Meditation Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Meditation, Practice And The Path => Topic started by: Morning Dew on June 14, 2010, 08:42:30 AM

Title: Growing restless in Shamatha :-(
Post by: Morning Dew on June 14, 2010, 08:42:30 AM
Hallo friends,

I am getting more and more restless while sitting in meditation lately. I can hardly sit for more than 5 minutes before I catch my self looking around and wanting to get up. I can't focus on my body for long at all.
Maybe this is because I stopped practising Qigong to get more time to sit in Shamatha.

Anywho, I am back to Qigong and I aslo started with Ki-breathing excercise again to ground me a bit. I am thinking to start training Tai Chi and continue with Qigong as well in my local Kung Fu centre.

This whole body awareness is not working for me. All this makes me sleepy and dull. Matthew did you ever practice focuse on the belly when in Zen? Did you ever in the start of your meditative life focus on a single spot? Or were you always in this whole body breathing thing? Thanks!

And please folk do not refer to what Mr. Buddha did or said since we know nothing about his life for sure. He did not wrote those sutas himself.
Only personal experiance and personal thoughs please.

I can't believe that Shamatha is the only "RIGHT" meditation to follow towards becoming a calmer more subtle human being (forgett about the enlightment don't wanna know about it).

Thank you  :)

Title: Re: Growing restless in Shamatha :-(
Post by: mik1e on June 14, 2010, 12:44:52 PM
Hi Morning Dew,

It seems that you want to get everything and at once. This is quite common problem for beginners. So, the first advise: take the processes as they are and let them follow their own logic.

Qigong and pranayma are excellent helpers for Shamatha. They calm the mind and make it fresh,  but they cannot clean kleshas (imprints from previous lives) and some distortions in subtle bodies (which also disturb the mind).

Speaking on physiological level, there are sources of "inner noise", say, in stomach area (Manipura Chakra and solar plexus), which force you to look around and even to finish the practice.

At that point the practitioner meets the problem of system of values. If you really are interested in moving to higher states, you will see the "problem of distraction" exceptionally in the the framework of your practice. In this case you understand that to make the body calm is more important than anything else, and, finally, you will  find the way to achieve this state.

However, if you view the practice only as "nice addition" to your common life (i.e. you subconsciously you consider yourself "almost perfect"), you will never find necessary time and power to make your body an instrument of your spirit. Your body will always win.

Specific technique regarding your problem: try to sit totally calm and relaxed at least 2-3 minutes. BUT: this interval is calculated after you have come to the  state (i.e., your whole body is relaxed from toes to top, and no tension arises in any point). I can guarantee you that just to come to this state will take you many days of 30-60 minute practice everyday. On this stage you will learn how to detach and move away all thoughts and tensions arising in your body.  And only then you can try to keep the state for 2-3 minutes.

At some point this practice may naturally mix with whole-body breathing, since the states are very close.
Title: Re: Growing restless in Shamatha :-(
Post by: Matthew on June 14, 2010, 12:50:34 PM
Morning Dew,

The problem is one of discipline vs relaxation.

Of course you are reacting badly to Shamatha. This is because it works and there are parts of you that do not want to change.

Yes I have focussed on the rise and fall of the belly but I only recommend that for people who are really struggling to even sense their body these days.

You need to discipline your mind to stay focussed and relax at the same time: the middle way. At the moment you are giving in too easily to those parts of your mind that feel threatened by your practice.

Just don't give up. That is their aim in putting you off with this stuff.


Title: Re: Growing restless in Shamatha :-(
Post by: Alex on June 14, 2010, 03:21:52 PM
Hi Morning Dew,

I agree with TIB: the shamatha is really working.

I would like to add that for me increasing the concentration factor helps if I am stuck. Concentration, or more focus on an object. Still an open awareness, but a little less open. Focus for example on the belly, as you say, but what works great for me are also the feet (walking meditation).

On my last retreat the 6th day was the worst. There was this feeling in my back and this little voice that said that if I didn’t get up I would go mad. I stuck with it, but sitting was very difficult for me during the rest of the day and not at all productive. I sat, but I was either victim or fighting back. But in the walking meditation I was able to stick to the task at hand: walking and being with my feet. Somehow I gained a different perspective, I ‘saw’ my struggle from a calm place and the obstacle just left. A chunk of ego, whatever it was.

I agree that you shouldn’t give up shamatha, but other techniques (meditation of not) could help you get past this phase.
And keep in mind that shamatha is really working!

All the best!