Author Topic: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?  (Read 10146 times)

Semantic

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Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« on: January 09, 2011, 08:48:23 PM »
The Meditation Basics post states:

"just find a comfortable place to sit and relax. Take three deep breathes. Say "I shall relax". Breathe naturally, noticing the breath and the sensations in your body as you breath. Relax, with every breath develop calm and a sense of being happy in your body."

Yet all guides to meditation I've read emphasise that you should sit with a straight and unsupported back.

I have back problems (both lower and upper) and during almost every session these come to the fore. I've been simply working on noting and accepting them, letting them be as they are, but I can't help but feeling that my sessions would be more fruitful if I felt more comfortable. So the pragmatist in me says why not just switch to a comfortable arm chair with back support or lie down instead.

I understand the reasoning of the straight posture acting as a reminder of the focused state we're trying to cultivate, but is this reminder really such a fundamental aspect?

ivana

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 09:17:59 PM »
My opinion is that meditation is not about to relax. But I am person who use a chair to mediate and I am happy to meditate by this way with my spin straight. If I lay I sleep and if I sit on floor my legs hurt.

Matthew

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 07:43:55 AM »
.........
Yet all guides to meditation I've read emphasise that you should sit with a straight and unsupported back.

.... the pragmatist in me says why not just switch to a comfortable arm chair with back support or lie down instead.

I understand the reasoning of the straight posture acting as a reminder of the focused state we're trying to cultivate, but is this reminder really such a fundamental aspect?

The straight posture is about much more than that. Firstly it is about being the king of your world, master of yourself - sitting upright and straight leaves you feeling this way (to the extent you can do it).

Secondly the spine being supported by the back muscles leaves the chest and abdomen open allowing you to breathe in a relaxed but full way - it is especially important for proper abdominal breathing.

The important point though is that right now your back muscles are not up to it. Mostly this probably comes from habits of the body and deeply ingrained patterns of posture whilst working at a desk. Sitting practice alone will not solve this - there is a need for attention to posture - notice how you walk, move and sit. There is a need to look at the ergonomics of your working situation to strengthen your back, and finally probably some exercise to improve the health of your back - swimming, walking (mindfully).

For now try sitting on a dining chair or other chair the height of which leaves your thighs horizontal when your feet are flat on the floor and your ankles are placed vertically under your knees. Try it without using the chair back for support if you can. This is also how you need to sit in your office (with arms horizontal to the desk/keyboard and monitor with the middle just at or under eye height and at a distant where you  do not need to lean forward to see it).

Meditation alone won't deal with all these issues - like most aspects of this work finding balance between what happens on and off the cushion or stool or chair when meditating and daily life is important.

Warmly,

Matthew
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Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2011, 08:51:28 AM »
Thanks a lot for the in-depth reply. Very useful. Points taken.

My back is not so bad that I can't do it, I am able to sit for 30-40 minutes with unsupported back, it's just that the sensations in the back make themselves known quite a lot, and seem to take up a fair bit of my awareness. And I thought I might be able to have a more positive view of the whole session if sitting more comfortably.

And you're right about the desk sitting. I did Pilates for a year to help with these issues but stopped when I moved to a new city. I'm thinking I ought to take up yoga.

Matthew

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2011, 09:02:43 AM »
Thanks a lot for the in-depth reply. Very useful. Points taken.

You're welcome.

My back is not so bad that I can't do it, I am able to sit for 30-40 minutes with unsupported back, it's just that the sensations in the back make themselves known quite a lot, and seem to take up a fair bit of my awareness.

In that case I would recommend continuing to sit that way as it will quickly strengthen your back and you will overcome this obstacle. However, make sure your meditation cushion or stool is high enough. About six inches/15cm is the minimum for most westerners. We did not grow up eating food, chatting and whiling away our days sitting cross legged on the floor.

And I thought I might be able to have a more positive view of the whole session if sitting more comfortably.

Getting over it and strengthening your back is probably more useful, otherwise you will develop other habits that impede progress.

And you're right about the desk sitting. I did Pilates for a year to help with these issues but stopped when I moved to a new city. I'm thinking I ought to take up yoga.

Pilates or Yoga are very good, swimming - just walking more often - all will help. Getting the ergonomics of your working situation right will help a lot. Also take a break at least once an hour where you get away from the desk and walk around mindful of your body, breathing deep and releasing tensions.
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budo

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 12:58:11 AM »
Everything is impermanent, focus on the pain, it too will pass. Right posture prevents you from becoming drowsy, it prevents your body from tipping over or moving when you are so relaxed. When I first started meditating I used to sit in half lotus, I did this for six months, however, once I started getting into deep meditation I would become or feel much lighter, that my body would naturally start tipping backwards, or making slight movements. This is when I started going into full lotus position as it is a lot more stable.

Although I say this, if you are unable to keep your spine straight, you may never develop deep concentration because you may become drowsy or unaware.

Rocket

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2011, 02:54:38 PM »
Good point.  If your body is driving you nuts you will most likely go nowhere with practice.

Find a comfortable position.   The number one first step is to become deeply rock solid relaxed.  Rock solid.

Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2011, 03:11:02 PM »
Hehe, thanks for understanding my point, Rocket.

I don't know, I've been carrying on sitting straight, and last week I've been doing 30 minute sittings, but almost every time it's like the last 5 minutes or so I'm just waiting for the timer to go off. "Saved by the bell" is the thought that occurs. ;) Instead of getting deeper into the meditation as it progresses, it rather feels like I'm better able to focus in the beginning to middle part, when the body isn't "driving me nuts".

I'm hoping that the very act of sitting straight with time will help to strengthen the back muscles though.

rideforever

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2011, 03:50:14 PM »
I have found that I can meditate sitting against a wall and also lying flat on my back and I don't fall asleep.



Rocket

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2011, 04:25:46 PM »
The person I learned from recommends brief sessions to start with.  No marathons.  Get comfortable so your body doesn't obstruct relaxation etc.  15 min sessions are fine..... up to 18 of them a day.  I always liked that idea.  Soon i found I was spontaneously doing much longer ones and loving the shit out of it.  So peaceful.   I love "that cushion" is the attitude that works for me ....  never mind that I happen to use a bar height chair with upright back.  

My view is also that most of us westerners will deepen the practice far quicker if we do some effective psychotherapy first.  I had an experience of "deep samadhi" the first weekend ....   only because I quieted down my "high amplitude"  afflicted emotional states thru self exploration for years first.  Most of us are so tense from a kookoo family of origin and saturation with western social context (incessant go, go, go,  achieve,  drive,  do this do that)  the the total cool out / complete relaxation that is the entre to samadhi is  not possible.  We cannot relax deeply enough.

Here in the states many people have the "right instinct" that we should meditate then go for instruction and get poor quality so called "vipassana" training when we should be practicing Shamatha first.   I think it's giving meditation a bad name.

When I did begin to experience samadhi routinely I was swept into vipassana as though swept away by flood waters ...  beyond effortless ....  I think this is a big problem in the American Vipassana movement ....  touting vipassana when samadhi from Shamatha practice is the first step.  

See:  website of B. Alan Wallace ...  it is in print by a well trained expert.
http://www.sbinstitute.com/
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 04:29:46 PM by Rocket »

Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2011, 10:15:48 AM »
Funny you should mention psychotherapy. I did that for over a year to try and come to terms with my problems but got nowhere. I never felt like I developed a fruitful sort of interaction with the therapist and decided to give it up as it was costing me quite a lot of money. At least meditation is free. :)

What you say makes a lot of sense though, strictly focus on achieving the relaxed state before getting any further. I can't claim to have ever got there though, apart from maybe some brief glimpses of a somewhat deeper peacefulness than I would normally experience in daily life.

Right now, I did a 30 min session where I tried using an ergonomic chair for back support, but it didn't make much of a difference with regards to my mind drifting. I was essentially sat there daydreaming 80% of the time. The mind was just busy thinking and speculating about everything and anything. When brought back to the breath, it didn't last more than 5-10 breaths until it was off again. I also start sessions with counting the 50 first breaths as an aid to keep attention focused, but I find that my mind can even keep counting while drifting off thinking about other things without me noticing until later.

I don't know why I struggle so much with this, I must have some serious mental blocks in place. Over a year of psychotherapy => nothing, 6 months of daily meditation => nothing. I don't want to quit though, as I really do have faith in its potential positive effects.

(in a somewhat frustrated mood today, sorry...)

Rocket

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2011, 03:35:56 PM »
What you are going through is totally normal.   All of us experience the same thing.  Even after 40 years of very strong instincts about buddhism,  6 years since getting really top notch instruction,   6 years since my first incredible wonderful enriching experiences I still spend most of the first hour with my mind running off here and there wildly all over the place.  Each time it does that is referred to as "coarse excitation" or "coarse agitation".  Our minds are agitated.   Always,  the useful response is to relax more deeply.  The state of relaxation is an "altered state" all my itself in that it is so foreign to us,  especially driven westerners.   We're strung pretty tight,  saturated since birth with go, go, do, do this do that that it is very difficult indeed to actually get really really quiet.   I like the notion that this,  rather than the idea of multitasking,  this us unitasking.  You are actually doing almost nothing ....  you do select a focus for attention,  that is doing something.   With all the rest of your consciousness you are simply fully brilliantly wide awake,  focus of attention is the physical sensations of the breath at the tip of the nose .....  or later it can be the space of the mind and if there are any contents ....   completely empty mind but totally wide awake is fine too. Don't skip ahead to that,  sensations of breath only at first.   Or,  if you are a normal person your mind is all over the place just like you describe.  Hand in there.   Get instruction from someone who is in samadhi much or all the time .....they have convicion ...    it does something to your conviction about this otherwise counterintuitive process.    It  is foreign to our brains we are so conditioned to obsessive compulsive driven go go go.

With psychotherapy thing,  my experience has been the same ... though I started right out with the experiential approach and somehow knew for me:  to resolve residual emotional injuries the only efficient route is to revisit the full emotional experience in all the intensity that the younger person or child experienced it..  My view is the usual chit chat,  theorize,  resolve to 'change" in some way or another are nearly a complete waste of time almost always.  Unless you  are wealthy enough that you can afford a very expensive paid friend.  Emotions come from a primitive brain function,  intellect analyze etc are of little use .....   reexperiencing the emotion in its fullness heals,  as with Shamatha practice,  see below....

Being comfortable with going into altered states of consciousness most likely made things smoother for me,  I suspect it would for most.  Decades of exploring darker aspects of my emotional family history helped me because it is a very similar process.  IN both we are becoming transparent to afflicted emotions,  Shamatha is the fine tooth comb to polish us up, send us to higher states around the clock.  If was have shit coming at us from the back of the mind we cannot relax and stabilize enought,  thus EFFECTIVE psychotherapy.

Here is something meditation instructors don't talk about much.  When Shamatha practice is effective it will become like a very harrowing experience.   It is not all sweetness and light.    Even after years of primal therapy,  psychedelics, holotropic breathwork this really was harrowing (for me)  because it dredges up all the rotting corpses out of the mud of your psyche.   We clear that shit  through direct encounter with mental contents that "lurk" in the back of your mind ,  that we learn to supress  for survival reasons while we are young.

We get clear of that shit and end up with a mind that feels like you have twice the brain cells you ever had before and every cell is flawlessly focussed precisely whereever you place your attention. All internal noise,  mental distraction and negative emotions go dormant,   Super rock solid stability beyond measure,   crystal clear vast open space is what the mind feels like.  Intuition takes off like crazy,  problem solving like you had twice the brain cell.

Check out Alan Wallace.   Irreverent Buddhist is head and shoulders above all American teachers I've met before Wallace because he's got the fact that Shamatha is the first step.

  
« Last Edit: January 17, 2011, 03:38:49 PM by Rocket »

Morning Dew

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2011, 04:59:07 PM »
Quote
I was essentially sat there daydreaming 80% of the time. The mind was just busy thinking and speculating about everything and anything. When brought back to the breath, it didn't last more than 5-10 breaths until it was off again. I also start sessions with counting the 50 first breaths as an aid to keep attention focused, but I find that my mind can even keep counting while drifting off thinking about other things without me noticing until later.

But you are aware of all this arent you, now all that is left is to make peace with that conditioned self and let it be as it is and keep calming the body. Less effort to achive and so on. Meditation is not about emptying the mind but being aware of it and not identifying ur self with all that crap. Make peace with that monkey mind of yours and be aware of it as it is.

Quote
  Irreverent Buddhist is head and shoulders above all American teachers I've met before Wallace because he's got the fact that Shamatha is the first step.

Who is Irreverent Buddhist?

kidnovice

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2011, 12:08:52 AM »
6 months of daily meditation => nothing.

Six months of a daily practice IS nothing, Semantic! I don't say that to make you feel bad, but just to put things in perspective. You've only barely begun. Its like someone who has been playing violin for for six months, always aspiring to play the most challenging composition of Tchaikovsky, and then getting frustrated that "After six months, I STILL can't play it!"   You're mastering the art of holding the bow, you've learned how to play a simple song, and you're making progress. Yet, you're in so much of a rush that you're not noticing your successes.

For example, you can follow your breath for six to seven breaths. That's great! Can you reduce the duration of time that you leave the breath? (i.e. can you return more quickly?) You also say that 20% of the time, you're not daydreaming. That's great! Can you increase that to 25% by the end of next month? I think you can. The problem is that you may still find yourself complaining about your lack of progress! ;D 

Alright, I'll stop poking fun, but seriously, if you can't laugh at yourself about this, you're already screwed!

Some people will say that your problem is that you are too concerned with progress. But I don't think that's the problem. The real issue is understanding what progress is. Give up the ridiculous idea that you are trying to quiet your mind or attain a peaceful state. That is wrong view, and it will screw your practice up. I apologize if I sound preachy right now, but I'm going to give you some tips that I think may be of inestimable value.

First of all, I encourage you to make this your view: You are constantly cultivating mental qualities when you meditate. Until now, you've just been doing it heedlessly, and that makes you miserable. So, start cultivating mental qualities that make you happier. 

Go it? Here's how you do that when you meditate: You enjoy catching your mind wandering. Seriously, you need to enjoy it. Every time you catch yourself day-dreaming, and return to your breath, you've had a "waking-up" moment.  Appreciate that! Each waking-up moment plants a seed for future waking-up moments. That's a good thing! But don't just plant seeds of waking-up. Plant seeds of kindness. You do that by returning with kindness. You need to see how good it feels to wake-up from a thought. Its amazing if you pay attention to it.

If you get nothing from meditation, but the ability to return gently and kindly to your breath, you will have gained something wonderful. At the very least, you will learn how to stop getting angry at yourself! It doesn't matter if all the same thoughts keep arising, and in the same quantity (i.e, 80%). You will see how much happier you are. You will have learned how to skillfully wake-up.

The good news is that if you keep it up, you WILL wake-up more often (on and off the cushion), and you will return more quickly. This naturally increases the amount of time that you are not distracted when meditating. Indeed, there will come a time when you find that you can "return" to your breath so quickly that a thought barely even arises. And like this, your mind will become progressively more quiet.

So, to summarize everything I've said in one sentence: Make your practice about returning gently to your breath. ;D

Now, let me give you some personal perspective: I've been meditating for about eleven years. And at some level, I've maintained the above attitude since the very beginning (my deepest gratitude to Shunryu Suzuki). So, here's what my meditation is usually like nowadays: As a whole, my typical meditation is radically more peaceful and quiet than it used to be (especially in the last three or four years). Its quite remarkable. However, I still have meditations where I'm distracted throughout the sitting. They are much less common now, but they happen. Yet, even those sittings remind me how far I've come. It may be that 80% of my time was spent in distraction, but I find that the gaps between thoughts (the moments when I return) are so gentle, so filled with kindness, that they are extremely potent. The benefit of practicing like this is so obvious to me now, that I don't have a trace of judgment about it. There really is no "bad" meditation once you've got the knack of returning.

With much 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.

Rocket

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2011, 02:55:18 AM »
I can see gil cringeing

kidnovice

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2011, 05:45:07 AM »
I'd be honored if I could make Gil cringe.  ;D But I don't really see what problem he would have with what I said. Can you explain, Rocket?

I'm essentially elaborating on the "developmental model" that I've heard him talk about. Concentration, tranquility, peace, kindness, (etc) are all states that naturally develop in their own time as long as we create the right conditions (i.e., returning kindly and gently to our object until we naturally settle into/onto it).

Another way of thinking about it, according to Gil,  is that concentration is a "mood" that cannot exactly be controlled. Yet, as we get more adept at creating the conditions for the mood, we naturally "enter" it more and more often until it becomes our primary state.

This understanding conforms very closely to my own experience, which is why I like it. Do you understand his view differently?

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.

Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2011, 08:22:36 AM »
Aww, first of all, thank you so much to all of you for taking the time to reply in such depth and with such wonderful advice. It almost brings a little tear to my eye, and I can't express enough how grateful I am for it. Thanks! Really.

So many thoughts going through my head now reading all this stuff. First of all, you are right, that last post was overly negative, coloured by the experience of one of the least enjoyable sessions so far. To be honest, I have had some far more peaceful sessions where it's been more like 50/50 between focus and drifting and occasionally with stretches of several minutes of concentrated attention. But it's not a progressive trajectory, after a good (yes, judgement, I know, but it's difficult to use written language without value judgements creeping in!) session I think to myself I'm making progress but then I might have crap ones all next week and then I'm back to thinking it's not working.

kidnovice, you are also very right about me being impatient. I'm normally a reasonable achiever in the world of left-brain learning and knowledge and if I've been at something for 6 months without making much progress, I'd consider it a total failure, haha! :) When I set my mind to learning something in that sort of arena, it normally falls into place quite quickly, say learning a language or a new skill for example. I just expect to make progress fast. This is just SO different from all that...

And in a way, finding this forum has been a sort of double-edged sword. I really started out with the attitude you're describing, i.e. of not having "the ridiculous idea that you are trying to quiet your mind or attain a peaceful state". The initial material I read on mindfulness and that got me into it was very much stressing that the object is not to attain a peaceful state but simply to practice noticing, that the noticing and bringing attention back IS the practice. Makes a lot of sense.

But then I started reading stuff on here, and the focus seems to be slightly different, people talk a lot more about calming the body and reaching the state of shamatha as the first goal. And that got me thinking that I've been doing something wrong, in that I hadn't really been focusing on that. And reading about all the wonderful experiences of bliss and what have you that people describe. And there's me going "shit, I haven't experienced anything like that", and then the mind jumps to the instant conclusion that I haven't made progress.

On the other hand, this forum is absolutely wonderful as it provides an opportunity to learn more and get brilliant advice.

Gah, I'm rambling. And I haven't even addressed the incredibly fascinating post by Rocket yet. But I'll have to return to that later.

Again, massive thanks to you all though. You don't know how much I appreciate it. :)

Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2011, 08:28:50 AM »
Ah sorry, seem to have mixed up the meanings of samadhi and shamatha. I'll just stick to language I know... ;)

Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2011, 10:08:07 AM »
One quick point:

Go it? Here's how you do that when you meditate: You enjoy catching your mind wandering. Seriously, you need to enjoy it. Every time you catch yourself day-dreaming, and return to your breath, you've had a "waking-up" moment.  Appreciate that! Each waking-up moment plants a seed for future waking-up moments. That's a good thing! But don't just plant seeds of waking-up. Plant seeds of kindness. You do that by returning with kindness. You need to see how good it feels to wake-up from a thought. Its amazing if you pay attention to it.

Enjoyment and kindness seem like emotions to me. If I don't feel kindness when catching myself drifting and returning back, should I then pretend that I do? It seems fake to practice "returning with kindness" if the kindness isn't actually genuinely felt.

Rocket

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2011, 04:07:34 PM »
Forget that comment about Gil.

Cutting through...  my experience with so called "vipassana" instruction in the IMS setting is that it isn't getting people anywhere to speak of.  Long on multimillion dollar retreat centers,  one book after another that generate income and constitute essentially a collosal head trip and an income for a small set of folks who reap a living out of peoples instincts and yearning for something of meaning thru Buddhism ...  but the typical scenario is people go for training in "vipassana" and come away with nothing or even  becoming convinced the whole thing is a bit of a scam.      

I moved on to other things away from IMS  15 years ago after several  years close to that setting and working closely with some of the principle folks there having gotten nowhere myself from it and not seeing anyone else go anywhere to speak of either ....    though my instincts about buddhism never waivered a bit.

More recently I got training from a more well trained instructor and it was like night and day.  The genuine buddhism.


Matthew

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2011, 10:52:36 PM »
Semantic,

I've seen thirty year practitioners drift off to sleep and fall to the floor. At the moment I can not sit and have to meditate laying down for medical reasons. It is good to strengthen your back and yoga or pilates I would highly recommend.

The feeling you described of waiting for the bell at the end of the sessions is most likely a form of ego resistance to the practice that will pass. Remember always "this too shall pass". Don't worry. Don't worry that you spend 80% of time in thought - this too shall pass.

When counting breaths at the beginning of a session my recommendation is to count in (one) out (one), in (two) out (two) etc. If you get lost in thought or think about the practice then return to one. If you get to ten then return to one. About five minutes of this is plenty.

...
I'm essentially elaborating on the "developmental model" that I've heard him talk about. Concentration, tranquility, peace, kindness, (etc) are all states that naturally develop in their own time as long as we create the right conditions (i.e., returning kindly and gently to our object until we naturally settle into/onto it).
...

This is the basic model I teach from too. All states develop from good meditation. Metta practice can aid in developing wholesome states of mind and meditations on bodily yuckiness in general and death can help one realise impermanence and spur one on to practice - but first comes Calm-Abiding practice - and lots of it.

All arising phenomena will pass.

Warmly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: January 18, 2011, 10:55:36 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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thomas

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2011, 03:29:58 PM »
This may be of no help, just a comment or two. I am in a very similar position to you in several ways. I am a relative beginner.
I dont have your back problems.. but I do have a very bad set of knee injuries.

Just deleted a few things cos I didn't want to sound full of it. I think I was reiterating things to myself rather than adressing your points.

Think its all about perspective. At the moment I'm feeling positive about sitting. I've even found that instead of being annoyed about being distracted (which I often was) I now have changed my perspective to feel happy and to welcome back my mindfulness. The focus is now on enjoying the feeling of mindfulness and how it comes and goes. Nothing has changed except for how I percieve the fact I get distracted easily.

My mind is constantly swerving in and out of mindfulness.. probably 70 30, but I'm content with that because it's the reality. That is what my brain is doing. And I'm there (mindfullness) to be aware of it.

I also find myself being aware that the session should end soon. not sure how to deal with that.

hope you start enjoying it again. It's my special time of the day

back to the breath... and back to the breath....  and back to the breath.... and back to the breath..... and back to the breath

Rocket

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2011, 04:39:03 PM »
Hi Semantic
If you are tending to get sleepy during practice,  get better sleep. When I altered lifestyle habits to do that and it made all the difference.  Also for me dreams became prolonged,  clear more like waking reality.  My instructor, who is also has expertise about lucid dreaming and Tibetan dream yoga told me I would have a lucid dream ....  I did a few weeks later.   I have a strong suspicion effective practice overlaps with the dreaming 'reality".

We get sleepy because we need sleep.  Our bodies are geniuses like that.  If we are getting sufficient sleep we can get into that deeply rock solid relaxation state and maintain sharp presence/focus.  That is Shamatha.  

Helped practice tremendously for me.  Clearly facilitiated samadhi etc.

best.....


Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2011, 10:40:18 PM »
If you are tending to get sleepy during practice,  get better sleep.

Nope, that's one thing I don't have a problem with. :) Rather the other way around, I'm always too active and raring/anxious to get going with other stuff.

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When I altered lifestyle habits to do that and it made all the difference.  Also for me dreams became prolonged,  clear more like waking reality.  My instructor, who is also has expertise about lucid dreaming and Tibetan dream yoga told me I would have a lucid dream ....  I did a few weeks later.   I have a strong suspicion effective practice overlaps with the dreaming 'reality".

Dreams is an interesting subject in itself. I love that state just before you fall asleep, where the mind all of a sudden loosens up, and starts being really creative. In this state, my brain starts producing images or music in a way that it never does when fully awake. It would be nice to be able to induce that state of creative non-rigidness also during waking hours. I wonder if that's something effective meditation could possibly also have an effect on?


Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2011, 10:43:50 PM »
Just deleted a few things cos I didn't want to sound full of it. I think I was reiterating things to myself rather than adressing your points.

Thanks for sharing your experiences. Sorry to hear you deleted stuff, I'm sure that wasn't necessary! Even if it was only for your own benefit.

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Think its all about perspective. At the moment I'm feeling positive about sitting. I've even found that instead of being annoyed about being distracted (which I often was) I now have changed my perspective to feel happy and to welcome back my mindfulness. The focus is now on enjoying the feeling of mindfulness and how it comes and goes. Nothing has changed except for how I percieve the fact I get distracted easily.

Yeah, I find it's a day-to-day thing, some days I can have quite a positive feeling about it and other days it just feels like a chore that I do because I hope that it will be of benefit one day.