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Welcome to the forum Daniel.
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Sangha: Community Introductions / Re: New members introduction thread 2017 - present.
« Last post by Daniel on November 18, 2019, 05:37:32 PM »
Hello! My name is Daniel. I am 59 years old, married 30 years with two grown sons and a granddaughter.

I attended my first 10 day vipassana course as taught by SN Goenka in Oct 2017. I will sit my fourth 10 day in April 2020 at the Dhamma Dhara Center in Shelburne Falls, MA. I live on a little island off the coast of Cape Cod so finding community support for my practice is a challenge. My intention is to utilize this forum to assist in maintaining and deepening my daily practice.

I participated in several Landmark Forum courses in the early 1980's including their rigorous 6-day.

Thank you for accepting me into the forum.

Warmly,
Daniel

 
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I look forward to the discoveries to come as I explore. Blessings
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Seiza posture
« Last post by Katia on November 17, 2019, 03:44:29 PM »
Thanks!  It's unlikely a weak back as I do go to the gym.  But I also am prone to lordosis, and don't have pain issues when standing, just sitting, both of which are part of why I suspect it's the hips (and, when I am on a cushion rather than the floor, my issues with upper-back pain are much reduced), and tend to be very "tight" pretty much all the way down the back, from shoulders to heels. 
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Integration of Meditation in to Daily life
« Last post by Garrett81 on November 17, 2019, 02:57:50 PM »
Hello everyone I hope you are all well.

Garrett here , iv been meditating for nearly four years. I have completed Vipassana, Loving Kindness and a 8 week MBSR program. I am a very slow learner and would to be in a position to attend retreats to deepen my practice, however not long after I first discovered meditation I had to small kids in my life, so I try to meditate as often as I can, mostly every morning in get up at 5am(hour before the kids rise ) and practice. I am very committed to my practice and look forward to the day where I can get a firm grasp from a teacher and retreats.

 But until then I am looking for guidance and support to help me intergrate my practice in to my daily life, I tend to meditate and then completely forgot about intergrating in to my daily life, I put so much effort in to my practice but I let myself down by not using these precious tools in my life but I do not feel like giving up. . I feel like a craftsman who goes to work every day without his toolbox.

Thank you for reading my post and I’m so happy to have discovered some like minded people. I will look forward to to guidance and support!!

Regards
Garrett
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Sangha: Community Introductions / Re: New members introduction thread 2017 - present.
« Last post by Garrett81 on November 17, 2019, 02:55:19 PM »
Hi Matthew

Thanks for the welcome and  will do 😀
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Sangha: Community Introductions / Re: New members introduction thread 2017 - present.
« Last post by Matthew on November 17, 2019, 01:45:50 PM »
Hi Garrett,

Welcome to the forum.

Best post your questions on the meditation board.
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Sangha: Community Introductions / Re: New members introduction thread 2017 - present.
« Last post by Garrett81 on November 17, 2019, 09:53:35 AM »
Hello everyone I hope you are all well.

Garrett here , iv been meditating for nearly four years. I have completed Vipassana, Loving Kindness and a 8 week MBSR program. I am a very slow learner and would to be in a position to attend retreats to deepen my practice, however not long after I first discovered meditation I had to small kids in my life, so I try to meditate as often as I can, mostly every morning in get up at 5am(hour before the kids rise ) and practice. I am very committed to my practice and look forward to the day where I can get a firm grasp from a teacher and retreats.

 But until then I am looking for guidance and support to help me intergrate my practice in to my daily life, I tend to meditate and then completely forgot about intergrating in to my daily life, I put so much effort in to my practice but I let myself down by not using these precious tools in my life but I do not feel like giving up. . I feel like a craftsman who goes to work every day without his toolbox.

Thank you for reading my post and I’m so happy to have discovered some like minded people. I will look forward to to guidance and support!!

Regards
Garrett
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Seiza posture
« Last post by Matthew on November 16, 2019, 11:48:08 PM »
sonnald,

...
I want to know, from those of you who use a seiza bench, do you eventually get used to it and so the pain subsides? Hopefully it will be fine once I become a bit more accustomed to it. Any help would be much appreciated.

Any posture will bring up discomfort at first. It is good to practice equanimity towards these pains and give yourself a chance to get used to it. Having said that, you may need to adjust posture occasionally to be sure you aren't trapping nerves or cutting off blood supply to your legs - you have to find a balance, between equanimity and acceptance on the one hand, and not suffering due to poor posture on the other. It takes time.

Has anyone ever used a seiza bench to sit cross-legged?  This would be ideal for me-- I prefer a higher cushion anyway as I have tight hips (at least I assume that is the problem that causes pain in my upper back if I sit without something to lean against), and I actually currently sit on a pile of blankets... it would be great if I could choose between seiza position and sitting cross-legged, all with the same apparatus.   And it would be less-awkwardly portable, easier to keep clean than a cushion.  (I would consider making my own bench.  That way I could have exactly the design I wanted-- without having to buy several benches to try-- and could even come up with a way to make the legs adjustable.)

Katia,

The seiza bench may not work great cross-legged. The design keeps the pelvis tilted at a healthy angle when you find the right one. Having the weight of your legs in front of you could throw this off, though you may well experiment and find something workable.

I too prefer a higher cushion. I use a Gomden from Samadhi cushions. Made from hard industrial foam. They aren't cheap but you could get a piece of foam cut from a wholesaler and make a removable cover for easy washing yourself.

I also used to have (and make) seiza banches, though I gave my last one away to someone who needed it more than me. I used to make them so the legs folded flat on hinges for ease of travelling with one. Worth experimenting, especially with recycled wood, as the cost is low this way.

The pain in your upper back could come from many things: habitual posture is the usual cause, perhaps causing weak back muscles if you work at a desk. With continued practice it may ease up as your back muscles strengthen. Also, in this male dominated society, I have noticed sometimes women are prone to holding their chest in, so when you are practicing sit and open the chest - it will strengthen your back and make breathing easier if your posture is balanced. Again this may take a little time to adjust to and strengthen the back muscles.
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Meditation, Practice And The Path / Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Last post by Matthew on November 16, 2019, 11:23:07 PM »
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I did my very first Shamatha session for an hour.  I am going for an hour am and an hour pm. I notice many sensations when opening awareness to the whole body. I then tend to 'look around' to see and note them. Perhaps unlearning scanning.  I'll keep working on mindfulness of the body to encompass everything.
I am noticing changes in my breathing.. shallow, a long in or out breathe, sometimes a sigh. The sigh happens when transitioning awareness back from a thought, or after shallow breathing.

That sounds better already - and you are noticing things (you had a concern you might not).

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I experience body temperature changes while practicing. Is it okay to put my shawl on and off during practice?

Unless the changes are leading to a an off-putting level of discomfort I would try and notice them and treat them with equanimity/acceptance. Of course, if you have a medical or other condition leading to such changes don't ignore it. It's OK to move posture/adjust things a bit if there is discomfort (there usually is with sessions of an hour or more), yet it can be a distraction. Again this is one of those things where you will need for yourself to find a balance between things you can maintain equanimity toward and those it is beneficial to make an adjustment for. Don't put yourself into suffering for the sake of it.

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What are the four immeasurables off the cushion you mentioned in another place? Should I be doing something else besides this practice?

They are also called the Brahma-vihara, "divine abodings": loving-kindness "metta"; compassion "karuna"; empathetic joy "mudita"; and, equanimity "upekkha".

They are a practice in and of themselves on the cushion - and in daily life. You can find out more by searching the form and/or the internet. This post has some more information, for example:

https://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php?topic=161.msg906#msg906

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I disliked scanning because it seemed to interrupt the session. When a thought deviated my awareness and I returned my awareness, I had to think intellectually about where I was in the scanning process and where I left off. It didn't promote observing, and switched to thinking. It seemed inconsistent.

This sounds like something that results from the artificial nature and overemphasis on force in the practice.

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I can't help looking a bit ahead... After doing this a few weeks, how will I know when I'm ready to move on? When that time comes, can I ask you what it is you suggest I move on to?

It is described in the Sutta quoted in my post above. Though for now I would keep on working with what you are for some time. You will start to experience development of tranquillity and insight first. When tranquillity matures and insight has cut some of the rougher edges from your habitual ways, the tranquillity will start to feel blissful, 'rapture', as the above text describes it. That is the next exploration, but don't make a goal from this - let it arise naturally through the development of those other qualities. If you make a goal out of it then you will start introducing thought and force into the practice.

You can always ask questions, of course, though I do dip in and out of the forum at the moment. Also, I am walking the path too, as are many here, so be careful not to place me on a pedestal I do not deserve - it has happened before, and it isn't wholesome - as the text under my name says "Meditation: It's a DIY project" - you need to learn to rely on yourself and your inner compass, as well as perhaps starting to read the Suttas and learning their style. As they are based on an oral tradition they are repetitive by nature (makes oral transmission easier). It takes a bit of practice to learn how to discern the content - and I always recommend reading more than one version, as different translators have different ways of perceiving which naturally colour those translations.

One thing is, whenever you find a translation that talks about nose-meditation, it's poorly translated. The word Paramukham means "putting/setting to the fore". Many believe this means the tip of your nose, as it is the front of your face - it does not. It means making mindfulness the foremost quality of your mind.

For now though, I really do recommend keeping it simple and getting a good bit of practice under your belt with Shamatha - you will find many more discoveries as you keep it up. It is a profound and revealing practice.
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