Author Topic: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation  (Read 15410 times)

onederful

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Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« on: February 18, 2015, 10:07:45 PM »
Hi,

The past year I've been meditating more or less every day. Before that it was on and off, each for months at a time. I noticed that there was a big difference in the past when I meditated for a few month daily, when compared to not meditating for a few months at all. At least I think I lost quite a bit, although it's hard to know whether or not my memory is playing tricks on me. I am certain however that I can't notice whether that's true in the short term.  Yesterday I felt bad because I didn't meditate that one day and it made me wonder:

- How bad is missing one or two days?

- Do you think it's a loss to not do it one day or do you think that there is just no gain?


- Does anyone know how long one can go without meditating without feeling a loss in the gains one has worked towards?

- Is it sort of like exercise where the gains take about as long to vanish as they did to get created?

I know the above is really hard to answer, which is probably why I could not find much on Google about it. That's why I thought it would be better to finish this thread by asking this question:

- How many times in a month do you skip meditation (voluntarily and/or non-voluntarily)?

Best regards,
onederful
« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 10:11:36 PM by onederful »

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2015, 09:12:27 AM »
Hi onederful,

This isn't something you should be looking at in a binary way, I.e. You can miss 2 days a month but 3 is too much. Regular sustained practice is most conducive for "progress". You can miss a day here or there and it won't be the end of the world, insight can't just evaporate but if you spend too long away from the mat you're likely to regress into habitual ways of thinking.

Be patient and relax.

Max

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2015, 11:51:02 AM »
Hi Onederful
As Dharmic Tui already mentioned, I also think that nobody can give you an answer in terms of numbers. However, this comes to mind when reading your post:
 
“Missing” mindfulness
It seems to me you are equaling mindfulness with formal sitting practice. I thought like this too in the beginning of my meditation “career”. However, these days I see it quite differently. Being mindful (or “aware” if you like this word better – I use them as synonyms) is not something that is only happening when I sit on the cushion, but I have the intention of being mindful all the time. Yes, that is something that was not possible in the beginning of my practice, but now mindfulness has become much more of a default setting of my mind.
See if you can practice mindfulness when you walk, when you ride the train, while driving or when you brush your teeth instead of letting your mind wander freely in papanca land. In fact, being continuously mindful is essential for the development of the path.
 
Loss vs no gain if no practice
I think this depends on how you for yourself would define gains and losses. If you briefly describe what it is you have in mind (qualities such as concentration? Gained insights?), I could comment on it.

Alex

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2015, 12:10:25 PM »
I'm not very concerned about quantifying gains or preventing loss, onederful, but I had a few reflections.

The first was just posted by Max, about practice off the cushion which you can't shut off and have to take into account. But there will on the other hand also be days where there is so much going on that there also isn't much practice off the cushion. So both need to be considered.

I do notice gain/loss around retreats. It's more clear because of the intensity: In a week's time you can really build up concentration, awareness, loving-kindness. And after a few weeks back in daily life, depending on life events and other factors, you lose some of that. Like DT said not the insights but for example the relaxed open awareness after a retreat slowly fades and habitual reactive patterns of aversion gain in power again... In any case: it seems to take longer to loose it then to build it up!

If you're intending on really quantifying gains/losses in terms of practice I think there are still a lot of measurement issues.

onederful

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2015, 05:34:35 PM »
Thank you for the responses (also to everyone that will respond in the future). I appreciate it very much!

insight can't just evaporate

I am not really sure what is referred to by insight. Could you please elaborate? I think so far I didn't attribute any insight to meditation, because I didn't know to look for it.  :o

Loss vs no gain if no practice
I think this depends on how you for yourself would define gains and losses. If you briefly describe what it is you have in mind (qualities such as concentration? Gained insights?), I could comment on it.

A gain would be an improvement in everything good meditation does for us, but now that you mention it I see the problem. Gains are likely different for different factors that one is hoping to improve. Lets say concentration or a sense of peace, but if you want you could add comments for other gains too.

I do notice gain/loss around retreats. It's more clear because of the intensity: In a week's time you can really build up concentration, awareness, loving-kindness. And after a few weeks back in daily life, depending on life events and other factors, you lose some of that. Like DT said not the insights but for example the relaxed open awareness after a retreat slowly fades and habitual reactive patterns of aversion gain in power again... In any case: it seems to take longer to loose it then to build it up!

Interesting. This is exactly the type of example I wanted to hear!  :)

If you're intending on really quantifying gains/losses in terms of practice I think there are still a lot of measurement issues.

Well quantifying is hard to do here, so you are very right. There is of course neuroscientific evidence that shows physiological changes with practicing meditation just once or twice a week, but I could not yet find any information that measured the rate at which gains were lost, so I decided I would look for anecdotal subjective experiences from members here.

Max

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2015, 10:32:54 AM »
I base my answer on a retreat/off retreat situation (like Alex) where I felt this loss more than during times off retreat (where I don’t see much difference between meditating 45 min/day vs 2h/day):
 
Generally, coming out of an intense practice period on retreat, where one practices between 12 and 18 hrs a day (some people even more), people feel some of the acquired qualities diminish over time when back in their normal lifestyle. Examples of “diminishing qualities” are the seven factors of awakening (such as continuous mindfulness, concentration, equanimity) and the hindrances (they do not diminish, but gain strength again after retreat).
 
An example of qualities of mind that do not diminish are the ones based on an insight. Insights comes into the meditator’s life like a flash. This new understanding of an aspect of reality formerly not known to them triggers a fundamental change of how this person relates to things. This new understanding is not diminished after a retreat, but more and more aspects of one’s life are subjected to this new understanding.
 
Having said this, I also see in my own practice that with more and more practice, the loss after retreats diminishes greatly. Today, I feel that most of my daily sittings pretty much “feel” like being on retreat and the amount of time my mind is mindful in a day also does not diminish anymore.
It seems there is also some kind of “macro process” going on that prevents this “loss”, at least to a significant degree.

Alex

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2015, 01:14:05 PM »
Interesting. This is exactly the type of example I wanted to hear!  :)

I want to be clear about something I'm experiencing and what may very well be something that says more about me than anything else.

The questions you ask are questions not really relevant to practice. I mean, we all know that it's wholesome to have a daily practice and this will not change because of (neuro)scientific data on gains and losses. As said above the fruits of this practice don't come in a isolated or traceable linear process and we're not all too concerned with carefully monitoring progress or basing our actions (meditations) in such an micro-intentional way.

In an earlier post I gave some reflections off the top of my head, but further posting would require consideration and inquiry into someting that is not relevant to my practice. Nor anyone else's practice, for that matter, which would for me also be a good reason to invest in a certain thread.

I also somehow feel that maybe you're not entirely open about your intentions, but as I said this may be a projection of mine. In any case, if the collection of anecdotal experiences were to be destined for a paper, thesis or anything else, the ethical thing would be to be very clear about that. If that were the case and I had the time, then maybe I would also take the time to expound on my experiences.

I found it better to be clear about why I'm not reacting any further than to simply say nothing.

Kind regards
Alex

onederful

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2015, 04:01:08 PM »
The questions you ask are questions not really relevant to practice. I mean, we all know that it's wholesome to have a daily practice and this will not change because of (neuro)scientific data on gains and losses.
 

I understand that neuroscientific data is not nearly as good an indicator of what meditation does for someone as actually practicing meditation is. 

In an earlier post I gave some reflections off the top of my head, but further posting would require consideration and inquiry into someting that is not relevant to my practice. Nor anyone else's practice, for that matter, which would for me also be a good reason to invest in a certain thread.


I appologize if this thread is not relevant to anyones practice. I was just very curious about the dynamics of progress and decline in meditation and I don't know of any other good places to ask these questions. I will try to make my next thread more about practice and less about theory.

As said above the fruits of this practice don't come in a isolated or traceable linear process and we're not all too concerned with carefully monitoring progress or basing our actions (meditations) in such an micro-intentional way.

That makes a good point as to why my questions might be fruitless for those interested in practice more than theory. I'm just a stickler in regards to understanding the dynamics of change as well as the dynamics of practice that occur during meditation. Might be in the wrong forum for studying the former, but I will stick around for the later.

I also somehow feel that maybe you're not entirely open about your intentions, but as I said this may be a projection of mine. In any case, if the collection of anecdotal experiences were to be destined for a paper, thesis or anything else, the ethical thing would be to be very clear about that. If that were the case and I had the time, then maybe I would also take the time to expound on my experiences.

Well my intentions are to understand meditation as much as possible, while simultaneously practicing it. Anecdotal evidence would not help me much, if I was writting an article. And if I were to use anecdotal evidence, an online message board discussion would not be a good idea, unless it was used to get volunteers to fill out a survey or questionaire. And then I could use it in the introduction or discussion of the paper, but not for the actual neuroscientific research. Of course there are already many articles out there that have done such research, so I could just cite them in my research.

onederful

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2015, 04:03:52 PM »
The questions you ask are questions not really relevant to practice. I mean, we all know that it's wholesome to have a daily practice and this will not change because of (neuro)scientific data on gains and losses.
 

I understand that neuroscientific data is not nearly as good an indicator of what meditation does for someone as actually practicing meditation is. 

In an earlier post I gave some reflections off the top of my head, but further posting would require consideration and inquiry into someting that is not relevant to my practice. Nor anyone else's practice, for that matter, which would for me also be a good reason to invest in a certain thread.


I appologize if this thread is not relevant to anyones practice. I was just very curious about the dynamics of progress and decline in meditation and I don't know of any other good places to ask these questions. I will try to make my next thread more about practice and less about theory.

As said above the fruits of this practice don't come in a isolated or traceable linear process and we're not all too concerned with carefully monitoring progress or basing our actions (meditations) in such an micro-intentional way.

That makes a good point as to why my questions might be fruitless for those interested in practice more than theory. I'm just a stickler in regards to understanding the dynamics of change as well as the dynamics of practice that occur during meditation. Might be in the wrong forum for studying the former, but I will stick around for the later.

I also somehow feel that maybe you're not entirely open about your intentions, but as I said this may be a projection of mine. In any case, if the collection of anecdotal experiences were to be destined for a paper, thesis or anything else, the ethical thing would be to be very clear about that. If that were the case and I had the time, then maybe I would also take the time to expound on my experiences.

Well my intentions are to understand meditation as much as possible, while simultaneously practicing it. Anecdotal evidence would not help me much, if I was writting an article. And if I were to use anecdotal evidence, an online message board discussion would not be a good idea, unless it was used to get volunteers to fill out a survey or questionaire. And then I could use it in the introduction or discussion of the paper, but not for the actual neuroscientific experiment. Of course there are already many articles out there that have done such research, so I could just cite them in my research.

onederful

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2015, 05:44:38 PM »
I just realized that I double posted and didn't make one of my points clear.

Quote
Of course there are already many articles out there that have done such research, so I could just cite them in my research.

I realized that this was out of context. What I meant by other research being out there was anecdotal reports of experience of benefits. I didn't mean there were reports about how gains and losses work. I tried finding that but I couldn't find any articles. Plus I had a hard time on Google too. Now that I think about this more and more I find that this thread is useless.

Alex

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2015, 05:50:32 PM »
Quote
The primary purpose of this meditation forum is to help each other with practice related issues - intellectual debate of unresolvable differences and speculation and theory is not beneficial on the path.

This is in the 'Meditation 101' thread. It's not dogma, but what I and probably a lot of those that keep coming back here feel.
This does not mean that I'm not interested in the science of of mindfulness, nor in sometimes knowing how things work just for the sake of it... But the questions you ask, I don't know, there's something about them. They somehow go against what meditation is all about.
It's not that neuroscientif data isn't a good indicator. It's just not helpfull on the path. For example, I wrote about the "retreat effect". What if I were to go on retreat expecting to make a lot of progress and being very careful in doing the things that are going to make this happen? I would probably not get very far if I wasn't aware of these expectations and the suffering they cause.

Meditation is not about controlling the proces, based on scientific data, and controlling the only purpose I see right for that knowledge right now... except maybe for creating a pill that has the same effect...  you're not working for "them", right :D

Anyway, no need to apologize. I only said the questions are not relevant to someone else's practice (in this case you) because that would for me be a criterion to invest in a thread.

Quote
Well my intentions are to understand meditation as much as possible, while simultaneously practicing it.

Well there you go, it was just me...
What intrests me in this is how your drive to understand meditation stimulates or slows down your own progress.  ;)

Alex

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2015, 05:51:49 PM »
Quote
Now that I think about this more and more I find that this thread is useless.

Interesting. Maybe your questions did have some practical use! ;)

onederful

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2015, 10:26:30 PM »
Quote
The primary purpose of this meditation forum is to help each other with practice related issues - intellectual debate of unresolvable differences and speculation and theory is not beneficial on the path.

This is in the 'Meditation 101' thread. It's not dogma, but what I and probably a lot of those that keep coming back here feel.

You're right. This is a fail thread. Plus I should have fully read Meditation 101 before posting anything.

Quote
But the questions you ask, I don't know, there's something about them. They somehow go against what meditation is all about.

Too much potential illusion? Probably why its a good thing I'm getting more and more into meditation right?

Quote
It's not that neuroscientif data isn't a good indicator. It's just not helpfull on the path. For example, I wrote about the "retreat effect". What if I were to go on retreat expecting to make a lot of progress and being very careful in doing the things that are going to make this happen? I would probably not get very far if I wasn't aware of these expectations and the suffering they cause.

Well, I'll make sure to imprint this in my mind as much as possible to not make the same mistake again. The embarrassment of failing at this thread should do the trick. Just gotta make sure to get the affirmation out of my conscious mind now. :)

Quote
Meditation is not about controlling the proces, based on scientific data, and controlling the only purpose I see right for that knowledge right now... except maybe for creating a pill that has the same effect...  you're not working for "them", right :D

I don't work for any pharmaceutical companies. Unfortunately there is a connection between neuroscience and pharmacy. I'm going to try and work as little as I can with them. I love neuroscience, but there are some flaws to it. For example animal studies and pharmaceutical companies, but there is also theoretical neuroscience (i.e. computational neuroscience), which minimizes the use of animals and pharmaceuticals. It is a goal of neuroscience to try and eventually eliminate these two evils of what we do. I feel ashamed of it, but I don't see myself studying anything else.  :(

Quote
Anyway, no need to apologize. I only said the questions are not relevant to someone else's practice (in this case you) because that would for me be a criterion to invest in a thread.

Yeah. When I first started this thread I wasn't aware of the perspective on theory. Of course now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense that theory wouldn't be that important for a MEDITATION forum.

Quote
Quote
Well my intentions are to understand meditation as much as possible, while simultaneously practicing it.

Well there you go, it was just me...
What intrests me in this is how your drive to understand meditation stimulates or slows down your own progress.  ;)

And thanks for redirecting me to the path. As usual I get frustrated when someone points out a fail of mine, but as angry as I am with you I like you more for it.  :P

This thread did ease my guilt over skipping the day of meditation though. And after this thread I do feel as though I won't feel so guilty skipping one next time (if I am going to have to or something comes up).

Thanks again!

Alex

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2015, 11:26:40 PM »
I think it was because I couldn't understand how these questions would benefit your practice that I questioned your motives for asking them. Now that I read your opening post again, I see that I missed something important

Quote
Yesterday I felt bad that I didn't meditate that one day and it made me wonder.

So sorry about that. Looks like we both learned something though. Bringing awareness to our speech, that's what it's all about, right?  ;)

In any case, I wish you a fascinating and fruitful career!

onederful

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2015, 12:13:19 AM »
No worries. Even if that was missed, which I completely understandable, because it was only subtly implied, the thread has no place in this forum. The implication was so subtle that I became aware of my true motive not much sooner than you.  :D On the bright side I got a better feel of what this forum is about and to be honest it sounds better. My next step on the path shall be fully reading the meditation 101 thread.

And thanks about the wish! I am motivated enough. I just gotta avoid projects that involve animals or neuropharmacology and guilt won't eat me up.

Alex

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2015, 09:29:20 AM »
the thread has no place in this forum

That's a bit harsch... Your concerns with regard to establishing a stable and relaxed practice are very real and pertinent! And very recognizable!   :D

And with this the thread you also created the necessary conditions for experiencing and demonstrating that clearly seeing these tendencies that subtly drive us is what produces insight and compassion.

onederful

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2015, 05:01:08 PM »
the thread has no place in this forum

That's a bit harsch... Your concerns with regard to establishing a stable and relaxed practice are very real and pertinent! And very recognizable!   :D

And with this the thread you also created the necessary conditions for experiencing and demonstrating that clearly seeing these tendencies that subtly drive us is what produces insight and compassion.

I made it sound harsher than I actually think it is, but now that I've gotten to know the forum a bit better, I think this thread is more suited for the 'Under The Banyan Tree' forum.

bomega

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2015, 02:09:49 AM »
Hi onederful, I just wanted to say I thought it was a fine question that was on topic for this forum, and was following your thread. I would have just said that it is a line of thinking that doesn't really help your practice. I try to approach my practice as a path, rather than a routine (although it is a routine also.) Sometimes I get caught up in ideas like "I must meditation x minutes y times per day" and after a while, my practice starts to feel like a chore rather than an experience, and my meditations become forced rather than relaxed awareness. I also find that times that I missed a planned meditation my being present and aware of that experience I get something from that too. But to me, its all part of the practice...so I work to not get too hung up on these problems.

I think its cool you are studying to be a neuroscientist. I have a passing interest in neuroscience and like reading about it, although I will never follow it as a formal study or career. Have you checked out this video posted in the Resources and Library section of vipassanaforum: Bhante Sujato - Mind, fMRI and the Flayed Cow http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,2324.0.html. Its a good listen, and might give you some understanding around issues related to the questions you posted.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 07:58:12 PM by bomega »

Alex

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2015, 01:20:13 PM »
Sometimes I get caught up in ideas like "I must meditate x minutes y times per day" and after a while, my practice starts to feel like a chore rather than an experience, and my meditations become forced rather than relaxed awareness.

Beautiful!  ;)

There's al ot to What strikes me most about these things is that there's nothing we can "do" about such tendencies, but be aware of them, and relax, or not get hung up in them, as you put it. Everything else is like trying to control the proces even more...

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2015, 03:27:46 AM »
Insights are life-changing. In the suttas it is said that the purpose of mindfulness is just to gain insight. When mindful, you are aware of what's going on in your mind. Then insights arise.

For example, I notice that I get angry whenever a vehicle cuts into my lane abruptly. One day, the insight came that this is an unproductive emotion, that it is suffering. I have become so habituated to being annoyed with traffic that it took this insight to make me see this source of suffering in my life. Together with this insight came the solution to get out of this suffering. What if I just reacted appropriately to the situation (braking) without the emotional reaction?

Another example was an insight from two days ago. I was just strolling around a mall being mindful as usual when I realised that I judged each and every person I laid my eyes on. It was a startling revelation. I then paid closer attention to this and found this judging to be automatic. It took me several hours to find a solution to this automatic judging of everyone I see. The solution I arrived at to break this habit was loving-kindness. Whenever I exude loving kindness, I do not judge.

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2015, 07:06:54 AM »
Hi Jeremy,

Your experience in the mall resembles a practice called "Zen shopping" - I've mentioned it in detail here and it works just as you have said: http://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php/topic,2368.msg24313.html#msg24313

Building these insights and changing because of them is very helpful.

Kind regards,

Matthew
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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2015, 08:42:16 AM »
Very nice, Jeremy.
Your second example is known to most of us, maybe all. And your solution to extend metta is certainly building and strengthening beautiful qualities of mind.
 
An additional thing might be needed here:  In addition to building beautiful qualities, preventing the arising of not so beautiful qualities of mind as your example of judging mind. For that it is essential in my opinion to understand exactly what is happening here in detail in one’s mind.
 
In English, it is referred to as «unwise attention» on the eye sense door (for those seeking pali references: yoniso / ayoniso manasikara [appropriate / inappropriate attention]). Why unwise? Because we do not see with enough detail what is happening. The mind moves very quickly and this is subtle stuff. But, at times with high concentration / continuous mindfulness (maybe on retreat), it can be investigated, what is going on: That seeing somebody/something triggers unpleasant vedana from which the spark springs over to the fabrication of a story. But this story is really extra and does not need to happen. It is the source for all suffering. If this pattern is seen enough / in enough detail, is starts to weaken and there are those great moments where one can observe how the whole pattern stops at vedana and does not spring over anymore to proliferation of mind.

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2015, 02:59:40 PM »
I get the point about vedana; it's amazing there is no word for it in the English language, and that Pali has specific words to differentiate the various sorts of "feeling". Vedana seems to be sense-contact, and how it is wise to let it remain as that, instead of embracing it and feeding it.

The title of this thread starts with "Missing A Day of Mindfulness...". For me, it's impossible to not at least be mindful once a day; in fact, I am mindful many times during the day, even now, typing this. Several posters above have commented on this.

I do however sometimes am not able to do sitting meditation. There may not be enough hours in the day, or I'm too tired. Not being able to do sitting meditation negatively affects the quality of my mindfulness.

Tangentially to all this, I notice that some people view sitting meditation as just watching the breath with equanimity. In the various suttas, the Buddha actually recommends the meditator to play a more active role. After the initial stage of watching the breath (when you breathe in long...when you breath in short...) you start influencing the "breath body", calming yourself down with each breath. Then, when you notice your energy flagging, you are recommended to think of something "inspiring". Etc. The goal of sitting meditation is to enter the jhanas. You can only enter them when sitting. For this reason, sitting is indispensable. Other times, you tend to the enlightment factors, of which mindfulness is one major factor.

If after a period of time on the path you are not sure if you've ever entered a jhana state, then you are doing something wrong. Jhana is unmistakable -- it is the only thing better than an orgasm. Similarly, if you've been doing this a while and are unacquainted with an insight, you are doing it wrong. Just like a jhana, an insight is unmistakable, there is a Eureka! moment, and because your life changes for the better on its account.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 03:20:28 PM by Jeremy »

onederful

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2015, 07:54:45 PM »
If after a period of time on the path you are not sure if you've ever entered a jhana state, then you are doing something wrong. Jhana is unmistakable -- it is the only thing better than an orgasm. Similarly, if you've been doing this a while and are unacquainted with an insight, you are doing it wrong. Just like a jhana, an insight is unmistakable, there is a Eureka! moment, and because your life changes for the better on its account.

Interesting. I've been doing meditation daily for a year now and only recently looked into the theory and everything. I've noticed improvements in my wellbeing by doing the practice I have done so far. I never looked at any insights, so I might have missed them because of that. However, if you say that its very obvious, then I might be doing it wrong and havent had any insight. I could have also been misattributing any "eureka" moments I've had. I am certain that I am more at peace and concentrated as a result of my previous practice though.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 07:57:05 PM by onederful »

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Re: Missing A Day of Mindfulness, Yoga And Other Forms of Meditation
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2015, 05:52:59 AM »
I understand what you mean by being calmer as a result of meditation.

But the Buddha would not be the figure he is if all his techniques brought about were a mild sedative effect. I see this a lot whenever I encounter literature about mindfulness and spirituality and yoga. It calms you down, they say.

The Buddha said where the real dhamma is taught, one will find sotapannas, anagamis and arahants among its practitioners. So the Buddha meant for his teachings to have a far more profound effect than to simply sedate you a little. It's meant to turn your understanding of the world upside down.

It's like an elk having been speared down. It collapses; there are some spatters of blood around it. Imagine a wolf licking at the spatters of blood while being oblivious to the elk carcass.