Author Topic: Please share your experience with sleep impact  (Read 383 times)

efeatherly1

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Vipassana
Please share your experience with sleep impact
« on: November 11, 2019, 04:12:36 PM »
 I've been a long time insomniac and just learning this meditation when I read vipassana can negatively impact sleep. I was hoping it would help with sleep. Can it? Is there reason for concern? What was your experience?  Thank you so much!

Ottercreek

  • Member
  • less is more
    • Vipassana, Zen, Chan
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2019, 05:14:48 PM »
Hi efeatherly1! My experience is, a stable daily practice definitely helps for better sleep, and practice friends of mine experience the same. I also did have the experience of not sleeping at night on some intensive retreats, when it seems my body-mind just didn't need sleep because of the deep meditative state. It wasn't a problem at all in those circumstances and when I returned to standard life I slept well again, sometimes not so long but very well so there was no need of more.

Just to share my point of view about Vipassana, Goenka and retreats (on your other post): Mr Goenka is NOT the only reference when it comes to Vipassana, he does NOT have the exclusivity of teaching that approach to meditation. Personnally, his retreats were a great introduction for me, it seems retreats work well for some people like me, it's so much easier to calm the mind... but for certain people they're not helpful so why force it? And then for me, Mr Goenka's discourses were quite UNhelpful, a good opportunity to practice equanimity but I found better guidance elsewhere afterwards. Do things as you find helpful for you (but you're aware that Goenka himself taught only on retreats, aren't you? So of course every practitioner has his personal opinion about 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.
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2019, 06:03:35 PM »
Mr Goenka was disowned by the other teachers in that lineage, including the successor to leadership.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

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.
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2019, 06:18:18 PM »
I've been a long time insomniac and just learning this meditation when I read vipassana can negatively impact sleep. I was hoping it would help with sleep. Can it? Is there reason for concern? What was your experience?  Thank you so much!

Regarding insomnia: first thing is to be sure you are adequately hydrated. 4 pints of water (~2L) a day is the minimum I personally need. If I drop below this I start to have sleep problems.

Secondly, a good "sleep hygiene" - bedroom for sleeping only. No screens for an hour before bed; relax, read a book, listen to some music or something. Bed at the same time each night, preferably by 10pm, 11pm latest. Meditation for some people works during this time, but for some others seems to cause issues, so you have to try for yourself and see what works.

In and of itself, meditation will first bring to your awareness much that has been subconscious. In the very beginning this can lead to some issues but not for long, and generally less of a problem if you are grounding your meditation in tranquillity/Shamatha rather than trying to force the development of insight/Vipassana.

Your mileage may vary, though over many years the advice above has shown to work for many people.

You might want to try searching the forum for sleep or insomnia and read previous threads - this is an issue that has come up repeatedly over the years. There may be something there that can help you.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

efeatherly1

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Vipassana
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 05:08:14 AM »
Ottercreek, what guidance did you find helpful after your retreat? I'd like to learn all I can from a variety of sources. Goenka is the only one I've come across so far, with lessons to complement my practice. I'll look for other threads re: sleep. I'm finding tranquility when meditating. My history of many years of TM has provided a good foundation. Is it common to take the beginning 15 or so minutes to settle thoughts and reach tranquility? This is the case for me. I'm going back and forth bringing my awareness back to sensation, and then finally (after the beginning 15 minutes) I'm able to maintain that awareness for the remaining 1 or 1.5 hour session. Does this time to reach tranquility shorten with sustained and consistent practice?

Ottercreek

  • Member
  • less is more
    • Vipassana, Zen, Chan
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2019, 12:00:22 PM »
What guidance? Well, I tried a few groups in the closest city because I needed the support of the group to go on. Finally stuck with a Zen group, and eventually attended Chan retreats much further, but with a more personnalised approach than Goenka, with an actual teacher (not recordings) and individual interviews. I'm soon going for a long retreat in the Thai forest tradition. And of course various readings. Now what was right for me is not necessarily for you, I'd just say it's worth looking around and see what may be available and fitting for you. Just this forum may be fine, personnally I always find Matthew's advice excellent, and other members', too.. (but for some reason, I don't "hang" here very much...)

efeatherly1

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Vipassana
Re: Meditation Practice
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2019, 09:41:07 PM »
It's so helpful to have this forum! I have much to learn and many questions. I printed Matthew's Shamatha/Calm instructions. Is this similar to Anapana? I'm confused on the details to implement a calming at the start of my practice session. Guan Cheng talks about attention to breath and the tip of the nose as the object. Anapana is focus on sensation under the nose and the nostrils. Matthew's instructions are breath and bodily sensations anywhere. I want to start my practice session by calming and centering. I 'd like to train my mind to improve to maintain focus without force (which, after reading Matthew's post, I see I was doing). I'm thinking of implementing Matthew's instructions and then, if I'm not noticing any body sensations elsewhere, focusing on the nose area. Is this making it to complicated meshing the 2? Many Thanks!

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.
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2019, 10:53:27 PM »
It's so helpful to have this forum! I have much to learn and many questions. I printed Matthew's Shamatha/Calm instructions. Is this similar to Anapana?

Anapana means inhalation and exhalation. The full term used in the teachings of the Buddha is Anapanasati - "sati" being "mindfulness", so mindfulness of in and out breathing.

Quote
I'm confused on the details to implement a calming at the start of my practice session. Guan Cheng talks about attention to breath and the tip of the nose as the object. Anapana is focus on sensation under the nose and the nostrils.

The whole nose-meditation thing is based on a mistranslation of the Suttas. The Buddha never taught nose-meditation. "Paramukham" is the mis-translated world:

It works for some people, I know Pa Auk Sayadaw teaches focusing on the nostrils as well, and people seem to be getting into very deep states of samadhi with it. However, the Buddha never taught to focus on just the nostrils, or just the belly. He said to focus on the entire body. I'd say do whatever feels right to you.

many teach this. it comes from an error in translation from Pali, 'Paramukham' meaning to fully face (oneself mindfully) - usually mistranslated to around the face. thus people end up focusing on noses and upper lips and where the air hits, but the Buddha expressly teaches awareness of the entire body as sensations are created by the process of breathing. it's important as it reconnects and calms body and mind.

This is key: the Buddha taught to breathe in mindful of bodily sensations and calming the body, and breathe out mindful of bodily sensations and calming the body. That is the method in the instructions you have printed off:

Quote
Matthew's instructions are breath and bodily sensations anywhere. I want to start my practice session by calming and centering. I 'd like to train my mind to improve to maintain focus without force (which, after reading Matthew's post, I see I was doing).

You don't only need to start the session in this way, it is the basis of good practice: the beginning, the middle, and the end. Shamatha (calm/tranquillity) is developed through mindfulness of/with breathing. It calms the body and mind, de-activates the fight/flight mechanism and activates the rest/digest mechanism through fully engaging the vagus nerve.

In this state of rest/digest the mind follows the body into a calm state. The Amygdala is deactivated and stops telling the mind/brain to look out for problems. Then you are in a position to naturally develop the quality of insight (Vipassana), progressively, and without great effort: enough effort to stay focussed, to develop insight, but not too much effort that is basically a form of forcing quiet on the mind, a form of self-hypnosis. The calming of the body with each in breath and with each out breath is the foundation that leads you down this path.

Quote
I'm thinking of implementing Matthew's instructions and then, if I'm not noticing any body sensations elsewhere, focusing on the nose area. Is this making it to complicated meshing the 2? Many Thanks!

Honestly, nose-meditation is forced. I would drop it. You will notice many sensations all over the body as you develop the qualities of practice: the diaphragm moving, the belly and chest contracting and expanding, muscles in your back, neck, legs, arms, buttocks all slightly contracting and relaxing as the body moves with the in breath and with  the out breath.

I don't wish you to believe me. I merely suggest you try it for a while - and see for yourself (also drop the body scanning too - it is a forced, artificial process).

You will experience a lot of distracted thinking, especially as you are moving from a practice based on too much force, to one based in a more balanced approach. It might be frustrating, but it is all good. It may feel like a step back in your practice at first, but it is not, it is a development that will allow a much fuller flowering of the fruits (Phalla) of practice. The primary two fruits are Shamatha/tranquillity and insight/Vipassana.

The flow of thoughts, liberated from the constrictions of a forced practice, will be annoying, frustrating .... at first, but this is all good: you are starting to see the wild nature of the untamed mind, the tiger that drags you around your daily habituated life.  The more time you spend on the cushion the more you will begin to see where these thoughts arise and fall, the less you will cling to them. Each time you notice you have become lost in thought, have a little laugh at this, then gently return the focus of mind ("mindfulness") back to the sensations created in the body by the breathing process.

It does not end with mindfulness of bodily sensations and calming bodily sensations. The Anapanasati Sutta, and the Maha-Anapanasati Sutta, describe the further investigations undertaken. These can be found on accesstoinsight.org. I suggest reading a few translations, but not yet. First spend a couple of weeks developing the qualities of Shamatha/tranquillity. There is a taste of the progression of the practice quoted below from one translation by Thanisaro Bikkhu below. Worth a read so you have some idea of the direction of travel, but don't overdo it for now. Get the foundation right. I post the below as I know you will have and enquiring mind!

Warmest regards,

Matthew

Quote
Mindfulness of In-&-Out Breathing

"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.' [7] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' [8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

"[9] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' [10] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' [11] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' [12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

"[13] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.' [14] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.' [15] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.' [16] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'

"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit.
The Four Frames of Reference

"And how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination?

 "[1] On whatever occasion a monk breathing in long discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, discerns, 'I am breathing out long'; or breathing in short, discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, discerns, 'I am breathing out short'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&... out sensitive to the entire body'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out calming bodily fabrication': On that occasion the monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this — the in-&-out breath — is classed as a body among bodies, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"[2] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out sensitive to rapture'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out sensitive to pleasure'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out sensitive to mental fabrication'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out calming mental fabrication': On that occasion the monk remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I tell you, monks, that this — careful attention to in-&-out breaths — is classed as a feeling among feelings,[6] which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on feelings in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"[3] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out sensitive to the mind'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out satisfying the mind'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out steadying the mind'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out releasing the mind': On that occasion the monk remains focused on the mind in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. I don't say that there is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing in one of lapsed mindfulness and no alertness, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on the mind in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"[4] On whatever occasion a monk trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on inconstancy'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on dispassion'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on cessation'; trains himself, 'I will breathe in...&...out focusing on relinquishment': On that occasion the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He who sees with discernment the abandoning of greed & distress is one who watches carefully with equanimity, which is why the monk on that occasion remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination.

Source: "Anapanasati Sutta: Mindfulness of Breathing" (MN 118), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.118.than.html
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

mobius

  • Member
    • vipassana
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2019, 01:40:10 AM »
When I first started meditating I didn't know what I was doing and I was trying a bunch of different things and doing some pretty intense meditating. And my sleep at times was impacted badly I would say. Actually everything was impacted badly sort of.

*But* once I learned what to do and what *not* to do; and I developed a good routine and meditation that worked good for me, my problems went away and actually now, looking back over the past year; I'd say I've slept better (on average) than before I started meditating. Mostly I can get to sleep faster and stay asleep most of the night (both not the case always before).

I can go into a more detail if anyone wants. I think I've gathered from my own experience and others that this may be just a necessary part of the process. As with anything new you try in life; it can be rocky at first until you get used to it.
Part of my own problem was I was trying different techniques which just weren't real good for me personally. But things got better once I tried the (and stuck to) the meditation laid out by Matthew on the main page. (Shamatha). I've also watched a lot of videos by people like Eschu Martin and Shinzen Young which answered some of my questions.

"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain

dharma bum

  • Moderator
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2019, 02:28:32 AM »
Another problem with the nose meditation is that my nose is often clogged on account of flus and colds which can sometimes last for weeks. Another downside is that looking for sensations in the nostrils makes me breathe harder and breathing noisily can become an annoying habit. On the positive side, it is good way to calm down quickly when I practise it for a few minutes in the beginning. In general, the Goenka method doesn't work for me outside of retreats.

I think if you have trouble going to sleep, you should try to figure out why you have trouble going to sleep. Are you anxious or worried or over-excited, insufficiently tired, over-stimulated? And then you can find a remedy.
Mostly ignorant

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2019, 10:24:22 AM »
I was lucky in buying one of those self-hypnosis tapes when I was in college many years ago. It was basically a talked-through relaxation session with a blank space for you to insert anything you wanted to work on (giving up tobacco, or being more assertive, or whatever). I never used that but listened to the tape so many times that I can replay it in my head after all these years and use it to fall asleep. Of course it worked as a Shamatha meditation, focusing on relaxing and breathing. Over the years I used this as a starting point to explore meditation and, finally, Buddhism. If anyone has problems with issues arising from other meditation techniques, or just stress from life generally, I would advise them to develop a Shamatha meditation.
“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

efeatherly1

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Vipassana
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2019, 07:11:57 AM »
Matthew, wow, Thank you! I so needed this help. I must say, I'm pleased to stop scanning. When I notice a sensation with Shamaha do I stay with it?-- Place awareness there and then when noticing another, move my awareness to the next sensation? Does aversion/craving come into play? What is your suggested time to spend on the cushion? I'm rather confused by the "taste of progression" quoted, ... I'll work on the foundation for a time. I'm so grateful for the help I'm finding here.

Mobius, it's good to get your experience with sleep and encouragement working to develop meditation. Thank you for the videos from people you found helpful.

dharma bum, The 'why' of sleep problems can be complicated but my understanding has come along after 6 months of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for insomnia and months of ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy). Vipassana jives with the concepts of ACT and had some pull in my choice to dive into it. I believe the right meditation practice will support good rest among many other benefits.

Stillpointdancer, I welcome your sound advice to develop this practice.


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.
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2019, 04:57:50 PM »
...
I think if you have trouble going to sleep, you should try to figure out why you have trouble going to sleep. Are you anxious or worried or over-excited, insufficiently tired, over-stimulated? And then you can find a remedy.

Wise advice.

Quote
On the positive side, it is good way to calm down quickly when I practise it for a few minutes in the beginning

This is useful. It's true that using a single point of focus can kick-start tranquillity, then expanding awareness to the whole body, it can be developed deeply. I use the movement of the diaphragm as an anchor to start sometimes. Usually taking a few deep breaths with the intention of relaxing the mind and body - a conscious letting go - does the job.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

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.
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2019, 05:22:22 PM »
Matthew, wow, Thank you! I so needed this help. I must say, I'm pleased to stop scanning.

You're welcome. I guess if you are pleased to stop scanning you can explore what that is about - see what did/didn't work for you. This kind of examination of the reality of personal experience of practice can help you find your way through the myriad of advice.

Quote
When I notice a sensation with Shamaha do I stay with it?-- Place awareness there and then when noticing another, move my awareness to the next sensation?

Maybe at first just note it and return to breath for a week or so? This will develop stability and remove any habits related to scanning you may have developed. Work on allowing your mindfulness of the body to expand to encompass everything. Then pay closer attention, and 'calm bodily fabrications', which to me is about feeling the tensions of habitual 'holding' in the body, and letting go of them.

Quote
Does aversion/craving come into play?

Those things are involved in pretty much everything when you look closely. For now keep it simple. You will gain insight into aversion and craving progressively based on a foundation of being at ease in your bodymind.

Quote
What is your suggested time to spend on the cushion?

This is a "how long is a piece of string?" question ... you'll need to find for yourself what works. Maybe start with 20 minutes to half an hour. Less than 20 is not ideal as half that time is spent 'getting into the zone'. As you tune in to your own practice needs and the benefits you might want to start sitting longer. Or if you are comfortable, start with an hour ... don't force it too hard; it's OK, even usual perhaps, to experience some aversion to practice, and a clinging to the idea of practice. One doesn't want to quit the cushion too easily, nor force longer sittings than are beneficial.

Quote
I'm rather confused by the "taste of progression" quoted, ... I'll work on the foundation for a time. I'm so grateful for the help I'm finding here.

Yeah .. I kind of quoted that to put you off looking further for a little while :D .... there's no point trying to understand the path until you start to taste the beneficial changes for yourself: calm, insight, equanimity - you have enough info already to get on the mat/cushion and develop these qualities in yourself. Maybe you need to before you can take in more information about where to go next. It's like building a house. You need to know what the plans say, though you don't need to understand everything to lay the foundations right - just enough to lay the foundations right.

M
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 07:08:04 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

efeatherly1

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Vipassana
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2019, 07:50:41 PM »
I did my very first Shamatha session for an hour.  I am going for an hour am and an hour pm. I notice many sensations when opening awareness to the whole body. I then tend to 'look around' to see and note them. Perhaps unlearning scanning.  I'll keep working on mindfulness of the body to encompass everything.
I am noticing changes in my breathing.. shallow, a long in or out breathe, sometimes a sigh. The sigh happens when transitioning awareness back from a thought, or after shallow breathing.
 I have a few more questions....I hope that's ok.
 
I experience body temperature changes while practicing. Is it okay to put my shawl on and off during practice?
What are the four immeasurables off the cushion you mentioned in another place? Should I be doing something else besides this practice?

 I disliked scanning because it seemed to interrupt the session. When a thought deviated my awareness and I returned my awareness, I had to think intellectually about where I was in the scanning process and where I left off. It didn't promote observing, and switched to thinking. It seemed inconsistent.

I can't help looking a bit ahead... After doing this a few weeks, how will I know when I'm ready to move on? When that time comes, can I ask you what it is you suggest I move on to?

Thank you for being here Matthew

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.
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2019, 11:23:07 PM »
Quote
I did my very first Shamatha session for an hour.  I am going for an hour am and an hour pm. I notice many sensations when opening awareness to the whole body. I then tend to 'look around' to see and note them. Perhaps unlearning scanning.  I'll keep working on mindfulness of the body to encompass everything.
I am noticing changes in my breathing.. shallow, a long in or out breathe, sometimes a sigh. The sigh happens when transitioning awareness back from a thought, or after shallow breathing.

That sounds better already - and you are noticing things (you had a concern you might not).

Quote
I experience body temperature changes while practicing. Is it okay to put my shawl on and off during practice?

Unless the changes are leading to a an off-putting level of discomfort I would try and notice them and treat them with equanimity/acceptance. Of course, if you have a medical or other condition leading to such changes don't ignore it. It's OK to move posture/adjust things a bit if there is discomfort (there usually is with sessions of an hour or more), yet it can be a distraction. Again this is one of those things where you will need for yourself to find a balance between things you can maintain equanimity toward and those it is beneficial to make an adjustment for. Don't put yourself into suffering for the sake of it.

Quote
What are the four immeasurables off the cushion you mentioned in another place? Should I be doing something else besides this practice?

They are also called the Brahma-vihara, "divine abodings": loving-kindness "metta"; compassion "karuna"; empathetic joy "mudita"; and, equanimity "upekkha".

They are a practice in and of themselves on the cushion - and in daily life. You can find out more by searching the form and/or the internet. This post has some more information, for example:

https://www.vipassanaforum.net/forum/index.php?topic=161.msg906#msg906

Quote
I disliked scanning because it seemed to interrupt the session. When a thought deviated my awareness and I returned my awareness, I had to think intellectually about where I was in the scanning process and where I left off. It didn't promote observing, and switched to thinking. It seemed inconsistent.

This sounds like something that results from the artificial nature and overemphasis on force in the practice.

Quote
I can't help looking a bit ahead... After doing this a few weeks, how will I know when I'm ready to move on? When that time comes, can I ask you what it is you suggest I move on to?

It is described in the Sutta quoted in my post above. Though for now I would keep on working with what you are for some time. You will start to experience development of tranquillity and insight first. When tranquillity matures and insight has cut some of the rougher edges from your habitual ways, the tranquillity will start to feel blissful, 'rapture', as the above text describes it. That is the next exploration, but don't make a goal from this - let it arise naturally through the development of those other qualities. If you make a goal out of it then you will start introducing thought and force into the practice.

You can always ask questions, of course, though I do dip in and out of the forum at the moment. Also, I am walking the path too, as are many here, so be careful not to place me on a pedestal I do not deserve - it has happened before, and it isn't wholesome - as the text under my name says "Meditation: It's a DIY project" - you need to learn to rely on yourself and your inner compass, as well as perhaps starting to read the Suttas and learning their style. As they are based on an oral tradition they are repetitive by nature (makes oral transmission easier). It takes a bit of practice to learn how to discern the content - and I always recommend reading more than one version, as different translators have different ways of perceiving which naturally colour those translations.

One thing is, whenever you find a translation that talks about nose-meditation, it's poorly translated. The word Paramukham means "putting/setting to the fore". Many believe this means the tip of your nose, as it is the front of your face - it does not. It means making mindfulness the foremost quality of your mind.

For now though, I really do recommend keeping it simple and getting a good bit of practice under your belt with Shamatha - you will find many more discoveries as you keep it up. It is a profound and revealing practice.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 11:29:49 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

efeatherly1

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Vipassana
Re: Please share your experience with sleep impact
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2019, 02:33:00 AM »
I look forward to the discoveries to come as I explore. Blessings

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
6 Replies
5163 Views
Last post October 24, 2009, 10:43:25 PM
by Matthew
1 Replies
2080 Views
Last post August 07, 2010, 03:48:20 PM
by Morning Dew
1 Replies
1289 Views
Last post July 26, 2011, 11:20:55 AM
by Andrew
10 Replies
4083 Views
Last post March 06, 2012, 05:16:38 PM
by rob
2 Replies
1494 Views
Last post March 22, 2013, 07:33:20 PM
by DarkNightOfNoSoul
2 Replies
1004 Views
Last post February 23, 2014, 03:00:07 PM
by Just A Simple Guy
0 Replies
553 Views
Last post February 15, 2016, 05:25:25 AM
by Vivek