Author Topic: Insight meditation  (Read 2137 times)

Inner Peace

Insight meditation
« on: December 24, 2010, 06:17:04 PM »
I am working with two types of meditation. (1)  Concentration meditation, focusing on a single object.   (2) Insight meditation, becoming the impartial observer, watching thoughts and sensations come and go.  Both are very similar, but insight meditation cultivates the impartial observer.  You may have different terms, so I thought it best I define them as I understand them.

When I  meditate I notice that my mind can be focused on a thought, without being aware that I am focused on the thought.  With concentration meditation when I become aware that I am focused on a thought or sensation, I bring my focus back to my breath.  With insight meditation, I try to be constantly aware of the focus of the thoughts, and watch them come and go.  Awareness and focus are two different things (some poeple might use other terms).

My problem?  With insight meditation, as soon as I become aware that my focus is on a thought, my focus stops.  Me being an impartial observer, is *not* impartial, it influences my focus and thoughts - it basically stops them.  I cannot seem to have independant thoughts while being aware of the thoughts.

Because of this I find insight meditation, difficult if not impossible.

For any of you who practise insight meditation - have you encountered the same?  What have you done to help?

thanks.



dobe

Re: Insight meditation
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2010, 09:11:03 PM »
Vipassana meditation, insight meditation, is a little harder and it takes practice.  It comes naturally once you fully develop concentration meditation(samatha developing samadhi).
You reach a state of awareness that is able to detach from thinkingness and watch it more instead of engaging in it.  At first, the moment you notice thoughts you either stop them, or unconsciously follow them to their whole story: first you feel annoyed, then you remember some past event that continues into a thought, then a story.  I find that eventually I can position my awareness so that it doesn't interfere with thought.  It takes practice.  Also, I find that when I'm watching thought, thought eventually settles down and becomes less frantic.  A passing thought will eventually become a small, unintelligible energy.  Thats when the mind becomes more silent, and you can really go deeper into that space where thoughts actually originate from. 

Get deeper with Concentration meditation.  Insight meditation will become easier when you get deeper.

soma

Re: Insight meditation
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2010, 10:37:10 AM »
Quote
When I  meditate I notice that my mind can be focused on a thought, without being aware that I am focused on the thought.

If you are focused on a thought without being aware of it then where are the 'you' not being aware of it ?
If you are focused on a thought without being aware of it then there is identification with that thought 100 % - then you are that thought.
If you suddenly become aware of that thought that you focus on, you are not watching your focus focusing on that thought - it is just that your focus has now broadened and wherever that focus is, there 'you' are too. Can you step aside and watch your focus roam around like some separate entity ? When your focus shifts it is the sense of you that shifts.
So awareness, it seems to me, is not any separate 'I' watching 'my' focus shifting - it is awareness of the sense of 'I' arising and vanishing at different places.

Quote
My problem?  With insight meditation, as soon as I become aware that my focus is on a thought, my focus stops.  Me being an impartial observer, is *not* impartial, it influences my focus and thoughts - it basically stops them.  I cannot seem to have independant thoughts while being aware of the thoughts.

Because of this I find insight meditation, difficult if not impossible


Nothing stops - everything is constantly changing - have not your focus changed since you noticed that it stopped ?  ;)
When your focus stops as you say, what happens ?
Since you think it is a problem I guess that what happens is there arises other thoughts, feelings, sensations that you do not become aware of, such as anticipation, waiting, confusion, irritation and those feelings consists of thougths and bodily sensations that continue to change endlessly.
You have a preconcieved idea of what should happen or not happen and therefore you think it is a 'problem' when your focus stops. It is not your focus that stops - it is your awareness of the subtler processes that stops.
Do not anticipate anything or assume anything, just let things be and continue watching and there will not be a 'problem'. If there is a sense of 'stopping' then you know that there is a sense of stopping and that is fine - just continue watching that 'stopping' and be aware of the subtler stuff sort of spreading out fom that sensation of stopping.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2010, 11:22:19 AM by soma »

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Insight meditation
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2010, 06:54:14 AM »
Hey inner peace, i thought i would just respond to your question about observing thoughts. Personally, I find concentration practice is a VERY important tool in learning to watch thoughts without being carried away by them. Concentration brings a quieter mind, which means greater space between thoughts. Greater space give you more room to be balanced and really just watch.

Concentration can come in many flavors. For me, one flavor is where thoughts run in the background, while at the same time, you are fully aware of your chosen object (i.e., the breath). That type of concentration (as opposed to full blown undistracted focus) can be very useful for what you are trying to do. Learning to look at thoughts "from the corner of your eye" can be a great starting point.
 
Also, Here is a thread you ay want to check out:
http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,609.15.html

With metta,
KN


« Last Edit: December 26, 2010, 07:35:34 AM by kidnovice »
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.

kidnovice

  • Member
    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Insight meditation
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2010, 07:33:03 AM »
You know, I just re read your posting,  and I began to think your "problem" is maybe that your concentration is simply very very strong. And thats not really a problem! If that is the case, then perhaps you might STOP trying to watch thoughts. There are other important things to be done with your samadhi.

When I am highly concentrated, I may naturally observe thoughts, and that can be quite profound, but that's not really my goal. Everything is impermanent, including concentration. So, when you have it, don't waste your time beating your head against the wall.  Make the most of it!  :)

Yes, If the concentration is light, and is able to stay with the breath while allowing other things to happen in the background, then try to observe thoughts. But If it's intensely quiet and still, here are the kinds if things I find useful (and more natural) to explore:

Explore the depth of concentration. How far can I REALLY go? However concentrated you think you are, you could be more.  ;)

Am I generating tension, even subtly? Is there anything I can do to relax while remaining concentrated?

Can I gladden the mind? Can I generate an inner smile that begins to pervade my entire being?

Can I refine my awareness of my body? Are there any areas which I cannot feel a subtle flow of pleasant vibration?

If you have deep concentration, look for any of the three characteristics if you truly want to cultivate "insight," especially in regards to the body. Here are three questions I explore: What in my experience right now is constantly changing? What is stressful, however subtle? What is not me?

Well, thats my view, anyway.  :)

kN


« Last Edit: December 26, 2010, 07:37:03 AM by kidnovice »
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.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
12 Replies
10830 Views
Last post March 04, 2008, 08:23:20 PM
by Flipasso
6 Replies
6537 Views
Last post September 18, 2012, 09:56:53 PM
by hopper
0 Replies
2297 Views
Last post December 23, 2008, 04:14:56 PM
by frepi
5 Replies
1934 Views
Last post June 02, 2013, 07:03:28 PM
by Matthew
10 Replies
2913 Views
Last post February 01, 2014, 12:51:34 PM
by redalert
2 Replies
420 Views
Last post June 22, 2020, 02:28:38 AM
by Dhamma
3 Replies
107 Views
Last post January 12, 2021, 12:14:07 PM
by Alex