Author Topic: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation  (Read 553 times)

sonnald

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Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« on: May 25, 2020, 04:47:37 PM »
Hi all!

I've recently been dabbling with non-directive meditation in line with Shikantaza and Dzogchen practice, but I've now started to wonder whether there is any benefit in practicing a more directive form of meditation like Anapanasati? I suppose I'd like to know from those of you that are more experienced than I, are there any real differences in outcome between directive and non-directive practices, or do they both point towards the same thing? It would be good to know the neurological effects of both approaches too. I've come across some articles before, but nothing seems to centre on practices like Shikantaza and Anapanasati in particular. If anyone could shed any light on these practices, their effects, and perhaps whether one should be practiced before the other or simply on its own, I'd appreciate it very much :)

Many thanks,

Sonny

stillpointdancer

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2020, 10:46:38 AM »
Hi all!

I've recently been dabbling with non-directive meditation in line with Shikantaza and Dzogchen practice, but I've now started to wonder whether there is any benefit in practicing a more directive form of meditation like Anapanasati? I suppose I'd like to know from those of you that are more experienced than I, are there any real differences in outcome between directive and non-directive practices, or do they both point towards the same thing? It would be good to know the neurological effects of both approaches too. I've come across some articles before, but nothing seems to centre on practices like Shikantaza and Anapanasati in particular. If anyone could shed any light on these practices, their effects, and perhaps whether one should be practiced before the other or simply on its own, I'd appreciate it very much :)

Many thanks,

Sonny

There's an interesting study on non-directive meditation here, https://www.businessinsider.com/non-directive-meditations-benefits-brain-2014-6?r=US&IR=T
“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

Siddharth

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2020, 03:36:15 PM »
Hi all!

I've recently been dabbling with non-directive meditation in line with Shikantaza and Dzogchen practice, but I've now started to wonder whether there is any benefit in practicing a more directive form of meditation like Anapanasati? I suppose I'd like to know from those of you that are more experienced than I, are there any real differences in outcome between directive and non-directive practices, or do they both point towards the same thing? It would be good to know the neurological effects of both approaches too. I've come across some articles before, but nothing seems to centre on practices like Shikantaza and Anapanasati in particular. If anyone could shed any light on these practices, their effects, and perhaps whether one should be practiced before the other or simply on its own, I'd appreciate it very much :)

Many thanks,

Sonny

I would just like to point out that, in the ultimate analysis, meditation cannot be seen through a lens of give-and-take (practise to get certain specific benefits). Effects are different for different people, and even different for same people at different times in their lives.  Meditation is a practise to unburden one's self from one's self if you will, and the ego reacts uniquely for everyone.
I would suggest that trying out different techniques to see how they affect you is an exercise you can do, but ultimately, one has to rely on 1 or 2 basic practises and go deeper through them
And what is good, Phædrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

gannuman

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2020, 12:00:47 AM »
I'm using both directive and non-directive approaches, it depends on my state of mind. Sometimes non-directive approaches help me better to calm down, concentrate on the present and let go, as it I don't force my self, but sometimes it is too undirected to stregthen my focus. I think that directive approaches, like anapanasati, are most apropriate to develop strong and flexible concentration that you then can use to deepen any kind of practice. So right now I'm doing a bit of both as it seems I'm progressing without strain nor getting lost. I think that Siddharth was spot on his remark. Meditation is to unburden the ego (nicely put) and you should use what works at this point in your practice. Don't try to conform to a practice that is producing little to negative results, as sometimes happens, instead do what works for your development right now and be happier!
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.

Dhamma

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2020, 02:12:48 AM »
I have read about Dzogchen and Shikantaza (non-directive meditations), and, honestly, I still don't understand them.

You learn to just be with everything internal and external with no intention or point of concentration? You simply be. But what do you do with your thoughts? You let them go as you do in Vipassana meditation? So you let whatever arises to be there without then going down the rabbit hole; but yet don't come back to a concentration point such as the rising and falling of abdomen/following breath at the nostrils/or purposely feeling sensations in body as they arise?

Dzogchen- used in some of the Tibetan schools

Shikantaza - Zen


Thank you in advance for any clarity you can give me. I am doing some research, but still don't feel satisfied with my understanding.
You are already Buddha

gannuman

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2020, 03:34:38 AM »
Dhamma,

You just let whatever arise to arise, whatever is to be and whatever cease to cease. Just remain mindful. Just know. Then let it all go. In zen they say "just siting", it's like the Buddha said: "in the seen just the seen, in the heard just the heard ...", you practice to don't fabricate more things on top of what is naturally arising, being and ceasing, trying to encompass the whole experience or whatever the mind naturally inclines to. You let the mind become still with just what is. In the spirit of "just siting" I end up paying special attention to the body and its posture (remember mindfulness of the 4 postures in the Satipatthana sutta?), it becomes my point of rest, but I don't enforce it that way or try to go back forcefully, it just is that way to me. I think that this kind of practice works best if you already have some practice with more directful practices so you don't get lost. But all in all, the point is just to dwell without a point, without objective, to allow the natural state to come forth and simply be, to surrender to what is (or to God or to the Tao, if you prefer). Surrender may be a big keyword here. Surrender to what is. Let go of it all. No point. No practice. No meditaton. No meditator. Let the mind empty itself out.
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.

Dhamma

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2020, 05:40:41 PM »
Dhamma,

You just let whatever arise to arise, whatever is to be and whatever cease to cease. Just remain mindful. Just know. Then let it all go. In zen they say "just siting", it's like the Buddha said: "in the seen just the seen, in the heard just the heard ...", you practice to don't fabricate more things on top of what is naturally arising, being and ceasing, trying to encompass the whole experience or whatever the mind naturally inclines to. You let the mind become still with just what is. In the spirit of "just siting" I end up paying special attention to the body and its posture (remember mindfulness of the 4 postures in the Satipatthana sutta?), it becomes my point of rest, but I don't enforce it that way or try to go back forcefully, it just is that way to me. I think that this kind of practice works best if you already have some practice with more directful practices so you don't get lost. But all in all, the point is just to dwell without a point, without objective, to allow the natural state to come forth and simply be, to surrender to what is (or to God or to the Tao, if you prefer). Surrender may be a big keyword here. Surrender to what is. Let go of it all. No point. No practice. No meditaton. No meditator. Let the mind empty itself out.

Thank you so much! I think I see more clearly now.

It is different than vipassana in that you don't have  "a point" to come back to (breath at nostrils, rising and falling of abdomen, etc.).  You simply "are" with no direction. You take it all in and let go; there is no goal or place to go. 

I do see the difference now between directive and non-directive meditation - more or less.

Peace and enlightenment, friend. :)
You are already Buddha

Dhamma

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2020, 02:34:35 AM »
I tried a non-directive meditation today (from what a read about Shikantaza): it was interesting in that fact that there wasn't that expectation of going back to the breath, or the rising or falling of the belly.  With, non-directive meditation, I felt more "in the moment with no expectation", and perhaps a bit more relaxed. It was as if was really just being (sort of like I get when I do walking meditation). Now, mind you, that was just my first time, so...

Both meditation techniques have their advantages. Directive meditation techniques make you more aware your mind and how your mind works, or so it seems.  It also emphasizes the impermanence of all phenomena as your thoughts and feelings constantly come and go; also, it makes you see the lack of self in your thoughts and feelings.

Dzogchen, from what I read, is more involved than Shikantaza, and needs to be taught be a teacher. So, I won't be trying that Tibetan meditation style.

I just thought I'd share how my first non-directive meditation session went.

Love and peace to all you. :)
You are already Buddha

Laurent

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2020, 01:16:23 PM »
Hello,

Directive meditations are just way to lead mind to understand itself how to let go and enter those states of concentration without any object. It is very clear that Buddha has taught both, meditation with objects and meditation without it. It is good to remember this to avoid to cling to directive technique, which is not an end in itself.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2020, 01:18:51 PM by Laurent »

NewPathForward

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2020, 11:18:55 PM »
I tried a non-directive meditation today (from what a read about Shikantaza): it was interesting in that fact that there wasn't that expectation of going back to the breath, or the rising or falling of the belly.  With, non-directive meditation, I felt more "in the moment with no expectation", and perhaps a bit more relaxed. It was as if was really just being (sort of like I get when I do walking meditation). Now, mind you, that was just my first time, so...

Both meditation techniques have their advantages. Directive meditation techniques make you more aware your mind and how your mind works, or so it seems.  It also emphasizes the impermanence of all phenomena as your thoughts and feelings constantly come and go; also, it makes you see the lack of self in your thoughts and feelings.

Dzogchen, from what I read, is more involved than Shikantaza, and needs to be taught be a teacher. So, I won't be trying that Tibetan meditation style.

I just thought I'd share how my first non-directive meditation session went.

Love and peace to all you. :)

I also have been experimenting with non-directive.  It is spelling out to me how desperately my mind wishes to cling to something, and that desire grows with time throughout the sit!  The only meditations I have done thus far are directive.

Is Zazen not a non-directive meditation?  From my limited and rudimentary understanding of Zen practice, I believed Zazen was very in-the-moment with the object being awareness itself. 

Dhamma

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Re: Directive vs. Non-directive meditation
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2020, 12:35:28 AM »
Non-directive meditation, I believe, has been a long time coming for me.  I have only done directive meditation before. While directive meditation has opened my mind tremendously about how my thought processes work and the realities of "impermanence and lack of self", it has never fully allowed me to "just be" with all phenomena as it arises with *gentle acceptance*.  This is why I am now focusing only on non-directive meditation. That doesn't mean, however, that I have abandoned directive meditation, which has done wonders for me (I still do "noting" when I am not meditating at times). I have just simply begun a new phase on the Path.

I am interested in learning much more about Dzogchen, Shikantaza, and other non-directive meditation techniques. If it hadn't been for this site, I wouldn't have even known what "non-directive" meditation was.

I am very grateful for this site.

Love to you all!
« Last Edit: June 03, 2020, 01:37:27 AM by Dhamma »
You are already Buddha

 

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