not in control of myself. You see when i do my morning Shamatha i bring into my day a deep kind of calm which acts like a slow motion and it becomes much easier to see the distractions and reactions.

I feel daily (morning) sitting is of great benefit for me and the ones effected by my living. Now, for me there is a question of is it enough sitting only once a day?

The are no good enough reasons for not taking out of 24h a 45-60 minutes to sit and be with oneself each day. The benefits are huge But one is also to do the practice without forceing anything otherwise it will turn into a hellride ( in my case). Instead keep concentrating on calm relaxation First anf foremost and when the actual (vs. Intelectual) time comes on its own acord the practice will evolve.

Why do you meditate?

Friendly

someguy

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2010, 08:14:28 AM »
Che,

I completely agree that it's best to practice very day and that is my goal. I guess the reason why I'm asking is because even when I do practice, while I'm emotionally better I still find myself occasionally falling into old habits. In other words, I'm more in control, but not fully in control. And I would like to be even better after meditating.

Imagine a scale 1 to 10, with 1 being "blah" and 10 being "total equanimity." If I haven't meditated in a few days, lets say I'm starting out at a 2 (for example). If I meditate, I'm temporarily at a 5, but if I stop meditating I'm back to 2. I'm wondering if the baseline improves over time. So instead of starting at a 2 and bringing it up to a 5, I start from a 5 and end up at 8 after meditating.

So I guess my original question is if any long-time meditators  would say that has happened to them.

Morning Dew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2010, 08:51:44 AM »
I feel that goal orientated practice leads to frustration. Via meditation you dont become different you only come to realise who you is at this time. Change happens but not because i desire it rather because i see my self clearly clinging to things. Also the body chemistry changes producing more calming hormones less stress ones.

Arm yourself with patience and drop the goals. "Trying to achive" brings us to this suffering. No achivements, no goal, no action, just be, that is the way to calm equanimity. You see no matter what we do it comes from our conditioned mind and acting from that source leads to more suffering. This is something we are to remind ourselves of.

Understand this desire of yours to achive the state No. 8 and drop it and remain sitting by simply calming your body and let the conditioned monkey be (but dont feed it ;) )

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Matthew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2010, 09:45:48 AM »
Che,

I completely agree that it's best to practice very day and that is my goal. I guess the reason why I'm asking is because even when I do practice, while I'm emotionally better I still find myself occasionally falling into old habits. In other words, I'm more in control, but not fully in control. And I would like to be even better after meditating.

 ......

So I guess my original question is if any long-time meditators  would say that has happened to them.

Longer and more frequent practice can help. Also maintaining mindfulness 24/7 in every activity , be it taking a crap, washing the dishes or talking to your kids.

Mindfulness is a skill like any other. Yes it's a bit like riding a bike but you still gotta practice. Has the "baseline" risen? Yes, definitely. Does it drop when I stop sitting? Also yes, definitely. The recovery time is quicker the longer you have been at it though, a bit like languages. I regularly forget my French language skills but after three weeks in the country when a French person asks where I am from they mean "where in France?".

Che is right though. Practice is the goal. There isn't another. That is a mindful approach to the subject: notice what is, not how you are meeting or failing to meet goals. Know thyself. Knowledge is power. In this case the power to transform.
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someguy

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2010, 05:49:54 PM »
Thanks for the responses. As someone who gave up meditating about 10 years ago, I guess I just want to make sure I stay motivated to stick with it this time. I really wish I didn't give up on it back then, but what's done is done. I find myself really enjoying the practice this time, so maybe I wasn't quite ready back then.

soma

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2010, 10:04:38 PM »
TIB wrote:
Quote
Also maintaining mindfulness 24/7 in every activity , be it taking a crap, washing the dishes or talking to your kids.

Yes. maintaining mindfulness 24/7 everyday in every day life is probably much more effective than sitting one our a day and then going back to sleep walking mode.
Sitting meditation is good but staying mindful 24/ is the practice that will bring fast and real change.

Morning Dew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2010, 10:33:24 PM »
OK TIB and soma hold on here a bit please :-)

Arent we all meditating for this very reason because we can not maintain this "mindfulness" you are talking about?
I mean how do I maintain this 24/7 mindfulness? With pure will? If that is so easy than why sitting? I thought mindfulness springs from the sitting practice.

At times I feel like a dumb a r s not being able to do this 24/7 mindfulness of yours, like it is something which I keep under my pillow or something. I hope you understand what Im talking about here.

We all suffer because we are not mindful in our daily life in the first place. We meditate so to realise conditined suffering selves. We gain insight and serenety. MIndfulness and compassion come hand in hand on their own acord without us intelectualy suggesting a thing. Our true nature comes to be (blah blah) ;-)

Are you saying that mindfulness must be reached intelectualy by auto-suggestion? (be mindful, be mindful, be mindful ... )

I honestly had a feeling that mindfulness gets developed naturaly from the sitting practice, but hey I might well be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time ;-)

Thanks for understanding this confused fellow.

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Matthew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2010, 11:25:43 PM »
OK TIB and soma hold on here a bit please :-)

Arent we all meditating for this very reason because we can not maintain this "mindfulness" you are talking about? .....

We PRACTICE meditation to develop this mindfulness. It takes a little time but when you FEEL the quality of being mindful vs unmindful (this is experiential not intellectual) then you start taking it off the cushion with you and do it for real in the real world in your real life. Noticing someone's face in intimate detail for example, or the true colours of autumn, or the cries of an infant: mindfulness can be applied to everything.

I mean how do I maintain this 24/7 mindfulness? With pure will? If that is so easy than why sitting? I thought mindfulness springs from the sitting practice.

See above. Certainly not with "pure will", though some self discipline is needed.

At times I feel like a dumb a r s not being able to do this 24/7 mindfulness of yours, like it is something which I keep under my pillow or something. I hope you understand what Im talking about here.

I do not successfully maintain 24/7 mindfulness - sometimes I get as lost as the next guy. I've been at it a lot longer than you. Worry not. It does get much easier with time - and you have shown an increase in mindfulness since you started the practice.

We all suffer because we are not mindful in our daily life in the first place. We meditate so to realise conditined suffering selves. We gain insight and serenety. MIndfulness and compassion come hand in hand on their own acord without us intelectualy suggesting a thing. Our true nature comes to be (blah blah) ;-)

Yes.

Are you saying that mindfulness must be reached intelectualy by auto-suggestion? (be mindful, be mindful, be mindful ... )

No. See above. However, as stated it's qualities can be recognised intellectually as an experiential change in your way of perceiving and being- and can be developed or cultivated both on and off the cushion.

Remember when you learned to ride a bike? At first it took more effort to stay on it than fall off. Quite soon you were just riding the bike, having fun with your friends. Mindfulness is not an exact parallel as riding a bike is a habitual activity - mindfulness takes a little effort to maintain but less and less as time goes by. It feels very natural and wonderful to inhabit this mindful state much of the time.

I honestly had a feeling that mindfulness gets developed naturaly from the sitting practice, but hey I might well be wrong. It wouldn't be the first time ;-)

You are not wrong. However, as it develops there is a need to recognise it's qualities and apply them to your daily living. This is where a LOT of people make a big mistake. Meditating for twenty years on the cushion, ending up hypnotising themselves daily, through lack of application of mindfulness to daily living - and the incongruity between their "on the cushion" practice and "off the cushion" living.

So you are correct - it does spring from the practice - but you have to also work with insight to understand and recognise the experiential qualities of mindfulness in your PRACTICE so that you can then use them for real.

Thanks for understanding this confused fellow.

Friendly

He's not as confused as he thinks he is. Or is he?
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soma

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2010, 08:02:15 PM »
Che Guebuddha wrote:
Quote
MIndfulness and compassion come hand in hand on their own acord without us intelectualy suggesting a thing. Our true nature comes to be (blah blah) ;-)
and
Quote
I honestly had a feeling that mindfulness gets developed naturaly from the sitting practice, but hey I might well be wrong.

The word 'effort' has gotten somewhat infected and whenever I want to use it I hesitate or feel a need to give a long explanation before using it...so here goes:

Results such as increased mindfulness and compassion will come of their own accord...sort of.
It wont come without some sort of effort and some applied technique (way of practicing), at least not in my opinion/experience.
When we sit and practice samatha it takes some effort to stay with the breath - it takes some mindfulness and concentration to develop mindfulness and concentration.
But this effort is not like chasing after your breath like some mad rapist but rather humbly asking your breath to be your guide through the unknown terrain you are about to enter.
So you put your hand on the shoulder of your guide (your breath) and vow to stay very awake and alert so you do not lose contact with your guide because you really need to stay with him to find your way. To stay awake and alert takes some concentration/effort but this is not the same as goal oriented striving* which is more like tunnel vision than broad including mindfulness.

This sort of effort can of course be applied all day long and not only on the cushion, and before long you will be awake more than you are lost during the day and whenever you lose yourself it wont be long until you wake up again and find that your mind wandered. This is basically meditation and if you use all your waking hours to meditate then sitting meditation is just a concentrated booster an hour or so during the day, an hour where your 'whole-day practice' can now give fruit as insight because sitting meditation is mindfulness deluxe – providing the perfect context and minimal distraction.

*EDIT: The wish and intent to stay mindful throughout the whole day can of course also be described as 'goal oriented striving' but 'goal oriented striving' are only three words and not reality itself. What matters is what intent and understanding there is behind those words.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 08:41:12 PM by soma »

Morning Dew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2010, 09:42:16 PM »
I understand what you are saying but this doesnt work for me still. Today for example i was sooo angry at work. So angry because my boss said something not even important and my mind went on and on fighting and reasoning and judgeing him (i said jävla svenson many times ;) ) all day long.
I could clearly see this mind behaviour and i could also feel the tension in my body. I could also see my self being very cold to the customers. I was aware of all what happened yet i was sooooo tiny in this huge blast of negative energy unable to calm the self down.

Who are these two of me? One clearly seeing what is taking place and the other one creating negativity. Two minds maybe?

This mornings practice was crap very restless again.

I am starting Zazen tomorrow in my local Zen Centre. I feel this will move my a r s upside down. Just sitting... hm!

As always, friendly :)

soma

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2010, 12:38:13 AM »
Quote
I understand what you are saying but this doesnt work for me still.


Quote
I could clearly see this mind behaviour and i could also feel the tension in my body. I could also see my self being very cold to the customers. I was aware of all what happened yet i was sooooo tiny in this huge blast of negative energy unable to calm the self down
.

This feeling of not 'being able to calm the self down' is frequently occuring, is it not ?
These feelings seem to have a life of their own and you cannot do anything about them.
If these feelings are you, then you have no control over the sense of this separate self that you think of as you, the 'you' that you are trying to calm down. So now we have several identities with conflicting ideas and different wills and then yet another one standing at the sidelines being aware of all this. So what you think of as 'you' is really many different you and they all have a life of their own outside of your control. All these identities make up what we normally think of as one single separate self and clearly there is no such thing there – this self is a changing, fluxing experience and cannot be controled as it is a pattern of reactions and habbits and defences and likes and dislikes that has been build up since you were born. This is the ego self, a scizofrenic, multi-headed hydra and whereever you put your attention, or rather, wherever attention falls there appears a sensation in the body/mind saying 'I' – a grasping, clinging sensation – identification.
What is just an impersonal, impermanent thought,feeling, sensation now becomes 'your' thought, 'your' feeling and 'your' sensations and that leads to suffering and a feeling of not being in control.
All this drama goes on within awareness. Awareness really does not change, it does not flux or wobble, it stays the same always- it is the background so to speak of all that everchanging drama that goes on in the foreground, both 'within' you and 'outside' of you.
This is the space in which everything comes and goes, including the sense of a permanent, separate self  which is really no different or more special than the thought of wanting an ice-cream. It is just noise and there is no 'self' behind that – it is empty.
So you wont be able to control or calm yourself down as long as you identify with the drama/content of your mind but when you see through it you stop identifying with it and then you will just let the drama ware itself out, not trying to stop it, just starve the ego-self to death by not getting angry from the anger or frustrated by the frustration.
And having seen through the illusion of a personal, separate self as conditioning and grasping attention and having seen how much suffering that illusion, this identifying buisness brings, then you will also see that there is no real self behind the actions and words coming from your boss, that he too is really empty of a separate self and that he suffers from identifying with 'his' 'drama' and causes suffering for everyone around him as a result.

So just try to feel that space again, that background and see how stable it is and also be mindful of how attention sweeps around within this awareness and see how this attention affects things.

Very sorry for writing this long rant but I really needed to write this down I think.  ;D

all the best

soma


Matthew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2010, 01:51:12 AM »
I understand what you are saying but this doesnt work for me still. Today for example i was sooo angry at work. So angry because my boss said something not even important and my mind went on and on fighting and reasoning and judgeing him (i said jävla svenson many times ;) ) all day long.
I could clearly see this mind behaviour and i could also feel the tension in my body. I could also see my self being very cold to the customers. I was aware of all what happened yet i was sooooo tiny in this huge blast of negative energy unable to calm the self down. ....

This is exactly where the FELT sense of being mindful can be applied with some effort/discipline or "shila". It's time to follow the sensations in the body ... time for a toilet-meditation break when you find yourself in this situation.

Just keep practicing. Everything changes.
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Morning Dew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2010, 07:22:56 AM »
Thanks soma for such thorow reply it gave some clues. But it is hard to do anything at the moment.  I feel like i am sabotageing my self, my practice. I am suddenly catching my self going out to buy a few beers in the evening, some sweets, a dvd, TV, anything just not to be with my self. The practice it self is also being shortened lately i see.

I feel like giving up. I feel this is over my head over my capability. I feel weak. I feel no sweeteness only bitterness in my life.

I am going to the Zen Centre today.

Thanks Matthew. Will do my best.

soma

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2010, 11:25:38 AM »
 I feel like i am sabotageing my self, my practice. I am suddenly catching my self going out to buy a few beers in the evening, some sweets, a dvd, TV, anything just not to be with my self.

To buy a few beers and watch a movie sounds really sane. Do not feel guilty for resting - you know your pace best.
I hope you find the zen practice useful and also restful.

By the way, that 'jävla svensson' was really funny 
I can imagine you in that zoo shop clenching your fists and muttering 'jävla svensson'.  ;D

« Last Edit: December 05, 2010, 11:35:18 AM by soma »

ivana

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2010, 11:45:27 AM »
Dear Che no sweetness in your life?
You are lying because you are a member of the vipassanaforum. even I am writing to you mayby it might not be a sweetness but I try. Meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate,meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate
I thank for reading my reply.
Ivana


Morning Dew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2010, 04:35:43 PM »
Quote
By the way, that 'jävla svensson' was really funny 

I thought you might find it funny :)

Ivana thank you for putting so much effort in reminding me to practice :) it helps.

Friendly

soma

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2010, 04:57:01 PM »
i ran 'jävla svensson' through google translate (swedish - english) and got 'friking Smith'.
Seems accurate enough.
Does 'friking Smith' mean anything in english - is it a used expression ?

From swedish to hindi I got
स्मिथ कमबख्त
Cant tell if that is a useful translation though.

Now this thread is totally messed up but i guess it can get back to topic at any time.

Morning Dew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2010, 06:10:24 PM »
My boss was very likely thinking in his head "javla blatte" lol

Tranlated would be f...ing Cockroach lol

We sure blasted this thread totaly. My apologies :)

Will not happen again. (Stay mindful stay mindfil stay mindful ....)

kidnovice

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2010, 04:11:14 AM »
I've been practicing for about ten years, and it can be pretty difficult to know where the changes I see in myself are coming from. Is it the meditation? Or is it just the natural changes that happen over ten years of living with a particular intention? Who knows.

Here is what I know for sure: my experience when meditating is radically different from when I started. All I have to do is reflect on it when I meditate, and I am filled with tremendous gratitude. Its not that my meditations are always easy or fun, but they are much much more likely to leave me with a deep sense of calm and well being. This is true even when things in my life are totally going to sh-t. It was definitely not like that when I started! 

So, that is a clear sense in which my "baseline" has shifted. But it does require me to maintain my practice. If I'm not sitting at least one hour a day, (really, I feel like two hours is the minimum), my baseline can drop fairly quickly. But I notice that if I stop for awhile, I can still quickly bring my baseline back up with a just a few hours of intensive meditation.

Does this change in my meditation affect how I live my life? I think so, but its hard to pin down. When my meditation practice feels like a "safe harbor," it seems to shift the way I react to situations in the world. When something happens that might trigger me, I naturally hold it a bit more lightly. I also notice that the qualities that I consciously cultivate when meditating (i.e., a calm and kind awareness--even in the face of unpleasant experiences), are the same qualities that arise in me with greater frequency. as I grow older.

You'll notice that I haven't said much about trying to stay mindful throughout the day. I think that is an important component, but since so much has been said about it, I thought I would try offering a different spin.  So, I will just say this: I have never been very good at recalling visual/spatial/physical aspects of the world (i.e, Where did I put my keys? Should I turn left or right on that street? Did I remember to zip my fly?). And despite frequent efforts, I don't think I've gotten that much better! 

However, I do think I have much greater awareness/skill in dealing with my inner life and how it interacts with the world. Thus, I don't get very bothered when I realize my fly is down! I also think I may be better at reading other people's feelings, and seeing how I can best work with them from a place of compassion. But is that the meditation? Does it matter?

With metta,
KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

J0rrit

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2013, 10:17:39 AM »
This is one of the most important questions for me...Because I noticed myself that when I stop meditating, everything will go back to as it was in my mind. Because of that meditating is actually de-conditioning of the mind, I would think that there would come a time that when you stop meditating, nothing will change, because what is de-conditioned stays de-conditioned. Am I right, or is this only true for Nibbana ?

Matthew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2013, 11:40:18 AM »
Even Nibbana requires continued mindfulness - and can be lost, according to the sutras.
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J0rrit

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2013, 12:14:05 PM »
Than in my view Nibbana would be something else than the total deconditioned truth...Because as that would be so, than you would stay in Nibbana when you enter it, because what is de-conditioned should stay de-conditioned, no practise would be needed. If you need regular practice to stay in Nibbana, I think that Nibbana is just another learned skill...Like physical exercise gives you a better endurance, and you need to keep that up to keep that endurance-level...

Matthew

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2013, 08:56:56 AM »
The Buddha continued mindfulness practice after nibbana ...
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Billymac629

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Re: Do the long-time meditators recognize the diference?
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2013, 01:54:30 AM »
This is one of the most important questions for me...Because I noticed myself that when I stop meditating, everything will go back to as it was in my mind. Because of that meditating is actually de-conditioning of the mind, I would think that there would come a time that when you stop meditating, nothing will change, because what is de-conditioned stays de-conditioned. Am I right, or is this only true for Nibbana ?
One doesn't need to continue to meditate after full enlightenment... The Buddha made this very clear..  The Buddha continued to meditate by choice, though he stated he did not need to..
He compared meditation to a boat being used to cross a body of water.. Once one reaches shore one does not need to carry the boat with them.. The boat is meditation.  The shore is nibbana.
However reaching full enlightenment may take many life times  :)

Maga metta
Nothing in this world is to be clung to as I, me, or mine...