Author Topic: Obstacles In Meditation  (Read 13372 times)

Marc60

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2015, 03:04:26 PM »
Hi Alan,

thank you.

Unfortunately patience is not my best trait.  :'(    especially with myself.
DonĀ“t know how to deal with it

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2015, 08:39:01 PM »
I am of the same kind. In fact every other person is the same. Without practice, patience cannot be cultivated.
Just focus on one sitting at a time, everything else will fall in place. Your nature and traits will change themselves.
I have traits and indulgences that are self-destructive. I am having help there thanks to practice.

When you sit for meditation, you are also practicing your will. I feel more in control of myself whenever I practise.
So, practice, the rest shall follow.

P.S. I am one of those people who avoid boredom at all costs. I'd rather be dead than bored. Hence I don't like doing things which bore me, even if they are essential and not doing them will harm me personally, professionally or financially. But, this habit is changing.

As they say: One Day At A Time

This is my only motto till I get myself up and running.

Persevere.

P.S.S: It's 2:00 AM here. Just woke about 30 minutes ago, didn't feel like sleeping and found an excuse to practise. I sat for about 20 minutes, felt better and came back here to re-read the prescribed samatha article. Squeeze in the practice wherever you can. It's working for me so far. And I've made it a habit to read the samatha article either before or after the practice; if I don't feel like sitting, I read it first, so that I get in the mood to sit...and if I'm feeling like sitting, I read it after. The biggest point, go easy on yourself. Let shit happen, it's just a thought process; nothing to be frustrated about.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2015, 08:43:04 PM by alanStark »

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2015, 08:55:34 PM »
UPDATE:

Yesterday (1st October 2015), I found a mind-mode, for the lack of words (state of mind has too many connotations attached to it) which is simple looking and with lesser thoughts and almost no emotions involved. I don't slip into it, as I might have imagined. It's more like a discrete state that can be swtiched on and off, and yes, after a few minutes of sitting I can switch it off and on. I practised switching it on twice in the two consecutive sittings.

I had imagined mind-states to be something that we slip into and come out of, but on the contrary it is quite voluntary. When we keep our eyes still, they are not actually still, they move like flies around a light source. But here the eyes were effortlessly still. Never have I ever had my eyes so still. I could feel them; so warm and cuddly, for the lack of a better word..

I realized something. The days I practice (yes I do miss some days) are the ones where I have a certain amount of control over my impulses. To be more precise, usually when I have an impulse, I am not involed in the decision process i.e. I have an impulse to watch a movie, the mind just controls the body into looking for it on the internet and starts playing it, and before I know it I'm watching a movie; in this condition I am just a passive observer; seldom can I say no in this condition. The days I practice, the impulse comes, BUT here's the magic moment...It does not go through. I get to decide if I watch the movie. If I cave into the desire, that's another matter. But it is a conscious decision. I'm taking my practice seriously now. AND I have hundreds of impulses bombard me throughout the day; imagine the time and resources I waste on a daily basis to fulfill these impulses. To be truthful, I spend most of what I earn on food; I practically eat like a king and throw away most of the food once I'm full.

So, on the whole, I've begun to realize that my wellbeing, personal, social and financial depends on this practice. No way I'm gonna quit now. my life depends on it.

Matthew

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2015, 10:43:12 PM »
Alan,

You are certainly discovering lots through the practice. How is it going now? Are you finding fewer impulses come as you establish yourself in practice?

Kindly,

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

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2015, 03:48:13 AM »
Yes, that's what I was trying to expound in my earlier reply. The impulse just come up and stop abruptly. It's left to me to decide if I want to pursue them. The quantity of impulses remains the same though, but they have no power over me.

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2015, 07:57:32 PM »
UPDATE:

A few days earlier, my mother was describing, how during her travels to East India, the temple of Goddess Kali was preparing a young lamb for sacrifice. I was outraged, proclaimed I'd rather spit on that alter than worship it. In that surge of anger, I sat down to meditate and I hit upon something...

It is all irrlelevant. It is conditioning. The pain experienced by the young lamb, the pity I feel for it and the anger at the people committing this act; all of it was irrelevant. For a split second, I thought I saw a larger picture. Every being is conditioned to feeling things; and it is trapped in them. In reality they are irrelevant. Their relevance comes only to the point of survival. To translate in the spiritual sense, dukkha does not exist besides our conditioning; lose that and there is no dukkha.

That single moment of insight (for the lack of a better word), was calming. Is this conditioning what we're trying to get rid of?

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #31 on: November 11, 2015, 08:29:58 AM »
Getting rid of its probably a bit extreme a view. But yes being aware of your automated tendencies and reactions is useful in distinguishing between your imagined and actual experience.

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2015, 11:31:04 AM »
UPDATE:

I host all stray dogs in the neighbourhood, for shelter and food. I act as a drive-thru and a motel for dogs. A small puppy who had been hurt in an accident about a month ago, died in my hands - literally in my hands. I've been depressed. Meditation is not helping this time. I should be dead rather than the puppy.

Matthew

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2015, 06:54:40 PM »
Hi Alan,

It is what it is, the puppy is dead, you are alive. Where would the other dogs go for their drive-thru or a sleep if you were not?

You clearly suffer from manic and depressive episodes. Meditation alone will not solve this issue. Sleep, exercise, diet and right-relationships can all contribute - amongst other things. It may be that some therapy or medication could help you. Probably doing something simple, outdoors and in community with other people would be the first thing I would recommend.

And in answer to your previous question it is the conditioning we need to rid ourselves of: the habits that make up the Skandhas.

Kindly,

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

bomega

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2015, 10:42:12 AM »
UPDATE:

I host all stray dogs in the neighbourhood, for shelter and food. I act as a drive-thru and a motel for dogs. A small puppy who had been hurt in an accident about a month ago, died in my hands - literally in my hands. I've been depressed. Meditation is not helping this time. I should be dead rather than the puppy.
Hi Alan,

Your post really moved me. It made me really happy to hear you talk about what you do for the stray dogs in your neighborhood and I'm so sorry for your loss. I can see how it would be very painful to have a little puppy you were taking care of die while you were holding him. I have been reading a lot of Pema Chodron books these past few months, and a big part of her perspective and what she wants to share is that you shouldn't avoid your feelings of pain and loss, but rather be fully present for them. So meditation might be difficult, but what you should be doing is applying your mindfulness to your present moment, and fully bear witness to your own pain, instead of trying to run from it or "meditate it away" or something.

Remember that the Buddha said that there is always suffering in life. The cause of suffering is attachment. Feeling like you should die instead of the puppy is sort of an ego game - that way you can believe there was a way for you to have avoided the pain. Its true...if you had died instead of the puppy you would not have felt the pain of the puppy dying in your hands. Do you see how that is all about your pain and not really about the puppy's death? If you can instead find the courage to face your pain - just allow it to be what it is, eventually your pain will reduce and dissipate, but you will still get to keep your happy memories of your short time with the puppy.

I'm not trying to beat you up when you are down. I actually think your pain deserves your attention. That little guy was very lucky to have you in his short time here on Earth. Maybe eventually you will feel the joy of having had him in your life while you did.

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #35 on: November 20, 2015, 01:06:51 PM »
Thank you for the kind words bomega. Intellectally, I concur with you that it is my pain and not the puppy's death which is the issue. But separating the two practically does not seem possible.

I have a history of depression and this event seems to have brought it on in small doses. I'll try to be mindful next time; but emotions like anger, pain, fear are too powerful for me to compose myself in.

Matthew

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #36 on: November 20, 2015, 03:29:52 PM »
Alan,

Meditation practice is called practice for a reason: it gives us a controlled environment in which to tackle the things that bring us to unsatisfactory states of mind. It's a bit like running software in a VM or Sandbox .... and it does take practice to get there - especially with some of the strong emotions you are experiencing, yet get there you will.

Slowly and over time these things will be clearer to you in your mind - as they become clearer they become weaker in their power over you. This is why Pema Chodron says to be fully present with such feelings: any other way merely suppresses them into the subconscious, building an even bigger heap of stuff to deal with. Once your practice builds calm, concentration and insight such that newly arising issues are dealt with immediately then you can start to use those same tools to unpick the pile of much woven into your subconscious mind. That is the stuff that leads to such things as bouts of depression: contradictory habitual ways of thinking that put you "in a bind", in a situation where you can't win because any result is a loss.

The Buddha didn't actually say life is suffering by the way - this translation is too strong. He said life is stressful and unsatisfactory. There were so many mistranslations of words which have stuck it makes working his teachings out less easy. "Enlightenment" is the worst: translated through German to English it has nothing to do with Nirvana or Arahantship but is defined by the Christian translators who could not imagine a transcendent philosophy without a permanent soul.

You are a good man. That is obvious from the small amount I have got to know you. Believe in your ability to slay your demons and get on with it brother.

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

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2015, 04:43:27 AM »
Thank you for your support, compassion, empathy and advice Matthew. I deepply value your words. While I'll re-read your message a few times, I've come to understand that ultimately these feelings are not going to go off themselves; I'll have to deal with them. The ultimate horror is to unpack the past, but that'll come later when I'm better equipped.

My reason for coming back to the forum was that yesterday, a tenant in my neighborhood, picked up 4 of the surviving puppies; borthers to the one who passed away and left them off somewhere far away. Anger, sadness, pain....it's no use writing about it. I and a few other neighbors tried to talk him into telling us the drop point, but he wouldn't. They are lost. Their mother is depressed. She spent the whole day looking for them all over the neighborhood; and lastly lay on the road, depressed, just like she would when one of her pup would die.

I could've done something about it. I have powerful friends. But a sin does not warrant another sin in revenge. I still feel I should do something, but I know that path will not bring contentment even if I get my puppies back; in short I've had revenge before and it fills me up with guilt rather than satisfaction. I become a coward in my own eyes. I fall further in my own esteem.

I console myself with the thought that they've grown enough to live alone themselves. I should probably hurt this man before he hurts any other of my dogs. And yeah, this person is in league with the other person, who ran over 3 puppies, two of whom died on the spot, and the third one who was injured badly, and died in my hands.

I think I cleared my head while writing this. I shall hurt them, not for revenge, but to stop further misdeeds.



alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2015, 04:47:10 AM »
I found out that I could meditate without watching my breath if I could stay unoccupied, if I did not run away from boredom, and accepted it. It's kinda addictive. The ability to be idle needs to be cultivated, and I'm just beginning to understand what it means to really be able to control little nuts and bolts of this unfathomable machine that we operate unconsciously with our reptilian brain, wander what Gautama must've felt.

NOTE: I'm one of those people who'd prefer russiun roulette over boredom. Have been like this since childhood. An agressive opponent to boredom and sitting idle. So, its a surpise for me.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 04:54:24 AM by alanStark »

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #39 on: November 24, 2015, 05:03:22 AM »
Fabricate Nothing...As it says in Matthew's signature is in itself a complete practice.

A small bit of understanding about this came to me during practice. I had just been distracted for a moment by a stray thought, and I told my mind to calm down. For a moment, I understood the distinction of the word 'mind' and the actual thing without any name or concept associated with it. I say some part of myself without a name associated with it i.e. without the stimuli being processed by the intellect. I later figured thats what people meant when they said that once named, it's not the real thing; or about being non-judgemental; or seeing things as they are. That moment was phenomenal. I think this can be cultiavted to the point where you can intentionally look at things without the brain processing them intellectually.

Any thoughts?

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #40 on: November 24, 2015, 05:06:04 AM »
And it's delightful to see someone mention VMs and  Sandbox in this forum. Hardly find people of my kind ('trade') in places like this. People in tech are mostly too wound up to ever consider such practices.

And yeah, how is your hosting so expensive. May I suggest migrating to DigitalOcean or Amazon EC2, will cost you much less...

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #41 on: November 24, 2015, 09:31:38 AM »
Fabricate Nothing...As it says in Matthew's signature is in itself a complete practice.

A small bit of understanding about this came to me during practice. I had just been distracted for a moment by a stray thought, and I told my mind to calm down. For a moment, I understood the distinction of the word 'mind' and the actual thing without any name or concept associated with it. I say some part of myself without a name associated with it i.e. without the stimuli being processed by the intellect. I later figured thats what people meant when they said that once named, it's not the real thing; or about being non-judgemental; or seeing things as they are. That moment was phenomenal. I think this can be cultiavted to the point where you can intentionally look at things without the brain processing them intellectually.

Any thoughts?
I'm often mindful with my eyes open as I find that gives less stimulus for my imagination, and I'll gaze without honing in and labelling things.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #42 on: November 24, 2015, 09:34:06 AM »
And it's delightful to see someone mention VMs and  Sandbox in this forum. Hardly find people of my kind ('trade') in places like this. People in tech are mostly too wound up to ever consider such practices.

And yeah, how is your hosting so expensive. May I suggest migrating to DigitalOcean or Amazon EC2, will cost you much less...
Sometimes with technology price isn't necessarily the be all and end all. In my company we deploy a hosted exchange service that's more expensive than 365, but as techs the better administration and support more than makes up the difference.

Matthew

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #43 on: November 24, 2015, 10:42:36 AM »
Fabricate Nothing...As it says in Matthew's signature is in itself a complete practice.
...
Any thoughts?

Yes it is .. and keep up the practice. These insights will grow.

Please don't hurt people - you'll carry that Karma inside of you. Find a peaceable way.

The hosting isn't hugely expensive - it includes a dedicated i.p. address, domain privacy and is for two years, not one.
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Middleway

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #44 on: November 24, 2015, 11:59:00 AM »
My reason for coming back to the forum was that yesterday, a tenant in my neighborhood, picked up 4 of the surviving puppies; borthers to the one who passed away and left them off somewhere far away. Anger, sadness, pain....it's no use writing about it. I and a few other neighbors tried to talk him into telling us the drop point, but he wouldn't. They are lost. Their mother is depressed. She spent the whole day looking for them all over the neighborhood; and lastly lay on the road, depressed, just like she would when one of her pup would die.

I could've done something about it. I have powerful friends. But a sin does not warrant another sin in revenge. I still feel I should do something, but I know that path will not bring contentment even if I get my puppies back; in short I've had revenge before and it fills me up with guilt rather than satisfaction. I become a coward in my own eyes. I fall further in my own esteem.

I console myself with the thought that they've grown enough to live alone themselves. I should probably hurt this man before he hurts any other of my dogs. And yeah, this person is in league with the other person, who ran over 3 puppies, two of whom died on the spot, and the third one who was injured badly, and died in my hands.

I think I cleared my head while writing this. I shall hurt them, not for revenge, but to stop further misdeeds.

Alan, you are a compassionate guy and want to help the stray dogs in your neighborhood. But based on what I could piece together from your posts, it appears that your compassion may be misguided. You have collected a bunch of stray dogs and brought them to your neighbourhood and now they are breeding uncontrollably and all the puppies are running around. They became nuisance to your neighbors and angered them to a point where one guy deliberately ran over one of the puppies and killed it. Another guy decided to round up a few puppies and drop them off elsewhere. Now you are mad at that guy and want to hurt him.

These dogs may not just be nuisance in your neighborhood but also may pose health hazard as dogs are known to carry rabies.  I do not want to judge you or the situation in your neighborhood as I am not there. There is always another side to the story. Carefully evaluate the situation and consider whether you are doing the dogs more harm than good.

Kind regards,

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #45 on: November 25, 2015, 05:16:26 AM »
Message Removed. Apologies.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 05:16:23 PM by alanStark »

Middleway

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #46 on: November 25, 2015, 12:14:41 PM »
It's not about those animals Alan. It's ALL about you. In almost all of your posts, the central character is YOU. Contemplate on it.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #47 on: November 25, 2015, 01:16:35 PM »
Message Removed. Apologies.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 05:16:15 PM by alanStark »

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #48 on: November 25, 2015, 01:25:24 PM »
Message Removed. Apologies.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 05:16:08 PM by alanStark »

alanStark

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Re: Obstacles In Meditation
« Reply #49 on: November 25, 2015, 01:29:43 PM »
Message Removed. Apologies.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 05:00:53 PM by alanStark »