Author Topic: Hello everyone! Question for the experienced.  (Read 1913 times)

DPB996

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Hello everyone! Question for the experienced.
« on: November 28, 2014, 09:14:05 PM »
Hi-

I'm new to this forum and am really excited to join a community where people are passionate about meditation. I'll give a quick sum up of where I am in my practice and then explain the rut I'm in. Maybe someone here could help me understand where I'm at and what I can do to break through. I began meditating two years ago and fell in love with it pretty quickly. Interestingly, it was until very recently that I realized that I've been using "mindfulness meditation" as a stress reducer/euphoria creator without going deeper into my mind. By that I mean I was using it more as a concentration practice as opposed to really understanding the impermanence and selflessness of consciousness. I would do strict body scans until my mind was completely still but when meditation was over I would fall back into similar pitfalls only to crave more meditation. Recently I completed Sam Harris book called Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality and I began to understand the true art of Vipassana a little bit more deeply. My question to you all is somewhat of a procedural one. I'll start out my meditation in somewhat of the same fashion that I used to; a concentration body scan to sharpen attention. I'll then slowly become aware of my breath and then move to sounds and physical sensations. From there is where I have my problem. Do I simply sit in awareness and notice anything that comes up without attaching or do I stay on my breath and notice anything that comes up and go right back to my breath once I notice something has come up? Essentially I'm attempting to get clarification on how open vs concentration the practice really is. My guess is that I'm supposed to stay in awareness and just follow whatever arises but sometimes I feel like I'm beginning to fall asleep during this practice. It feels like there is no back bone for my attention to rest on besides shifting things that are capturing my conscious attention.

I hope I was able to explain myself decently and I would be beyond grateful for any advice that you guys have for me.

Goofaholix

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Re: Hello everyone! Question for the experienced.
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2014, 03:54:48 AM »
From there is where I have my problem. Do I simply sit in awareness and notice anything that comes up without attaching or do I stay on my breath and notice anything that comes up and go right back to my breath once I notice something has come up? Essentially I'm attempting to get clarification on how open vs concentration the practice really is. My guess is that I'm supposed to stay in awareness and just follow whatever arises but sometimes I feel like I'm beginning to fall asleep during this practice. It feels like there is no back bone for my attention to rest on besides shifting things that are capturing my conscious attention.

Unless you are following a specific technique then it's up to you to find the right balance.  Get sensitive to how the mind is at any given time and adjust your practice accordingly, sometimes if you expand your awareness you'll just get lost and space out, sometimes when you focus on a single object you'll get tight or bored.  If you get too tied into one way of doing things then you won't get sensitive to what is needed at any given time, though either way you'll probably find this sensitivity lags behind so you just need to keep at it.

psraju

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Re: Hello everyone! Question for the experienced.
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2014, 07:09:48 AM »
Thanks for sharing the experiences.
Falling asleep is actually a good way to say you are in the right path. Sleeping is Unconscious Meditation and Meditation is conscious sleep. So when your body is falling side, your mind will control that without falling. Then spine up, head up without opening eyes and continue concentrating on breathing. You will hear lots of noises (each and every bit thats happening around), but neglect it and concentrate on breathing again...again...again...again...again..At one point in time, you will enter into the state of feeling of head is heavy and body is light. Dont concentrate on that, concentrate on breathing again...again...again....this will lead to view of inner state. Dont think MEDITATION and SLEEP are different. They are same, except conscious and unconscious state. Hope this helps..

DPB996

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Re: Hello everyone! Question for the experienced.
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2014, 10:06:32 PM »
Thanks so much for the advice guys! I'm just trying to figure out the correct balance of concentration on breath vs concentration on whatever arises in consciousness. Sometimes I hear you are supposed notice stimuli and then go back to the breath while others say to notice and continue noticing until it subsides (without returning to breath). I suppose it's up to me and my goals for the practice. My true goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the selflessness of consciousness. Selflessness is always present and truly intrinsic to consciousness, it's just about peeling off the layers of conditioning and habitual thinking to notice.

Matthew

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Re: Hello everyone! Question for the experienced.
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2014, 10:16:51 AM »
Hi DPB,

Quote
I'll start out my meditation in somewhat of the same fashion that I used to; a concentration body scan to sharpen attention. I'll then slowly become aware of my breath and then move to sounds and physical sensations.

I would suggest you reflect on the order of this process. Meditation based on concentration as a mind state is, in my experience, less productive, leads to less change than meditation based on relaxation as a mind state. ".. concentration .. to sharpen awareness" might not be the best place to start: ".. slowly become aware of .. breath" might prove more productive.


Quote
From there is where I have my problem. Do I simply sit in awareness and notice anything that comes up without attaching or do I stay on my breath and notice anything that comes up and go right back to my breath once I notice something has come up? Essentially I'm attempting to get clarification on how open vs concentration the practice really is.

Looks like you may be thinking about this excessively instead of feeling your way through it: this would be resolved (at least in part) by changing the approach slightly as described above.

The direct answer to your question depends on where you are on the path I suspect: for someone starting out developing calm awareness is more important. This is better achieved by noticing the thought but keeping awareness anchored in the breath - otherwise the mind will be dragged around. Only when relaxed concentration is developed to the point where a thought can be watched without losing touch with the breath would I suggest investigating the nature, arising and ceasing of thought more "actively".

Kindly,

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

Nicky

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Re: Hello everyone! Question for the experienced.
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2014, 11:09:08 AM »

I hope I was able to explain myself decently and I would be beyond grateful for any advice that you guys have for me.

These concentration exercises & techniques are similar to training wheels on a child's bicycle. A time comes when they are relinquished.

If your mind is able to concentrate, non-distracted, & you want a breakthrough, then practise letting go; be naturally flexibly still & silent; renounce wilfulness; surrender.

Ultimately, Buddhist practise is abandoning craving. The more this can be done, the better the results (because wilfulness of mind is also a thought fabrication & thus an obstacle to optimal clarity).  :)


DPB996

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Re: Hello everyone! Question for the experienced.
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2014, 03:24:11 PM »
I can't thank you guys enough. It really means a lot to me. These practices have already transformed my life and I'm only about 18 months into my journey.

 

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