Author Topic: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?  (Read 11540 times)

kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2011, 03:00:03 AM »
but first comes Calm-Abiding practice - and lots of it.

Yes, TIB-ji is right.  :)

In my enthusiasm, I I jumped the gun. Calm-abiding must come first. It is from that place that you can really influence the quality of your awareness (i.e., add a drop of kindness).

Nonetheless, I really think that you can enjoy the experience of returning to your breath. It can be a happy moment when you catch yourself distracted, and I was trying to point that out. Finding that happiness requires knowing what to look for, and appreciating what is actually happening.

Its like going to the museum with an art-enthusiast; they point to a painting that otherwise might have bored you ("Dammit, its just a bunch of shapes and colors."), but when you see their enthusiasm, and see the painting from their perspective, you find that you can now enjoy it too.

Its the same with returning to your breath. It can be just another chore ("Dammit, why am I still distracted?!"). Or you can try to see what is fascinating about it: watch the way your body responds when you "wake-up" from a thought. Marvel at how seductive thoughts can be. Feel wonder at how little control you actually have. As you return to your breath, notice how the fringe of the thought lingers for a moment. Its all interesting stuff if you decide to see it that way.

Also, I like to reflect on the positive kamma that I generate whenever I catch my mind wandering.  That's what I meant when I said, "Each waking-up moment plants a seed for future waking-up moments." This is really true. The more you catch-yourself lost in a thought, the more you will catch yourself lost in other states during your ordinary life.  If you truly understand this, you will definitely rejoice.   :)

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.

No, don't pretend. But recognize that the practice only works because it amplifies skillful mental states that you have already experienced at some point in your life. There are different ways that you can tap into those emotions. One of them is metta practice.

Here is something I occasionally do: I will pause in the midst of my meditation and reflect on a moment of kindness that I have performed or received, or I'll even recall someone for whom I have uncomplicated feelings of love (really, that means my 3 year-old niece!). I find doing this for a minute or two will then leave a residual feeling in my awareness which I then bring to my breath/body.

Of course, I don't know how "vipassana" that is, but it works.  :P

With metta,
KN
« Last Edit: January 20, 2011, 03:02:31 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.

Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2011, 11:41:40 AM »
Its the same with returning to your breath. It can be just another chore ("Dammit, why am I still distracted?!"). Or you can try to see what is fascinating about it: watch the way your body responds when you "wake-up" from a thought. Marvel at how seductive thoughts can be. Feel wonder at how little control you actually have. As you return to your breath, notice how the fringe of the thought lingers for a moment. Its all interesting stuff if you decide to see it that way.

Love this description, and will try to be conscious of it in my next session.

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Also, I like to reflect on the positive kamma that I generate whenever I catch my mind wandering.  That's what I meant when I said, "Each waking-up moment plants a seed for future waking-up moments." This is really true. The more you catch-yourself lost in a thought, the more you will catch yourself lost in other states during your ordinary life.

Totally, that was one of the things that appealed to me the most when I first read about these techniques.


Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2011, 12:11:39 PM »
Also, it just struck me why not marvel at the constant ability of the mind to actually wake up from drifting and be grateful each time it happens. That is to cultivate a gratefulness at the mind's ability to wake up rather than an incredulity at the mind's constant ability to drift. Feels more like viewing the glass as half full than half empty if you know what I mean.

Morning Dew

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2011, 08:45:22 AM »
KN you are my hero mate  ;D
you put it so well;
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Also, I like to reflect on the positive kamma that I generate whenever I catch my mind wandering.  That's what I meant when I said, "Each waking-up moment plants a seed for future waking-up moments." This is really true. The more you catch-yourself lost in a thought, the more you will catch yourself lost in other states during your ordinary life.
WoW, how true yet sooooo simple one easily slips by it without noticing it.
You are an inspiration to this community a true Damma friend, love to have you around  :)

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Feels more like viewing the glass as half full than half empty if you know what I mean

I do indeed. This is a very good way to aproach the practice and all the rest. I can go about my day miserable or I can go about my day smileing, the same applies to the sitting practice. I can moan about all the thoughts invading my mind or I can smile at them and being happy about the fact I am aware of them as KN nicely put it "Each waking-up moment plants a seed for future waking-up moments."

Good man Semantic! How is your practice these days?  :)

Friendly Che

Andrew

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    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2011, 12:17:28 PM »
Awesome thread. ;D

love

Andy
getting it done

Semantic

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2011, 01:49:16 PM »
Good man Semantic! How is your practice these days?  :)

Thanks for asking. I'd like to claim it is going reasonably well. Still as scatterbrained as ever, but further to the subject of this thread, I experimented a bit more with changing the posture and found one that seems to work quite well for me. Previously, I was always sitting at the edge of the sofa, feet on the floor and hands resting on the knees.

But this wasn't very stable for the back. So now, I'm sitting cross-legged (didn't even try this before, just dismissed it off-hand, but it works!) on top of the sofa, with my arms straight out in front letting the wrists rest on the knees. This makes the body form a sort of pyramid shape and it's proved a lot more stable for the upper back.

In return, this has definitely reduced some of the frustration I used to experience during a sitting, and I find it easier to concentrate on the practice as such.

It's also helped a lot to try and be aware of kid novice's advice, to really appreciate each waking up moment. Now, what I do is I cultivate a sense of "wow, amazing, attention is back already" when I catch myself out, instead of "oh, damn, what was I thinking about, it's been going on for ages". Makes a lot of difference actually, and I sometimes find myself with an involuntary smile on my face when it happens. :)

So thank you all!

Morning Dew

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Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2011, 05:24:24 PM »
I find it very important to find the most comfortable posture. I tried chair, seiza, cross legged, walking, lying ... None of it worked until i build a Seiza Bench. From now on even one hour doesnt cause much physical discomfort.

Yes KN nailed it properly he is good he is :D
I am also applying this more positive aproach having compassion for the culturaly conditioned deluded self ;)

You seem to doing well.

Friendly Che

kidnovice

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    • Theravada: with nuts and bolts from Goenka-ji, and fine tuning from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Re: Why sit in an uncomfortable position if the object is to relax?
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2011, 10:03:59 PM »
Thanks for th kind words, Che.  :) I too am glad to be here... and glad to have YOU around! Dharma friends, indeed.  8) (definitely wishing I could attend the upcoming retreat!)

I am glad that your practice is developing well, Semantic. It's really inspiring to hear! Oh, and this was a beautiful reflection:

Also, it just struck me why not marvel at the constant ability of the mind to actually wake up from drifting and be grateful each time it happens. That is to cultivate a gratefulness at the mind's ability to wake up...

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.