Author Topic: First session - all about the pain  (Read 17344 times)

jernej

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First session - all about the pain
« on: January 23, 2011, 11:19:06 PM »
So the recent article about meditation reached me (as I guess it has many others) and I've been reading "Mindfulness in plain English" and decided to give it a try.

Even before I started I knew I need to set quite low time for the session, since I expected some pain. Well, after I started, of course, my projections anticipated in terrible leg and back pain.

I was loosing my concentration all the time. My mind is wandering around like mad. I was trying to observe the pain, but what I observed the most is how quickly I'm prepared to quit if I hit on a problem  :-\ So yeah, I decided it was better to move a bit, and I tried to pay attention to that. So at the end I did finish my session as I planned.

But I would have never guessed how hard it is simply to concentrate at the breathing.

Namaste

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 01:15:45 AM »
So the recent article about meditation reached me (as I guess it has many others) and I've been reading "Mindfulness in plain English" and decided to give it a try.

Even before I started I knew I need to set quite low time for the session, since I expected some pain. Well, after I started, of course, my projections anticipated in terrible leg and back pain.

I was loosing my concentration all the time. My mind is wandering around like mad. I was trying to observe the pain, but what I observed the most is how quickly I'm prepared to quit if I hit on a problem  :-\ So yeah, I decided it was better to move a bit, and I tried to pay attention to that. So at the end I did finish my session as I planned.

But I would have never guessed how hard it is simply to concentrate at the breathing.

Which article are you talking about?

Don't set times.  Start sitting when you have ample time that you probably won't fill anyway.  Also, thinking about sitting in relation to time is counterproductive in itself - think about it in terms of value and clarity instead - "sit until it's happening".

 Why did you expect physical pain?  If you anticipated pain, and then pain came about, why would you do that?

Ego is like a wild animal, tamable by concentration.  Dogs don't sit on the first try, and our minds are no different.   If they were, we'd be out of this suffering cycle by now :P.  What's your definition of "observe"?  When you say you observed your pain and movements, what do you mean?  

It's hard, yeah.  As soon as I find myself lost in thought ( egotripping ), I say something like "Oh, that's where I am now.  Back to breathing.", and let the thought pass as it pleases.  If you find that you're getting pulled back into those thoughts, try counting your breaths to 4, and then repeating.  Once your mind is clear of nothing but those four numbers, you can ditch them, too.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 02:14:22 AM by Namaste »

jernej

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 10:42:27 AM »
This http://goo.gl/85MXx was the article and this http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html is the book i'm reading.

I expected pain because I know my joints are rusty. Maybe I'll try chair to overcome that.

thelastrich

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 12:05:21 PM »
Yep you should use a chair or a bench.
If you use a chair I recommend you to put some books (or anything) under the back-legs of the chair, to make an angle of 12 to 20 degrees. Try, test, change, and try again. It will make your back to be straight naturally without any effort.

Meditation should be comfortable. If you are not comfortable, you can't relax.
I'm a novice too, but I read there are "meditation pain", you can recognize it because when you finish meditation and get up, that pain goes away in less than 15 seconds. It's no physical pain, but meditation pain. I think I have experienced some of this, but I'm not sure at all.

kidnovice

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 10:21:37 PM »
I just wanted to second the advice you have received thus far, jernej.

At this stage, you should focus on developing calm and concentration. If you are always struggling with pain, you will probably just develop a miserable mind. And who wants that?

So, try the chair. Also, you might try re-defining your intention when you meditate.  Instead of saying, "I will sit for X minutes," you might try saying, "I will continuously watch/return to my breath with a calm mind for X minutes."

If after five minutes, you find the pain destroying your concentration, then go ahead and move, but do it slowly and mindfully until you find a new position that you can maintain for a few minutes (or even try standing for a few minutes, and then sitting back down). As you move/adopt a new position, see if you can maintain your intention throughout: "calmly returning to the breath" or "calmly observing the sensations that arise when I move." There is no reason to stop meditating just because you moved! That's the trick. Keep practicing even when you're no longer sitting still.

If you follow that approach, you might find that you can extend your mindfulness periods much longer, and get great benefit.  Also, as you develop your ability to concentrate on the breath, you should find that your equanimity increases, thus allowing you to sit longer, undisturbed by the pain. But let that come on its own. For now, just develop the habit of mindfulness, and see if you can't be a bit more peaceful for a set period of time.

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.

Matthew

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2011, 11:10:26 PM »
jernej,

Personally I have to meditate horizontally (on a bed) at the moment. Maintaining an awake mindfulness is a little harder but far from impossible.

Try some of the solutions mentioned above - or simply be sure you are sitting on a firm cushion/seat at least six inches (or fifteen centimetres) high (some tightly folded blankets work very well) - this will lift your pelvis, create a good position for your lumbar spine and take the heat off your legs.

Warmly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 11:12:50 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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jernej

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2011, 11:16:44 PM »
Thank you for the advice. I did use the chair today and it really works much better for me. No pain at all!

Now, regarding the meditation... my mind doesn't seem to be in the present. In moves in the past and into the future. I think I got two moments when my mind was really concentrated on "now", on my breath. And my ego seem to find calmness very boring (I should say that I do feel like internet fried my brain to some extent  :-[)

Will proceed with this practice and see where it takes me.

On a side note, it seems universal loving-kindness is affecting me already. Even as I was reading the book (link above) and later ending my day with universal loving & kindness sentences, I found myself communicating differently with people (on online forums, for example). I recognized much of anger and impatience that wanted to go out of me at first are... useless.

I must admit I am a bit afraid of this, as my job seem to require certain aggression (business development). I'd love to live a different life, but there are bills to pay :-/

That said, due to today's tragedy, I'd like to say:
May the relatives of the Domodedovo victims be well and peaceful. May they have the patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome their inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.
May the relatives of the Domodedovo perpetrators be well and peaceful. May they have the patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome their inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2011, 11:44:18 PM »
....
Now, regarding the meditation... my mind doesn't seem to be in the present. In moves in the past and into the future. I think I got two moments when my mind was really concentrated on "now", on my breath. And my ego seem to find calmness very boring (I should say that I do feel like internet fried my brain to some extent  :-[)

Will proceed with this practice and see where it takes me.
......

jernej,

Do proceed - the first part you are describing "Monkey mind" ... habitual mind flitting from this thought to that .... it takes a while to calm. Ego finding calmness boring has a lot to do with ego being worn away by calm and meditation practice - ego will throw many obstacles in your way.

Good you found a more comfortable position.

May all beings find peace and joy,

Matthew

ps I moved this to the meditation board as it is practice related. Under the Banyan tree is where the offtopic stuff goes :)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 11:46:49 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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Morning Dew

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 08:23:00 AM »
Hi friend  :)

Quote
I must admit I am a bit afraid of this, as my job seem to require certain aggression (business development). I'd love to live a different life, but there are bills to pay

When I read this I felt to share my experience with you. You see even I thought that I must have  certain agression as a sales man to sell more stuff of course, but the truth is I sell now even better with the ability to calm the mind and have more compassion for the people I serve. I am so calm now that people have no need to doubt what I advice them to do. They simply go for it  :)
I also invest much less energy in selling stuff because of the calmness yet I still do all which is expected from me, meaning I am very much awake.
Being a meditator doesnt mean one is to become a monk  ;D  dont worry about that. Simply practice the calm-abiding Shamatha meditation. Be aware of the whole body breathing in calming it, be aware of the whole body breathing out and calming it. Thoughts come, notice themand go back to calming the body with each in and outhnreath. Calm, relaxation and be kind to the self which is so confused and fragmented. Your mind needs defragmentation and that needs patience. Know one thing, this too shall pass.

Establish a daily practice, no matter for how long just make sure you sit every day. If I miss my morning sitting for some reason I try to sit at work for 5-10 minutes in the toilet instead  ;D  and man it calms me tremendously which as mentioned above just boosts my sales and makes other people happier around me because they too can feel the change in me. All happy.

Friendly Che

thelastrich

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 03:41:48 PM »
If I miss my morning sitting for some reason I try to sit at work for 5-10 minutes in the toilet instead  ;D

 ;D  ;D
That sounds like a joke, but is a good idea, didn't think of that.

Morning Dew

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2011, 08:08:18 PM »
I actualy meditated today for 5 minutes at work in the WC and man it sure have saved my day. I do it especialy when there is lots to do and my mind end up kind of scatered all over the place and I loose the "one thing at a time" focus. It sure helps turning inwards for even 5 minutes calm-abiding  :)

Friendly Che

jernej

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2011, 11:44:24 PM »
I had an interesting sitting today. For some reason, there were much less distractions than yesterday. Maybe even too little? Was I too a sleep?

The interesting thing is that I noticed the ego "evaluating" the thoughts. Then, the mind stepped in and it observed the ego evaluating its progress.

Who is I? Who is the mind? What is the point of posting this? I know ego is posting this, but my only way to communicate is through it. How do I refer to my broader self? Am I imagining things?

Uh?

Alexanderjohn

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2011, 04:24:26 AM »
Quote
The interesting thing is that I noticed the ego "evaluating" the thoughts. Then, the mind stepped in and it observed the ego evaluating its progress.

Who is I? Who is the mind? What is the point of posting this? I know ego is posting this, but my only way to communicate is through it. How do I refer to my broader self? Am I imagining things?

I get what you mean. Then the ego goes "what is this observing mind?" and you're back to ego as the evaluation continues. There isn't too much point of feeding the ego with labels for it. I would only call it the perculiar phenomenon of awareness experiencing awareness of itself. Not really much point of labelling this, just keep experiencing without clinging and see where it goes.

Metta, Alex.

Morning Dew

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2011, 07:58:39 AM »
jernej my friend, this shows that your practice is maturing  :)
Keep at it without clinging to those BIG questions. Insights will come on thier own accord and then you will get most of the answers actualy throuhg your practicing rather than intelectualy via the ego-self chattering.

I think you are doing great my man. Keep at it  ;)

Friendly Che

Matthew

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2011, 05:56:49 PM »
If I miss my morning sitting for some reason I try to sit at work for 5-10 minutes in the toilet instead  ;D

 ;D  ;D
That sounds like a joke, but is a good idea, didn't think of that.

I claim copyright on this idea ;D - have been teaching people to do toilet meditation for years - especially if their office is stressed or busy. Search the forum for toilet meditation ... you'll find something !
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2011, 06:03:08 PM »
I had an interesting sitting today. For some reason, there were much less distractions than yesterday. Maybe even too little? Was I too a sleep?

The interesting thing is that I noticed the ego "evaluating" the thoughts. Then, the mind stepped in and it observed the ego evaluating its progress.

Who is I? That is what you have set about discovering - have no fear Who is the mind? That is what you have also set about discovering - have no fear What is the point of posting this? To get support from people who have been there I know ego is posting this, but my only way to communicate is through it. How do I refer to my broader self? Don't worry about it - we have to work with ego, that's the point. Befriending yourself is a strong part of the path - that means getting to know the guts of your ego Am I imagining things? No. Have no fear, cling to nothing, fabricate nothing, see and be what is. Walk the path.


Uh?

(Answers in red.)

Have no worries. It's all good. Just observe. Be mindful of what is happening when you sit and in daily life.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Rocket

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2011, 04:02:28 PM »

Even before I started I knew I need to set quite low time for the session, since I expected some pain. Well, after I started, of course, my projections anticipated in terrible leg and back pain.

.

Get comfortable.  Real comfortable.  How could you develop stable calm clear focus without comfort?

jernej

  • Member
Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2011, 12:47:52 PM »
It's been some time since I last posted anything, so a short update.

I've not given up yet  ;D
But I haven't really been practicing very much  :-[

A problem I have is that I just don't seem to find a free slot in my schedule to sit. I need to be alone and undistributed. So evenings are out of the picture.

But recently I've been changing from night owl to early bird to a point that I wake up the first. So there is an opportunity for me to have some peace and quite and to sit. Besides, Dalai Lama and Jon Kabat Zinn both recommend practicing in the morning.

So I've done it a couple of times now and I think this could do it. Except that today as I was sitting, I didn't hear my wife getting out of bed and suddenly I hear the door opening. I felt so strange I can't explain it. I jumped and turned, hid behind a blanket and was totally afraid. The momentary jump out of meditation was something like I've never experienced before. Very intense.

Andrew

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2011, 01:50:40 PM »
Hi jernej,

it sound like we face similar challenges regarding time, and i struggle still to get the balance right. But the simplest  solution is two little words; Ear Plugs!

$5 for a bag of 5 pairs and you are set for a fortnight at least.

I can meditate with the kids in the same room, wife fussing around, whatever!

I've had the same thing with getting shocked out of concentration, it can rattle you real good.

Keep posting here, you will be amazed how much momentum you gather just 'hanging around' others. If you can't sit for 20 mins, sit for 10, and so on, the habit is the most important thing to build, just a little bit daily. There is so much to learn just to get the simplest things learnt when it comes to 'sitting', if you get what I'm saying :D

Have you been reading the threads in your posting absence at all?

love

Andrew
getting it done

jernej

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2011, 02:34:02 PM »
Hi jernej,

it sound like we face similar challenges regarding time, and i struggle still to get the balance right. But the simplest  solution is two little words; Ear Plugs!

$5 for a bag of 5 pairs and you are set for a fortnight at least.

I'm "blessed" with tinntus so background noise is essential for me (can be anything, birds, traffic, something, but I really need background noise).

I can meditate with the kids in the same room, wife fussing around, whatever!

I don't know why, but at the moment meditation is very personal to me and I kinda like to do it alone.

Morning Dew

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2011, 03:35:18 PM »
Quote
I don't know why, but at the moment meditation is very personal to me and I kinda like to do it alone.

Good to have you back mate :)

I too prefer for some reason to meditate alone in the room. Actualy alone in the apartment feels even better. When my wife is around i always have this feeling like im expected to do something. Mind stuff  ;D

Glad you have found time to sit. I too believed that i have no time for meditation. I started getting up 6 h instead of 8h in the morning and now i have all the time in the world.

May no harm come to you
Dusko/Che

Andrew

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    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2011, 02:22:21 AM »
I need to be alone and undistributed. So evenings are out of the picture.


I would challenge this idea, if it is not going to happen, then why believe you need it to happen? If you absolutely can't challenge this yet, then do you have a car you can sit in? A shed? Ideas of why we cannot are the reason we cannot. 




I'm "blessed" with tinntus so background noise is essential for me (can be anything, birds, traffic, something, but I really need background noise).



Perhaps then a set of ear buds and some nature recordings would help? A good attitude to have is 'don't let anything become an excuse' -keep trying things until you get the solution.


Use technology to your advantage, modern life has taken so much away from us, the least it can do it help us meditate!

I look forward to reading how you are going,

loving friendliness to you

Andrew

« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 02:28:07 AM by Andrew »
getting it done

Namaste

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2011, 05:17:34 AM »
I would challenge this idea, if it is not going to happen, then why believe you need it to happen? If you absolutely can't challenge this yet, then do you have a car you can sit in? A shed? Ideas of why we cannot are the reason we cannot. 

Noise or silence isn't an idea worth challenging.  Busy atmospheres will just yank concentration around until it dissipates.  Trying to relax into the body among noise is inefficient when there's silence all around.  Empty churches, parks, Krsna conscious societys, libraries..

Some kinda white noise is different but still I prefer silence.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2011, 05:19:50 AM by Cole »

Morning Dew

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Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2011, 05:23:09 AM »
Nice one cole :) those places sure provide some peace and quiet.

Im getting better at calming the body while on the train.

Be well
Dusko

Andrew

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    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: First session - all about the pain
« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2011, 05:52:00 AM »
I would challenge this idea, if it is not going to happen, then why believe you need it to happen? If you absolutely can't challenge this yet, then do you have a car you can sit in? A shed? Ideas of why we cannot are the reason we cannot. 

Noise or silence isn't an idea worth challenging.  Busy atmospheres will just yank concentration around until it dissipates.  Trying to relax into the body among noise is inefficient when there's silence all around.  Empty churches, parks, Krsna conscious societys, libraries..

Some kinda white noise is different but still I prefer silence.

Context my friend, context. If a married man with a family and career doesn't have much time or silence, then thinking these are prerequisites will always provide the perfect excuse. 5mins in traffic is better than nothing. Infact, I've had some good sessions listening to a Harley warm up!

It all depends on what you think you are trying to achieve.

wink :-*

Andrew
getting it done