Author Topic: Help Re-Learning Meditating  (Read 3557 times)

nomadi00

  • Guest
Help Re-Learning Meditating
« on: February 06, 2008, 03:23:21 AM »
Hello  :)

I am looking for help continuing meditation. I practiced for about a year, and stopped (my serious meditation) about 3 years ago. I have tried on and off, usually unable to commit for more than a few weeks to a month. I have written in a journal during these times, tried to remain mindful of the practice throughout the day, repeating mantras, but the, and my, mind is very weak (of late).

My problem is, due to the major depression I get I can not focus. It is very difficult, and I find that drinking wine is a much easier bridge to clarity. Sometimes I will sit and be able to go beyond the wish to stop; I will relax and feel like my old self. I will begin to see things - but it is hard to get down a technique and feeling that is far more complex than words!

I am in need of some methods to help stay on the path and stop falling over each time it seems to become too futile.

I will appreciate any suggestions and ideas! I feel meditation is the answer to all, though the mind often proves a very strong adversary.

I feel meditation is the path to clarity, wisdom, knowledge, love and peace.

Thanks!

Sincerely,

Steve H

pamojjam

  • Guest
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 09:58:48 AM »
Welcome nomadi00,

I'm sorry to hear of your difficulty with depression. But before I would want to suggest anything, would you like to tell first what kind of meditation you practised till now? Are you taking medication?

waiting to hear from you again,

kind regards..

Paul

  • Guest
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2008, 10:18:44 AM »

Hi Steve,

I can really relate to what you're saying!  I guess what works for one person won't necessarily work for another, but I'll give you some of my remotivation ideas.  First can you get on a retreat?  If you can that would be a great way to restart your practice.  If you can't, can you get away somewhere by yourself for a weekend or a few days?  I find there's nothing better than wondering around in the mountains or on the coast, for example to re-remember the dhammic teachings and see them in action.  I also find that reading a good book can help too.  I find Breath by Breath by Larry Rosenburg particularily clear and motivating, he describes the path and the teachings in a clear friendly way that just makes you want to get back on the cushion!

Finally, when you're on the cushion and focus is weak, I really suggest going back to the breathing until concentration comes back.  Doing more complex methods becomes tiring and frustrating when the concentration isn't there (which is often the case for me at the moment).  I also think that we completely underestimate the value of just focusing in breathing; when you do it for long enough and start entering into absorption Vipassana comes by itself anyway.

I hope this helps,

Paul

Stefan

  • The Marvellous Omannobazong!!!
  • Member
  • love is the key
    • Vipassana (Goenka), Freestyle, Family, God
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 06:57:54 PM »
Hi Steve, yes I know the problem: though I know meditation is essential, I have times where I simply don't do it ... this made me depressed until I accepted the fact that I'm not developed enough to keep it up all the time. Accept it, that's the first step to equanimity. If you can't focus on your meditation, then stay equanimous with that. Smile to yourself, saying "aaa there goes my concentration again", and if it doesn't come back, well, then get up and do something else. it would be wrong if you forced yourself to sit. I'm sure that one has to be developed quite far to even start meditating, and for us meditation-newbies there's a lot of "off-the-cushion-work" to do. you can train your concentration with bodily activities such as hatha yoga, ping pong, stepdancing, taekwondo, soccer or playing guitar, and you may find out that it's impossible to stay depressed after having shot a beautiful goal ...  :D

Metta to you, Stefan
« Last Edit: February 06, 2008, 08:24:13 PM by stefan »
anicca

nomadi00

  • Guest
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2008, 05:59:15 PM »
Welcome nomadi00,

I'm sorry to hear of your difficulty with depression. But before I would want to suggest anything, would you like to tell first what kind of meditation you practised till now? Are you taking medication?

waiting to hear from you again,

kind regards..

Hello, Pamojjan (and all).

No, I'm not taking medication, but I am working with homeopathy.

I didn't practice any specific kind of meditation, like Vipassana, which my homeopathic practitioner recommended. When I was serious with my practice - or as serious as I could have been, my method consisted of visualizations to relax the body and mind, then concentration - usually on the point of the body below the navel - and clearing the mind. Currently, my malady does make it hard to stay focused. Sometimes I will seem to snap into a state of focus, and be able to hold it for a session, but then be unable to regain that grip or feel, no matter how thoroughly I tried to document it in my journal.

Paul, that sounds like a great idea! I could get away for a weekend. Nature is the perfect place to search for peace, and that's how I started. It never occurred to me now though  ???. But when it gets a little warmer, there are plenty of peaceful places where I'm at - the Catskill region of NY - to give it a try. I could look into the book you suggested in bring it along.

pamojjam

  • Guest
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2008, 06:38:24 PM »
Hi Steve and all,

Quote
No, I'm not taking medication, but I am working with homeopathy.
glad to hear you tried a different approach. From what I gather Paul suggestion to take some days off in the wilderness is a very good idea. Many things get clearer almost by themself if taken out of the usual habitual ways.

Have you got any glue yourself what are the causes underlying the depression you experience ? (don't necessaryly mean to tell it here)

kind regards..
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 06:39:34 PM by pamojjam »

nomadi00

  • Guest
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2008, 04:09:07 AM »
glad to hear you tried a different approach. From what I gather Paul suggestion to take some days off in the wilderness is a very good idea. Many things get clearer almost by themself if taken out of the usual habitual ways.

Have you got any glue yourself what are the causes underlying the depression you experience ? (don't necessaryly mean to tell it here)

kind regards..

Hello Pamojjam.
Yes, I think it's good to try the different approaches.

I think time spent elsewhere, in a harmonious setting, would help bring focus. I've already started researching tent prices  ::)

I think the underlying causes are a lack of focus. I think re-centering and taking control of mind and body would be the perfect catalyst.

Nomadi

Paul

  • Guest
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2008, 01:08:40 PM »
Nomadi, I'm glad you liked the getting away idea, by the way I didn't think of it either Matthew (The Irreverant Buddhist) suggested it to me a while back in a topic on this site and it did me a lot of good  :)   If you decide to get the Rosenberg book I'd really recommend reading it before you go away, it has a section on walking meditation that is ideal to apply when you go away for a weekend - it will give you that much more focus. 

pamojjam

  • Guest
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2008, 05:09:11 PM »

Quote
I think the underlying causes are a lack of focus.

Well, though the chances are very unlikely that this would work via a post on a forum. Nevertheless, there is still a slight chance that the following method could help you to become a bid focused again. Interestingly enough it's, beside other things, a self-help method called 'Focusing' and taken from this side:
Quote
Gendlin, E.T. (1996). An introduction to focusing: Six steps. New York: The Focusing Institute. From http://www.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2234.html
and as in meditation: don't try to force anything, if it doesn't feel right don't follow the instructions; stay a minute or two with each step, which aren't really steps but are conceptualized this way to get a feeling what's involved:


Clearing a space

What I will ask you to do will be silent, just to yourself. Take a moment just to relax . . . All right – now, inside you, I would like you to pay attention inwardly, in your body, perhaps in your stomach or chest. Now see what comes there when you ask, "How is my life going? What is the main thing for me right now?" Sense within your body. Let the answers come slowly from this sensing. When some concern comes, DO NOT GO INSIDE IT. Stand back, say "Yes, that's there. I can feel that, there." Let there be a little space between you and that. Then ask what else you feel. Wait again, and sense. Usually there are several things.

Felt Sense

From among what came, select one personal problem to focus on. DO NOT GO INSIDE IT. Stand back from it. Of course, there are many parts to that one thing you are thinking about – too many to think of each one alone. But you can feel all of these things together. Pay attention there where you usually feel things, and in there you can get a sense of what all of the problem feels like. Let yourself feel the unclear sense of all of that.

Handle

What is the quality of this unclear felt sense? Let a word, a phrase, or an image come up from the felt sense itself. It might be a quality-word, like tight, sticky, scary, stuck, heavy, jumpy, or a phrase, or an image. Stay with the quality of the felt sense till something fits it just right.

Resonating

Go back and forth between the felt sense and the word (phrase, or image). Check how they resonate with each other. See if there is a little bodily signal that lets you know there is a fit. To do it, you have to have the felt sense there again, as well as the word. Let the felt sense change, if it does, and also the word or picture, until they feel just right in capturing the quality of the felt sense.

Asking

Now ask: what is it, about this whole problem, that makes this quality (which you have just named or pictured)? Make sure the quality is sensed again, freshly, vividly (not just remembered from before). When it is here again, tap it, touch it, be with it, asking, "What makes the whole problem so ______?" Or you ask, "What is in this sense?"

If you get a quick answer without a shift in the felt sense, just let that kind of answer go by. Return your attention to your body and freshly find the felt sense again. Then ask it again.

Be with the felt sense till something comes along with a shift, a slight "give" or release.

Receiving

Receive whatever comes with a shift in a friendly way. Stay with it a while, even if it is only a slight release. Whatever comes, this is only one shift; there will be others. You will probably continue after a little while, but stay here for a few moments.


 :)
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 05:42:37 PM by pamojjam »

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Help Re-Learning Meditating
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2008, 12:57:53 PM »
pamojjam,

Good post. Gendlin's work is very useful both psychotherapeutically and meditatively.

In the Dhamma,

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