Author Topic: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This  (Read 5393 times)

Cani

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Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« on: November 07, 2014, 12:08:07 AM »
A habit I have is constantly looking at how long I have left when I'm meditating.

I recently downloaded this free time app which has a nifty feature, you can tap a button to add on a minute as it counts down.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/timer+/id391564049?mt=8

So, every time I catch myself looking at the time to see how long I have left, I 'punish' myself by tapping the +1 minute.  Eventually one learns that looking at the time will mean an extra minute of meditation, so you stop yourself doing it.

Goofaholix

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2014, 12:51:11 AM »
Or you could put the timer somewhere you can't see from your cushion.

betty

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2014, 01:57:04 AM »
I guess it depends on what your intentions are, but personally I feel very uncomfortable with the idea of "punishing" yourself with having to sit another minute in meditation.  That doesn't feel much like a meditative attitude to me. 

If you have the awareness to hit the button and punish yourself each time you catch yourself looking at the timer, couldn't you instead intend to simply note "peeking" and bring full awareness to that?  Or as the poster suggested above, if it's a real issue just cover the timer! 

Meditation isn't about punishment or forcing ourselves to do or not do things, it's about bringing more awareness to what we are doing moment by moment.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2014, 02:54:34 AM »
If you can see yourself wanting to look, and can abandon your need to look, that in itself may be of benefit to you.

Cani

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2014, 12:19:14 AM »
I've tried the 'softly softly' approach for years, it isn't working.  And this isn't how Mr Goenka teaches it: on day four of the course he says sit then and force yourself not to move.  He doesn't say 'just be aware of yourself moving and return,' you'll be there for a thousand years.  No, he says just use your willpower to stop yourself. 

This 'win-win' approach has worked well so far, because the reason I'm looking at the clock is because I want it to end, so I give myself an extra minute for that, foiling the plan.  Plus I get an extra minute's meditation, so I win that way.

And as for hiding the timer, doesn't work, I always dig out the timer and look at it.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2014, 12:38:25 AM »
You should look to transition away from that sort of mental gymnastics.

gasteria

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2014, 01:12:35 AM »
I bought myself meditation disks with Ms. Goenka recordings  from Pariyatti web site. Now I don't have to worry about time because each meditation takes exactly 1h, 5 min. Maybe this can replace your timer. It is a helpful because there is chanting in Pali and instruction (pick your language). It also creates meditating mood. You would need to complete one 10 days Vipassana retreat to access this web site if you haven't done it yet. I am sure there are also other meditations recordings easily available. So don't dig out your timer again. You don't really need it.

betty

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2014, 01:14:49 AM »
This 'win-win' approach has worked well so far, because the reason I'm looking at the clock is because I want it to end, so I give myself an extra minute for that, foiling the plan.  Plus I get an extra minute's meditation, so I win that way.

I don't know Goenka's method, so perhaps it is very different to what I've learnt.  I do wonder a little though whether you might be kidding yourself saying that the 'win-win' approach has worked well so far, if you are still battling the urge to look at the timer.  I offer this with sincerity, knowing how often I've kidded myself, rather than by way of any judgment.  Perhaps setting a strong intention to be more aware as you sit might set you up for less of a willpower battle.

Goofaholix

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2014, 01:18:36 AM »
I've tried the 'softly softly' approach for years, it isn't working.  And this isn't how Mr Goenka teaches it: on day four of the course he says sit then and force yourself not to move.

Actually he doesn't encourage people to do determination sittings at home.

If it's working for you then do it, but I agree with the other posters that you're subtly signalling to the mind that meditation is punishment, better to understand and fully explore the craving and aversion that prompts you to move.

Cani

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2014, 01:21:35 AM »
You should look to transition away from that sort of mental gymnastics.

I will when I've built a foundation with them.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2014, 01:33:28 AM »
You should be deconstructing instead of building.

Cani

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2014, 04:05:14 AM »
I don't get what the fuss is about, in Zen Buddhism the instructor will strike the meditator's back if their posture isn't correct.  This is a milder form of that.

Goofaholix

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2014, 07:08:00 AM »
I don't get what the fuss is about, in Zen Buddhism the instructor will strike the meditator's back if their posture isn't correct.  This is a milder form of that.

It's to wake the meditator up, usually a slumped posture is a sign of sleepiness.

Cani

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2014, 07:25:53 AM »
I don't get what the fuss is about, in Zen Buddhism the instructor will strike the meditator's back if their posture isn't correct.  This is a milder form of that.

It's to wake the meditator up, usually a slumped posture is a sign of sleepiness.

Exactly, they don't say 'when you catch yourself sleeping, just be aware of it and start again'  they use behavioural conditioning, which is what I'm doing.

Goofaholix

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2014, 07:31:12 AM »
Exactly, they don't say 'when you catch yourself sleeping, just be aware of it and start again'  they use behavioural conditioning, which is what I'm doing.

The point is they don't punish you with extra meditation because meditation is not a punishment, they just wake you up, admittedly rather forcefully.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2014, 08:41:55 AM »
I don't get what the fuss is about, in Zen Buddhism the instructor will strike the meditator's back if their posture isn't correct.  This is a milder form of that.

It's to wake the meditator up, usually a slumped posture is a sign of sleepiness.

Exactly, they don't say 'when you catch yourself sleeping, just be aware of it and start again'  they use behavioural conditioning, which is what I'm doing.
And this is relevant to vipassana how?

Matthew

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2014, 11:36:57 AM »
A habit I have is constantly looking at how long I have left when I'm meditating.

...

So, every time I catch myself looking at the time to see how long I have left, I 'punish' myself by tapping the +1 minute.  Eventually one learns that looking at the time will mean an extra minute of meditation, so you stop yourself doing it.

It's no wonder you keep looking at the timer during meditation if you feel a need to "punish" yourself. This is behavioural conditioning a la Pavlov's dogs. It is utterly contradictory to the purposes of meditation.

The eightfold path does involve behavioural modification, in the first instance through moral discipline: the basic precepts of not killing, not stealing, speaking truth, avoiding sexual misconduct and alcohol. Meditation results in behavioural change but this is through gaining insight/awareness of how your bodymind works and de-conditioning habituated and previously subconscious aspects of self/ego.

In my experience being a constant clockwatcher is often a sign off having misunderstood the basics of meditation: relaxed awake investigation of phenomena, starting with body and breath.

Always looking at the timer is indicative that you are uptight about your meditation. Punishing yourself in a pavlovian fashion won't solve the problem, merely form another conditioned and habitual fear.

Perhaps it's time to start fresh with your practice. Maybe reduce the length of your sessions? Only extend them when you are able to relax into your awareness throughout the session without a need to look at the clock? The other thing you could do is bring your full awareness to this desire to clock-watch, not look at the timer but look at the desire and let it tell you what it is about.

Kindly,

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

Middleway

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2014, 07:25:44 PM »
I don't get what the fuss is about, in Zen Buddhism the instructor will strike the meditator's back if their posture isn't correct.  This is a milder form of that.

I too don't get what the fuss is all about. Rewarding works better than punishment though. Why don't you reward yourself every time you complete session without looking at the timer by reducing the next session by 1 minute... :)
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

betty

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2014, 08:25:02 PM »
I too don't get what the fuss is all about. Rewarding works better than punishment though. Why don't you reward yourself every time you complete session without looking at the timer by reducing the next session by 1 minute... :)

Meditation isn't about reward or punishment.  Seeing it that way is totally counter to it's  purpose of becoming more aware.  Reward and punishment are just reinforcing aversion and craving, the very movements of mind that we want to become more aware of and less controlled by!  Working with the desire to look at the timer gives lots of room for watching aversion and craving in action, that's what meditation is about.

Middleway

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2014, 03:00:44 AM »
Betty, I agree with you 100 percent. Sorry, I was making a tongue-in-cheek comment. Rewarding oneself by reducing the minutes in the next session will end up with no meditation at all. Punishing oneself by increasing the minutes is equally absurd.

warm regards,

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

betty

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2014, 03:05:23 AM »
Betty, I agree with you 100 percent. Sorry, I was making a tongue-in-cheek comment.

Oops, I missed that!  I guess I'm taking it all a bit too seriously!!!!   ;)
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 03:08:43 AM by betty »

Delma54

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2014, 04:27:29 AM »
Hey, I find amusing that you need to look @ timer to see when your section finish. Use your timer as your meditation object, eyes open, You think it will work?

Vivek

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Re: Keep Looking at the Timer? Try This
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2014, 08:04:10 AM »
Quote
And this isn't how Mr Goenka teaches it: on day four of the course he says sit then and force yourself not to move.  He doesn't say 'just be aware of yourself moving and return,' you'll be there for a thousand years.  No, he says just use your willpower to stop yourself. 

Cani, sorry but I think you are misreading Goenkaji's instructions given during the courses. It is true that during the Aditthan sittings, the instruction given is that keep yourself from moving your limbs, opening your eyes and changing your posture as much as possible. But that doesn't mean we should try to use unnecessary force to do the sitting. That would amount to self-torture and totally misses the objective of the Aditthan sittings. It definitely is advisable (and during Anapana sessions in the course also this is mentioned) to make as slow movements as possible if needed and also, when you do, try to be completely aware of it. Moreover, for daily sittings we do after the course at our homes, it is specifically mentioned during the 10-day course that there is no need to sit in Aditthan. So, I would strongly recommend to relax and try to pay attention to the suggestions that others have given above.   
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

 

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