Author Topic: The current state of my meditations  (Read 2467 times)

Liongate

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The current state of my meditations
« on: June 13, 2015, 02:16:14 AM »
Hello everyone,
I'm pleased to have found this forum, as I haven't been able to bounce any of my experiences off of other meditators. I have no teacher and have investigated many of the teachers on Youtube and have been reading "Mindfulness in Plain English," by Gunaratana, Bhante. I like the guided meditations by Mooji I've found on Youtube, and also have used some by an Australian buddhist group and one by Adyashanti. I am focusing on self-inquiry but am not sure if I'm doing it properly. I have been doing mostly unguided meditations lately, focusing on the breath. I have been meditating a year or two fo an hour a day and not missing too many days. Some days I only get in 40 minutes, sometimes I miss a day on the weekends, but mostly I've been pretty consistent for a long time. I sit on a zafu-zabuton set, and find it quite satisfactory. Since doing this practice, I am quite a bit calmer and my mind is much quieter.

My daily routine usually allows me to get up at 5:30-6:00am, feed the dogs, make coffee (I like to have a quarter to half cup before meditating, as I feel this helps me not to fall asleep) then sit for an hour. I sit in the same place. Life goes on around me, i.e. my dog likes to lay nearby and chew his nylon bone, my wife passes through the room, as does my daughter sometimes, occasionally the dog will bark at somebody passing by the front door, etc., but I am generally able to just notice these things and go back to focusing on my breath. I sometimes count to get my concentration in place and just focus on the breath after I'm settled. Usually my mind is pretty well settled in about 10-15 minutes and I am not bombarded by thoughts. I am amazed at how difficult it can be to simply count to ten breaths without losing concentration. There have been a few times I could make it through an entire hour without losing count more than once or twice, but in general I find myself getting to four or five and losing my place. Interestingly, it's not so much a thought that seems to take me away but what I think may be what Gunaratana calls "sinking mind." I'm not drifting off to sleep and usually not finding myself in a daydream, but I find myself in a state where the mind is just silent -- not really aware of anything but not really asleep either. It's very pleasant, but I think it's unproductive.

Some days I'm able to avoid this, and I'll count for a while, then try to turn my attention to identifying the self. Before going into my actual experience, I'd like to not that during some of the guided meditations by Mooji, he asks "who are you" -- a question that seems to give me a slight charge like my attention is suddenly centered. It's an odd feeling, and similar I think to the feeling I get when I try to focus on seeing who I am. When I think "who am I," I seem to become distinctly aware of my physical state. My eyes seem to come to focus on the inside of my eyelids and I feel quite alert, but not in a meditative way. That is, I feel energized and awake. The problem is, I'm not sure what to do with that. I haven't had any unusual experiences, with the exception that sometimes I when I get settled and relaxed, I get a sensation like the top of my head is expanding -- like there's a release of pressure there.

Are there more effective techniques for self-inquiry? I'm seeking the most direct methods of finding enlightenment -- am I on the right path? It seems like when I am seeking self my mind is falling back on my visual experience but I'm aware the self can't be found visually. How does one "look for the self?" How does one look within without using the eyes? That is, I understand techniques that are employed during guided meditations, i.e. "I am not the thoughts, I am not the mind, I am not my personality, I am not my beliefs," etc., but how does one employ these techniques during a solo unguided meditation?

Thanks for your thoughts and namaste!
Rob

bram

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Re: The current state of my meditations
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2015, 12:42:27 PM »
Hi Rob,

remember, there's no such thing as bad meditation. The main thing is to keep sitting, I find there are periods when I don't seem to male any progress, and then suddenly I get a breakthrough. We are progressing all the time, whether we realize it or not!
Can you find time to fit in a half hour before sleep? early morning meditation with a clam mind is very beneficial, but a half hour before sleep (although the mind is much less settled) is also very beneficial to your sleep and dream life.

Namaste!

Liongate

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Re: The current state of my meditations
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2015, 04:21:17 PM »
Hi Rob,

remember, there's no such thing as bad meditation. The main thing is to keep sitting, I find there are periods when I don't seem to male any progress, and then suddenly I get a breakthrough. We are progressing all the time, whether we realize it or not!


Thanks for your response, Bram. I guess I'm questioning whether I'm in a state of meditation or not. For example, this morning I got in 45 minutes, which consisted pretty much of a repeated cycle of counting breaths where I'd lose count around three to six, then realize I wasn't counting and go back to one. I don't recall being distracted by thoughts or drifting off to sleep -- I'd just cease to count. I'm pretty sure I was still focused on the breath. Is it torpor, i.e. sinking mind that's occurring?

Best wishes,
Rob

Liongate

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Re: The current state of my meditations
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2015, 04:30:53 PM »
Can you find time to fit in a half hour before sleep? early morning meditation with a clam mind is very beneficial, but a half hour before sleep (although the mind is much less settled) is also very beneficial to your sleep and dream life.

I have tried this a few times. Perhaps I'll try to work it in more often, but it's a little harder to fit into my routine. By the time bedtime comes around, I'm usually really mentally tired.

Goofaholix

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Re: The current state of my meditations
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2015, 08:39:03 PM »
Thanks for your response, Bram. I guess I'm questioning whether I'm in a state of meditation or not. For example, this morning I got in 45 minutes, which consisted pretty much of a repeated cycle of counting breaths where I'd lose count around three to six, then realize I wasn't counting and go back to one. I don't recall being distracted by thoughts or drifting off to sleep -- I'd just cease to count. I'm pretty sure I was still focused on the breath. Is it torpor, i.e. sinking mind that's occurring?

You are in a state of meditation when you are aware of what's going on, the above sounds like you are aware of what's going on but that awareness is laggy and it's not how you would like it to be.  What you've described sounds like a normal untrained mind, training it is to keep coming back to present moment awareness again and again.

Matthew

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Re: The current state of my meditations
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 11:09:54 PM »
Hi Rob,

Counting breaths is really a bit of a prop to be used when starting. Have you ever practiced as described in the mediation Suttas, "breathing in mindful of bodily sensations and calming bodily sensations, breathing out mindful of bodily sensations and calming bodily sensations" ...

Current practice is going to lead you to an intimate knowledge of the decimal number system from 1 to 10. What you actually need is intimate knowledge of your body and mind.

You may find if making this switch that your mind seems less focused and more wandering thoughts for a while. If so don't suppress them, let them float by like clouds ... if this is the case the mildly blissful empty state you have achieved to date is likely a mild form of self-hypnosis.

Welcome to the forums,

Matthew
« Last Edit: June 13, 2015, 11:14:10 PM by 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: The current state of my meditations
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2015, 03:36:09 PM »
Rob,

I have covered very similar ground as you have. One notable author I see missing in your posts is Jiddu Krishnamurti. I suggest that you read chapter 9: What is the self?, and chapter 12: Awareness, from his book "First and the last freedom". Those two chapters will address your question on the best technique to follow for self enquiry. Good luck!

Kind regards,

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

bram

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Re: The current state of my meditations
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2015, 02:52:15 PM »
Can you find time to fit in a half hour before sleep? early morning meditation with a clam mind is very beneficial, but a half hour before sleep (although the mind is much less settled) is also very beneficial to your sleep and dream life.

I have tried this a few times. Perhaps I'll try to work it in more often, but it's a little harder to fit into my routine. By the time bedtime comes around, I'm usually really mentally tired.

Yeah, I know what you mean, I used to have a lot of trouble staying awake at night. Eventually I found that this was just in my mind however, and the torpor disappeared. The main thing is not to be discouraged, keep practising and it will get better. Patience is the key!

 

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