Author Topic: meditation is not working  (Read 3012 times)

Luscious

meditation is not working
« on: March 25, 2015, 02:34:30 AM »
Ive been meditating for average of 1-1.5 hours a day for  2-3 years. I mostly do some mindfulness of breath.  I also do some body scan and metta.   The thing is I do not seem to be getting any better at it.  What I mean is that still after all this time my mind is wondering all over the place. I can barely even count to ten breaths before I am lost again in trivial thoughts.
I tried some body scanning vipassana style i.e. scanning my body 2" at a time from head to toe but I just cannot seem to do it. My mind wonders so much that I forget where Im up to and it becomes so tedious that I give up. So mostly I stick with the mindfulness of breath but I want to feel like I am getting somewhere otherwise I dont see the point of continuing.    I read so much about insight into impermanence and no self etc etc but dont feel as though I am having any insight about anything except how my mind refuses to be controlled.
I know that I must try to observe my clinging and aversion about this and I do but I need to have some sign that my mind is transforming at least a bit and at the moment it seems no different.  Unless I can experience the things that all the buddhist texts etc are teaching then it all seems pointless.   I do not want to spend so much time of my life continuing this road hoping that one day I will experience the deep stillness that is always talked about by monks etc. 
When will I feel like this practice is worth the effort??
 

Vivek

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Re: meditation is not working
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2015, 04:43:50 AM »
Quote
When will I feel like this practice is worth the effort??
Luscious, as long as you keep looking for the results YOU expect out of the practice, I think there is little chance for any progress. You say you want to watch the clinging and aversion, but it looks like your very clinging and aversion in relation to the practice is keeping you away from any real benefits it can provide you. There is no easy way around this, if there is clinging to the expected results and aversion to whatever you are experiencing during your daily sitting, this will most probably continue this way. Clinging, aversion and doubt are all hindrances in the path of liberation. 

How about attending a retreat? There is always a good chance that your practice will get more established and also you may get more suitable answers or insights to your questions.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Stefan

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Re: meditation is not working
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2015, 09:05:34 AM »
When I find myself trying too hard, I stop my practice for one or two weeks. No matter if it is meditation or playing guitar, sometimes a little break gives you a new focus, gives you time to reflect what you have achieved already. I am sure you got a lot of benefits from your sessions. But sometimes we don't see those benefits since we stand too close to it.

And then there's this "enlightenment" thingy. If you try to climb a very high mountain, maybe from the very first step on you already see the summit. But you walk and walk and climb and climb and it seems the summit is not coming any closer. But it is an illusion to think you didn't progress .... there is a very long distance towards the goal.
anicca

Alex

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Re: meditation is not working
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2015, 10:03:57 AM »
Hey Luscious

As you noticed yourself in gasteria's thread, your experience is universal. This means that there is not a self that is not advancing and will maybe never advance. Does this make any sense? ;)  There are processes. Using Stefan's analogy of the mountain, once you work through what's bugging you now, you will probably notice you've already travelled quite a bit along your path.

I always wonder what's the emotion behind a thread. The emotion that makes us evaluate whether we're 'doing' this right, whether there is somethiong we need to 'do' better in order to feel better… Becoming aware of these expectations and emotions driving us is as much part of the process of meditation as everything else.

When will I feel like this practice is worth the effort??

I "suspect" that if you meditate 1-1,5 hours a day for 2-3 years that you already know it's worth the effort?  But maybe you do this more because you trust in what others have experienced and said/written and less because of what (you think) you have experienced yourself…

The thread also touches on something else important: we all start to meditate with expectations, with a goal in mind. At some point we have to let go, or at least become aware of how these goals and expectations sometimes take us away from simply being open and relaxed in the present moment…

the Buddha is very clear on this matter: the rapture from the jhanas is a reward to keep you motivated on the path

On the other hand intense meditation experiences keep us motivated. I don't know if , how or where the buddha said this, but it makes sense. Experiencing cessation is an important motivator… "Yes, we can!" ;)
Expecting to experience what a monk does, while living a lay life… that's a challenge. Until more and more parts of your life get incorporated into an "eightfold path", a reactive mind is what can be expected al ot of the time. So how do you handle (reacto to) that... ;)
I do agree that 'doing' a retreat might be beneficial... they offer the opportunity to temporarily live as a monk and deepen your practice... But consider yourself going on retreat, expecting to have such an experience of deep stilness... What would happen?

I can barely even count to ten breaths before I am lost again in trivial thoughts.
...
I ... dont feel as though I am having any insight about anything except how my mind refuses to be controlled.

You say "except", as if it was just a minor insight or the one insight that you wish weren't true ;) But you really should not underestimate these insights that arose from your experience. I think meditation is working just fine ;)

Middleway

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Re: meditation is not working
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2015, 10:58:20 PM »
I do not want to spend so much time of my life continuing this road hoping that one day I will experience the deep stillness that is always talked about by monks etc. 
When will I feel like this practice is worth the effort??

My understanding is that we cannot try and get to a certain point (in practice). Whatever that we will experience, it will have to come to us. It is like waiting for a train at a railway station. When the train does not show up at scheduled time, we tend to contact authorities to find out what is the cause of delay and how long is the delay etc. When the train is late, we don't get up and make an effort to go to it. We have no choice but to wait for the train (we can always give up and go home!) to come to us. It will have to come to us. 

All we can do is get up every morning and sit and wait until our train arrives. No one else would know when it would show up. They may ask us to be patient, offer sympathy and some encouragement. They would not know when our train will arrive. It is our train and our train alone.

I go the station (sit on the cushion) everyday and wait for my train. It may or may not show up but I am having fun (most days) waiting for it. What is the fun in waiting for a train, you may ask. I am one those guys who like to sit around and do nothing! :)

« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 11:25:35 PM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Middleway

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Re: meditation is not working
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2015, 11:41:32 PM »
When the train is late, we don't get up and make an effort to go to it. We have no choice but to wait for the train (we can always give up and go home!) to come to us.

The funny thing is we cannot give up and go home. Right now, we are so far away from home. We were "home" when were very young, when we did not have the self-awareness. There was no duality. There was only seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting without judgement. There was innocence. There was security. There was existence, consciousness and bliss. There was love.

And then, we became self-aware. When we became self aware, we moved very very far away from home. We wanted "things" that make us happy. We became sad or angry when we did not get what we wanted. We became insecure. We took the train away from home when we went to school. We were sent to school and were taught that we should become somebody. We wanted to be a doctor, an astronaut, a teacher etc.  Then we took another train when we went to university. And another train in order to get a job. And another train when we got married. We travelled very very far.

There was this longing to go home. This longing to go home became stronger and stronger the farther we went. We then realized we are lost and cannot find our way home. We started reading self-help books, philosophies, religious scriptures and so on.  We turned to gurus, priests, and monks. The basic dissatisfaction is still there. We will do anything to go home even if it meant observing the tip of the nose for 3-10 hour days. We would get up everyday and sit on the cushion and wait for the train to arrive so we could go home.

The train does not come unless we return to that innocence. When we return to that innocence, we don't need a train to go home. We are already home!
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

 

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