Author Topic: The basic method of meditation  (Read 7453 times)

Goofaholix

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2016, 09:21:16 PM »
Did Buddha have a teacher? 

Yes, he mentioned two specifically.

Many people have found the way without a teacher.     

Can you advise some examples?

As has already been pointed out the instructions you are following are designed for jhana practice.  While the lighthearted way that Ajahn presents the steps might give the impression it should proceed along pretty quickly for most people this is not the case.  I have heard of experienced meditators/teachers experiencing it after a few months intensive retreat but without perfect condition expect it to take years or decades if at all.

If your mind doesn't naturally incline towards it and/or you don't have perfect conditions then you'd be better off practicing a vipassana technique where the primary aim is wisdom rather than calm.  You'll find it less frustrating to practice to understand the mind rather than to force it do what it doesn't want to do.

purity

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2016, 09:58:28 PM »
What you both - Mathew and Alex - are telling me is in conflict with what others tell me.     Everything I have read and learnt from Sanghas and retreat tells me to use breath as an anchor and note whatever arises before returning to breath.     I dont agree that its impossible without a teacher.   Did Buddha have a teacher?  Many people have found the way without a teacher.     
.....

My advise was to use the breath as an anchor. I do think you need to overcome the habit of concentrating only on the abdomen if you are to progress. It is also not true that I said you need a teacher:

...
I strongly encourage you to experiment with the calm-abiding technique for one month with the emphasis on relaxing and calming the body. Not a question of it being "the right way" or "the only way" but a question of it being an expedient means to you finding your middle way.

It's only two weeks that I first suggested you try calm-abiding. I suggest you try it for one month and drop all other practices for a good reason: it will take time to break the habits you have around meditation and get into a new way of practicing. I also emphasised that YOU have to find YOUR middle way. I made no mention of needing a teacher, though it can be helpful. As my profile says "Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project" - you have to DO IT YOURSELF at the end of the day - with or without a teacher.

I realise you were only trying to help but the more you tell me the more and more confused I have become.   This has not helped me. It has hindered me.   Im giving up on trying to get help or clear instruction from anyone because it does not seem to be possible.    All the instructions are vague and so many different opinions and methods that contradict each other that it does nothing but make me feel angry.  I don't feel any sense of peace or clarity. I just feel like I have been misguided by people in all different directions. 

Frightful

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2016, 10:50:50 PM »
@Purity:  "All the instructions are vague and so many different opinions and methods that contradict each other that it does nothing but make me feel angry.  I don't feel any sense of peace or clarity. I just feel like I have been misguided by people in all different directions. "

Purity, what I'm going to say here may be outside of the intent of this forum, but I'm hoping not so.  I'm hoping you stick with your practice, whichever way it takes you.  Again, I'm just learning myself, but am coming at it from the angle of having been through a moderate amount of psychotherapy beforehand.

Your comment that I've pasted above may be something to consider with regard to your own past.  Maybe you feel that in your personal history, there have been many attempts to set you on a right path that only ended in confusion.  Alternatively, maybe no one ever gave you any direction and that is causing confusion as well today.  I'm not sure, but I do feel that meditation, as prescribed at this site, *can* be one leg of moving towards a better life....internally, which may lead to a better life externally as well.

My own take on one of your main concerns issued farther above in this thread,....that your mind-chatter during meditation is getting worse instead of better...., is that possibly your meditation is in fact working just fine for the stage that you are at.  It is making you more aware.  And that awareness is bringing up some pretty uncomfortable things that may need consideration in parallel with your meditative practice.  With that increased discomfort comes increased mind-chatter, which likely has aided you for much of you life in not being able to see or feel the basis for this discomfort...in helping block painful thoughts and feelings.  These basic things might be unresolved interpersonal conflicts, unresolved internal conflicts, etc.  I have many still in my life that remain unresolved and continue to cause problems, but less so.  And I do feel that meditation has been a part of these being less negatively impacting on my later life.

Again, these thoughts and suggestions may well be inconsistent with the intent of this forum.  But I put them here as motivation for you not to abandon your work and to, as Matthew noted, find that particular path this is *yours*.  Each of us comes minimally from an interaction of our genes and our environment, which does not even address issues such as spirituality, etc.  So each will have that unique path or elements along that way that make a difference to *us*, even if they have no role in someone else's path.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 12:06:00 AM by Frightful »

purity

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2016, 01:33:31 AM »
This is the last post I will make on this site.   I have not felt so depressed about my practice in this way since I begun 5 years ago.  All i have to say is nothing any of you have said has helped me but just further confused me.  I am on the edge of dumping buddhism altogether because I am coming to the conclusion that its just another religion promising so much but delivering so little then blaming the follower for feeling confused and being unable to discover their own inner path whatever that even means because it means nothing to me right now.  For a religion that is 2500 years old you would think that by this stage there would be some clear and consistent instruction but I have found nothing but contradictions and confusion and now I feel more lost than when i started.  Goodbye.

Middleway

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2016, 02:00:15 AM »
I am sorry you feel this way. All the members who provided advice to you I am sure they did that with all the good intentions. I sincerely hope you will find your path and inner peace. Good luck.

Kindly,

Middleway
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Matthew

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2016, 01:48:27 PM »
Hi purity,

You arrived here confused, frustrated, bored and somewhat angry. I'm not sure you have understood Buddhism, the purpose of this forum and the advice you have been offered.

Buddhism has many different methods, incarnations, philosophies, styles and teachers. It's all a bit of a mish-mash and the Buddha would probably reject the majority of what is practiced in his name.

This forum is a peer-to-peer support based on personal experience. Nobody is the teacher yet we can all learn from each other. You have pretty much rejected out of hand all advice offered. And yes, because we all have to find our own paths some of the advice will be contradictory - it is up to you to work with those things that agree with "your own common sense and reason" - as the Buddha said.

You said you were practicing the method I proposed you experiment with, yet clearly you weren't. And when that was pointed out you were not prepared to try the experiment I proposed fully - an experiment others have tried and found very beneficial and liberating.

And now you leave the forum confused, frustrated, bored and somewhat angry. I'm sorry it hasn't worked out for you, however, if you came minded to reject all advice what did you expect?

Tulku Ringu Rinpoche said the most important teaching of the Buddha is that "you can change yourself". You have to take responsibility for your path, your learning, your effort, your morality and your discipline. Yet you don't seem to like this reality, and say Buddhism is "delivering so little then blaming the follower for feeling confused and being unable to discover their own inner path". This is your interpretation and seems to be based on a lack of choice or ability to take responsibility for yourself.

You go on to say " .. whatever that even means because it means nothing to me right now". Well, maybe that is where you can benefit from some inquiry. Look within - the answers don't lay outside of yourself. This is not blaming you. It is simply stating the facts of the situation you are in. It seems the five years of meditation you have undertaken have not been helpful yet you are seemingly unwilling to explore other ways forward.

I wish you well wherever you go next. You are always welcome to try and explore these issues here, just remember that if you bring confusion, frustration, boredom and anger and a refusal to take responsibility for your own change to the table you will surely find them there, whatever table you are sat at.

Kindly,

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

Attachless

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2016, 11:45:52 AM »
Good luck man, you may pick up meditation at a later point in your life, in a different manner and with different intention, maybe seeing most techniques and traditions as a whole in their self and them not as being complementary (this teacher said that, Eckhart tolle said that, etc. "confusion"). They are not, and everything has to be taken in its own context and experience brings understanding, not the intellect, that one can surely understand, because without the expectation to "get it" by understanding it intellectually, there`s less confusion, because one grasps that there`s nothing to grasp, only to try (and then eventually grasp it). Words can only beat around the bush, really. I guess that`s the advantage of sticking with one tradition; even there they tell you to not mix it up with any other tradition because it will confuse and not be beneficial for your understanding. Only practice is, and anything else is really just to "stabilize" the practice.

Wish you all the best still :-) it`s ok to be frustrated, we all know how that feels I guess, at least I do. the best thing one can do is try again and be persistent. Maybe throw it all over board and try something different - that may even be the best approach, forget all you know, it will only fill you with expectations and stuff like that.. anyway, since you made your decision already I`ll stop my good will here now :-P just adding that not all about meditation is about Buddhism. I put myself into meditation for quite some time, but although Buddhism is one of the more sympathic religion, it remains just that, and that`s not - in my book - good. Meditation in itself belongs not to Buddhism or anything or anybody else. :-)
to be or not to be - one hardly notices the subtlety

VipassanaXYZ

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2016, 02:31:25 PM »
Good luck Purity.

Be well :)

Alex

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2016, 02:53:34 PM »
Hi Purity

Blaming or judging you for your own lack of progression or for difficulties we have in understanding each other here on the forum would be easy. It’s how our minds like to go about things: creating stories, stories in which the responsibility or faults lie outside of our self.

I have learned that telling stories is what my mind likes to do, but I also learned that I can let the story go and come back to something real and present. I can let the reactivity of my mind/body calm down and look within. What’s this all about?

This leads me among other things to question my motivation to write on this forum. My motivation here is to reach out to other human beings, who are facing the same feelings of anger, confusion and feeling lost (among others) as I am, and who are struggling with the same tendencies to want things differently, and who are telling themselves the same deluded stories as I am.

Written words is all we have on a forum and written words leave a lot of room for interpretation. Mostly then, we interpret words from our own perspective, which unfortunately is exactly what we’re trying to free us from.

So, I see and accept that my words will not always be felt or understood as intended. If my words are not helpful, well, then, they are not helpful. You are not to blame. I still struggle with all this, telling myself stories about how incapable I am, about what other  people here must think about me, etc.

The beauty of it all is that in every moment we can wake up and see through the stories.

And although this process of waking up, of liberating ourselves from these conditioned patterns of thinking, feeling and acting, also brings us a sense of ease, quiet mind-states and pleasant experiences, these mind-states and experiences are not the goal. Anyone promising you differently is misleading you. Our own expectations are also misleading. In the beginning of the meditation process I often thought “Now I’ve understood. From now on life will be easy.” We all know it doesn’t work that war. Difficult things remain difficult.

I am very weary of people who are overenthusiastic about their practice, even though I also was in the early stages. But my experience is that it is often difficult, painful or unpleasant to wake up and see things for what they are. So even though I am sometimes overthrown with deep contentment, I will try to remain humble. Everything is impermanent. You never know what will come next.

From this perspective, I would personally not give any promises. Meditation is an experiment beyond our control. I would instead encourage people who want to embark on such a path to clarify their intentions: if you’re looking for relaxation and quietness, in which you don’t have to own up to how you unconsciously shape your own experience, there are a lot of different practices that can help you. But if you are prepared to look within to what is actually there and surrender control, then a liberating process can unfold, even though this requires more than a regulare meditation practice.

So, if liberation is what you’re after, and if you’re prepared to look within, the invitation stands: you are welcome to explore theses things with fellow human beings who are not that different from you and who are genuinely trying to figure all this out.

You said you wouldn’t post here anymore. I respect that. But also feel free to come back. You are welcome as you are, with your doubts, frustrations, and confusion, even anger.

Kind regards,
Alex

Matthew

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2016, 09:27:31 PM »
Quote from: alex
You said you wouldn’t post here anymore. I respect that. But also feel free to come back. You are welcome as you are, with your doubts, frustrations, and confusion, even anger.

Well said and seconded.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Crispy0405

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2016, 02:42:19 PM »
Hi purity I don't normally post on here but In This case I thought I would,
Just wanted to wish u all the peace and contentment and most importantly meta to help you through this tough time.

Kind regards
Chris

Quardamon

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Re: The basic method of meditation
« Reply #36 on: February 29, 2016, 12:42:37 PM »
    . . .    I am coming to the conclusion that [buddhism is] just another religion promising so much but delivering so little then blaming the follower for feeling confused and being unable to discover their own inner path whatever that even means    . . .   
Thank you for the teaching.
I think that very few of us here on the forum are familiar with our own ways of blaming the victim.

Farewell, purity.