Author Topic: Should I drop ideas/philisophy/religion and just practice meditation instead?  (Read 734 times)

Meditative

  • Member
  • Who are you?
Since 2014 I've been heavily interested deep life questions and all things spiritual. I've studied things from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, Osho to chakras, kundalini, psychology, bioenergetics, psychedelics, and shamanism. I've learned a lot and see many similarities, but also many differences among these concepts. Learning this stuff is addicting, it's like candy for my brain... it has left me with many ideas and a deep thinking mind, but also much confusion and little gained in wholesome life changes or peace of mind.

My intuition says I should just drop all these concepts, useless questions, and just put something into practice that resonates with me. For me that would be the calm abiding meditation from this website in conjunction with other healthy practices like exercise, proper nutrition, ice baths/cold showers, Wim Hof method, etc. Should I just do this and not worry about any external seeking? My mind is constantly asking questions.

Thank you

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Since 2014 I've been heavily interested deep life questions and all things spiritual. I've studied things from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, Osho to chakras, kundalini, psychology, bioenergetics, psychedelics, and shamanism. I've learned a lot and see many similarities, but also many differences among these concepts. Learning this stuff is addicting, it's like candy for my brain... it has left me with many ideas and a deep thinking mind, but also much confusion and little gained in wholesome life changes or peace of mind.

My intuition says I should just drop all these concepts, useless questions, and just put something into practice that resonates with me. For me that would be the calm abiding meditation from this website in conjunction with other healthy practices like exercise, proper nutrition, ice baths/cold showers, Wim Hof method, etc. Should I just do this and not worry about any external seeking? My mind is constantly asking questions.

Thank you
It's how I got into meditation in the first place, to experiment with such ideas and see what happened. Eventually I realised that I just needed to develop a couple of basic meditations to practice long-term and then I could go back to my studies once the practices were part of my everyday life. The simple meditations then did their thing and my studies progressed. I agree about exercise and a good diet, but cold showers? Brrr!
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

dharma bum

  • Moderator
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
I think a curiousity about different religious traditions is quite healthy. I went through a similar phase when I was young and I still have an interest. I am not an expert, but I have read that many religious traditions have contemplative meditation practice. There needn't be any conflict since the goal of Buddhist meditation is kindness and compassion, which is what many religions aspire to. When I was young, I had a huge appetite for knowledge, but now I feel bored by all the crap in all the religions and am only interested in the parts that mean something in my life.

What might differ is the technique of meditation. I think people should pick up any technique that works. But sometimes after it becomes stale, people lose heart. At that time, you should switch to some other technique. Eventually, you'll stop expecting novelty in meditation.
Mostly ignorant

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
I think a curiousity about different religious traditions is quite healthy. I went through a similar phase when I was young and I still have an interest. I am not an expert, but I have read that many religious traditions have contemplative meditation practice. There needn't be any conflict since the goal of Buddhist meditation is kindness and compassion, which is what many religions aspire to. When I was young, I had a huge appetite for knowledge, but now I feel bored by all the crap in all the religions and am only interested in the parts that mean something in my life.

What might differ is the technique of meditation. I think people should pick up any technique that works. But sometimes after it becomes stale, people lose heart. At that time, you should switch to some other technique. Eventually, you'll stop expecting novelty in meditation.
Yes, it takes time to settle into meditation practice. I was lucky in that I had experimented with a number of different techniques before I became a Buddhist, which meant that I could slip into different meditations when I got bored. Like you say, eventually, and I mean after some years in my case, my mind accepted simple meditations for longer periods of time. There are two choices when you get stuck. Either stick with it or change for a while and go back to it later. It really depends on what works for you.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Since 2014 I've been heavily interested deep life questions and all things spiritual. I've studied things from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, Osho to chakras, kundalini, psychology, bioenergetics, psychedelics, and shamanism. I've learned a lot and see many similarities, but also many differences among these concepts. Learning this stuff is addicting, it's like candy for my brain... it has left me with many ideas and a deep thinking mind, but also much confusion and little gained in wholesome life changes or peace of mind.

My intuition says I should just drop all these concepts, useless questions, and just put something into practice that resonates with me. For me that would be the calm abiding meditation from this website in conjunction with other healthy practices like exercise, proper nutrition, ice baths/cold showers, Wim Hof method, etc. Should I just do this and not worry about any external seeking? My mind is constantly asking questions.

Thank you


The answers you seek are inside and will be revealed by meditation, Mindfulness and morality in your daily living.

Studying through words and images can feed your knowledge of the path to a limited extent, yet walking the path is the only way to know it: the qualities one seeks to grow, and those one needs to discard, must be studied through your own awareness.

Seeking externally risks putting you in the "spiritual supermarket" and running around chasing your thoughts about how to integrate these different paths. Mindfulness begins with breath, yet seeing through the arising and falling of thought is a key step on the path.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Heitentinger

  • Member
  • Some random guy
Why shouldn't these concept be contradictory ?

they aren't an exact science so it's pretty normal that everything doesn't fit. The most important is how you feel about them, and what they mean to you. I agree that it's only with self experience that you can find a thought that fits to yourself.

meditating and thinking are not exclusive. You can continue to interest yourself in such things and also continue to meditate.

have a nice one

You can never be sure to really understand something, until you are certain you can't totally understand it.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Thinking is a form of meditation, however, it is not a form of meditation until you have completely conquered habitual thinking. This is no small hurdle. You will know when you are the master of your thoughts, not the slave to your thoughts. A weight will lift from your shoulders.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

raushan

  • Staff
  • from India
    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Thinking is a form of meditation, however, it is not a form of meditation until you have completely conquered habitual thinking. This is no small hurdle. You will know when you are the master of your thoughts, not the slave to your thoughts. A weight will lift from your shoulders.

This is a great line.

Meditative

  • Member
  • Who are you?

Eventually I realised that I just needed to develop a couple of basic meditations to practice long-term and then I could go back to my studies once the practices were part of my everyday life. The simple meditations then did their thing and my studies progressed. I agree about exercise and a good diet, but cold showers? Brrr!

Yes this is what I'll do for now. What meditation techniques do you practice? I'm afraid of mixing or practicing multiple techniques because I read in this forum that can be harmful. However I do want to try qigong and hatha yoga.

Ya cold showers massively sucked at first, still sucks, but after a few months of practice I don't resist it nearly as much. It leaves me very energized yet relaxed by the time I'm done. There's also many health benefits proven by science. To name a few it turns off inflammation pathways in the body, increases brown fat which are fat cells with more mitochondria, and improves cardiovascular health as it gives the smooth muscle in your blood vessels (all 80,000 miles) a good workout as blood rushes from the periphery to your core in attempts to keep you alive. I invite you to give it a try. 


The answers you seek are inside and will be revealed by meditation, Mindfulness and morality in your daily living.

Studying through words and images can feed your knowledge of the path to a limited extent, yet walking the path is the only way to know it: the qualities one seeks to grow, and those one needs to discard, must be studied through your own awareness.

Thinking is a form of meditation, however, it is not a form of meditation until you have completely conquered habitual thinking. This is no small hurdle. You will know when you are the master of your thoughts, not the slave to your thoughts. A weight will lift from your shoulders.

This is my feeling as well. What exactly do you mean by thought forms as a form of meditation? Is it being fully aware of thought forms so they don't have power over you? Can it also mean choosing what thoughts or thought patterns you want to think?

Thanks to everyone else for the wise answers.

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Meditative: "What meditation techniques do you practice? I'm afraid of mixing or practicing multiple techniques because I read in this forum that can be harmful."

Usually Metta Bhavana and Mindfulness of Breathing, but with variations I've developed over the years. However, this is after many years of experimenting with a wide variety of meditation techniques, which I still use on occasions. I was warned that the 'butterfly effect' of trying out different meditation could be a problem, but I was one of the only people at the Buddhist Centre who enjoyed meditating, with most finding it a chore, so I carried on exploring.

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Thinking is a form of meditation, however, it is not a form of meditation until you have completely conquered habitual thinking. This is no small hurdle. You will know when you are the master of your thoughts, not the slave to your thoughts. A weight will lift from your shoulders.

This is my feeling as well. What exactly do you mean by thought forms as a form of meditation? Is it being fully aware of thought forms so they don't have power over you? Can it also mean choosing what thoughts or thought patterns you want to think?

As I wrote thinking cannot truly become a form of meditation until habitual thought is completely conquered - not by force, however, by letting go: repeatedly watching thought arise and fall and seeing it's fleeting nature, always returning to breath as the anchor. Thoughts not having power over you is a transitional step.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

gannuman

  • Member
  • I'm a human being. What more is necessary to say?
    • Mostly Theravada, some Hatha Yoga, some Taoism, some Vajrayana, very little Chan
    • Continuos interior remodeling
This thread is already rather old, but I though I'd share my thoughts and experiences as it might be helpful to someone.

I started out just like you. At some point I dove deep in the Pali cannon. I was obsessed and very confused. It was a clutch and I became somewhat disassociated in a disbalanced way. Because I realized I was reading way too much, I gave it up. I continued life with many dilusions in my head and acted very unskilfully at times and eventually I rememembered dhamma and realized I needed it.

I think that dhamma is sometimes hard to understand as a philosophy. Sometimes it get us in our nerves on things we really should rethink in our lives. Sometimes it makes us really overreact to things that were OK. But that's part of the process, that's what it's supposed to do.

When you understand it is very clear. But that understanding only comes from realizing it in your own life. The words themselves can be very confusing. The words carry limited meaning. There are some things in the Pali cannon that are somewhat cryptic because of differences in culture, time and language and would be clearer to us in another dialect. But that's just the way things are. The words only roughly point to things. In regards to dhamma, sometimes you can point to it in the exact opposite way as it was refered to in the suttas, but you'll never see that if you only read the theory. Don't get hung up on words. In contrast to what I just said, don't abandon learning, reading/hearing and thinking about things also. That's part of the path too! The buddha said at varied contexts that considering things is the way to avoid suffering. And I'm sure having knowledge of things help.

I think that OP has many useful interests, very healthy and wholesome things, but one essential thing relating to the question was missing to me: look at one's own life. Feel what things feel like, observe how things go, what is the order of things, what are the charateristics of things. How things come into being, how things change, how things cease to be. Observe this in one's own life. Ponder such things. Read teachings, be it from the suttas or somewhere else and compare them to one's own experiences: where they seem to be accurate, where they seem to be false, when are they good and skilfull and when are they not. We need to consider things in this way. When in doubt it's good to read teachings and learn things, but it can only take us so far. Look at one's own experience and experiment, see how things feel like. Be patient and observe the way things are. Come up with one's own conclusions based on the observance of the way things happen in this very world and as soon as one can, reavaluate what one once believed. Always observe, and when you think you know then observe with double effort. This is the way to clear our doubts.

I still have many unskilfull habits in my mind and I don't know how much delusion. But to me that seems like a really good advice to follow :)

Metta
Lord of gods, there are two kinds of happiness ... Two kinds of sadness ... Two kinds of equinimity: That which you should cultivate and that which you should not cultivate.

Just A Simple Guy

  • Bubba Hotep
  • Member
    • Curiosity and Exploration
Since 2014 I've been heavily interested deep life questions and all things spiritual. I've studied things from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age, Osho to chakras, kundalini, psychology, bioenergetics, psychedelics, and shamanism. I've learned a lot and see many similarities, but also many differences among these concepts. Learning this stuff is addicting, it's like candy for my brain... it has left me with many ideas and a deep thinking mind, but also much confusion and little gained in wholesome life changes or peace of mind.

Sounds familiar! My psychedelics days are long past but I suspect they played a part. For the past decade I've been intensely interested in consciousness, looking at it from many different perspectives. Religions, philosophy and particularly of mind, neuroscience, psychology and even quantum physics. Recently I also got back into a health kick, restarting resistance training and healthy eating and I even started transitioning showers from hot to all cold for 5 or so minutes after washing. I need hot water for the soapy part, LOL!

My intuition says I should just drop all these concepts, useless questions, and just put something into practice that resonates with me. For me that would be the calm abiding meditation from this website in conjunction with other healthy practices like exercise, proper nutrition, ice baths/cold showers, Wim Hof method, etc. Should I just do this and not worry about any external seeking? My mind is constantly asking questions.

Until very recently I was mainly practicing calm abiding and just for the secular benefits, however that changed and it was really a very minor change. I had heard it often enough but I finally paid attention to the significance of that space that arises between awareness and body-mind when practicing. Now I can't help but notice it and actually live it in daily life. It's a shift in identification from body-mind to awareness. The really interesting thing is I'm equally aware of that space in others and it's more than an intellectual knowing. It's empathetic and in a visceral way. Heart knowledge, if you will.

As Matthew said, intellectual knowing only gets one so far but it is an important step, however direct experiential knowing is where the rubber meets the road.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 10:56:23 AM by Just A Simple Guy »
“Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own.” ~ Bruce Lee

Siddharth

  • Staff
    • unlearning, relearning and letting go
One of the most beneficial thing that happened with me by following calm abiding meditation is getting into deep state of relaxation not just physically but eventually also mentally, that deep level of comfort with all that you are at that moment :
your ego, conditioning, insecurities..
It is like all the monsters that you have been struggling through and fighting your whole life are slowly becoming less harmful to you,
The fires of hell so to say is still burning but you like the ghost of yoda just see and pass through them..

This has made me cultivate a lot (it is a relative term) of tolerance in real life and be less and less attached to all that is "wrong" in my life and me. This reduced attachment in turn makes me observe more sharply the culmination of complexes and conditioning that I am and the habit patterns that I keep on falling into.

I am sharing all this to let you know the benefits of shamatha vipassana as i experienced it first hand with limited or no knowledge or interest in intellectual discussions on religion, normative issues like justice, equality etc.

I think unless we develop a certain level of detachment to self, most of our cerebral efforts which we think are wholesome like reading suttas or discussing high topics of religion or philosophy etc. are more often than not rooted in ambition, and showing someone something (mostly to our own selves that we are not that friked up).

Thus doing the same thing can have different meanings/ motiations for people at different stages on the path.

The way that you describe your interest in religion and other concepts which are big part of our society but we do not have formal exposure to in our education, has a lot to do with you not feeling enough as you are, not being content with the journey that you and in some ways everyone is making towards liberation. And that is OK. that is the case most of the time with most of the people including me and many others on the forum.

Yet, I would suggest you try to take a break (say of 7-21 days) of anything you are not feeling sure is wholesome in your life and notice the effects. Why not devote the time you were devoting on these things towards meditation in its simplest forms as explained on this forums main page.

With Metta
Siddharth
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
6 Replies
2343 Views
Last post April 20, 2010, 08:47:26 AM
by Matthew
32 Replies
8162 Views
Last post June 25, 2011, 08:41:38 AM
by Stefan
10 Replies
5303 Views
Last post November 06, 2013, 08:49:23 AM
by Matthew
3 Replies
1445 Views
Last post November 18, 2013, 10:18:28 PM
by Matthew
21 Replies
4485 Views
Last post December 01, 2013, 06:47:08 PM
by Shabd Mystic
3 Replies
1073 Views
Last post July 26, 2016, 05:28:30 AM
by Charlie00
9 Replies
1199 Views
Last post December 01, 2016, 02:01:39 AM
by Suited4Battle