Author Topic: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore  (Read 339 times)

Kate

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When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« on: November 20, 2021, 10:37:01 PM »
Good morning all,

I hope everyone is happy and well.

I am new to to posting and am reaching out to find others who may have had a similar experience.  For 20 yrs I have meditated fairly regularly. I enjoy sitting cross legged and stilling the mind. This I would do daily for 20-60 min.  2 years ago I had a difficult experience and since then I have found that meditation is not having the desired effect i.e. leading to a state of calm repose.  Has anyone experienced this? Or has anyone heard of a spiritual process where the meditator must journey on without meditating?

Keen to read others thoughts.

Peace and blessings,
Kate

Middleway

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Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2021, 02:31:57 AM »
I guess it depends on how one defines what meditation is. If you can take refuge in the Dhamma here now, that is meditation. If you can do that, then you don’t need to formally sit on the cushion and still the mind which is not actually meditation. Stilling the mind is a step towards figuring out on how to take refuge in Dhamma.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Matthew

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Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2021, 02:48:00 AM »
Hi Kate,

Welcome to the forum. Perhaps you could give a little more background into what kind of meditation you have been practicing and where/how you learned the techniques you have used? As Middleway suggests there are many forms and interpretations. Starting with a desire rather than observing what is can be an obstacle in itself.

Kindly,

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

raushan

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Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2021, 01:48:55 PM »
20 years is a failry long period. Buddha achieved the stillness/elightenment in just 7 years. Also the traditional way of meditation sitting 1 hour in daily and remaining time do your chores it will never bring the permanenet peace and the permanenet understanding. It will lead you nowhere.

It is essential that you start to do self-enquiry or self investigation like if there is anxiety or anger where it is coming from, or if your life is not the way you want it why it's not the way you want it. All these questions have the answers but what we typically do is that instead of enquring into it we start to find answers outwards in books or in videos.

It's heavy misconception that Meditation happens in the room for 1 hour. Our whole life has to become meditation. Becuase that is the optimal way to live. To live fully.

I would recommend the works of Jiddu Krishnamurti, Jed Mckenna and Kapil Gupta. You should read the books by them you will get different level of understanding.

As Middleway suggested that formally sitting for meditation isn't absolute requirement.

“The man who knows that he lives in a prison will find a way to break free of it. But the one who believes that he is free while being imprisoned will remain imprisoned forever.”

dharma bum

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Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2021, 04:04:54 PM »
https://youtu.be/jzdYzu2236Q

I am aware that you can get different kinds od advice which can get confusing. I recently came across this teacher and found the idea of meditation being good for nothing to be somewhat liberating. I dont know if this is useful to you or not.
Mostly ignorant

raushan

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Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2021, 05:15:41 PM »
https://youtu.be/jzdYzu2236Q

I am aware that you can get different kinds od advice which can get confusing. I recently came across this teacher and found the idea of meditation being good for nothing to be somewhat liberating. I dont know if this is useful to you or not.

It's a disingenuous statement. Expecting nothing from meditation in order to get somewhere is also a desire in disguise. As who meditate can easily understand that you can't just stop your desire. Any form of suppression will result in more violent form or retaliation from the mind. Desire has to be understood..

As in the case of thought we only let go of thought when we see it's causing the suffering. Similarly we can let go of desire only when we see desire is causing the suffering. Before that it's useless attempt to forcedully remove the desire. It will just go in circles. Mind will stay where it was.
“The man who knows that he lives in a prison will find a way to break free of it. But the one who believes that he is free while being imprisoned will remain imprisoned forever.”

dharma bum

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Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2021, 10:36:29 PM »
Quote
t's a disingenuous statement. Expecting nothing from meditation in order to get somewhere is also a desire in disguise. As who meditate can easily understand that you can't just stop your desire. Any form of suppression will result in more violent form or retaliation from the mind. Desire has to be understood..

For me, meditation can become like another intellectual activity - I try to remember to be mindful, and all those sutras, and all the 'letting go' and noting sensations and all that stuff. It is a bit of a relief to 'just sit'. I think you are not being asked to expect nothing, which itself is some sort of brain activity, like 'letting go'.  'Just sit' seems simple right now to me. I got tired of all the meditation junk in my head.
Mostly ignorant

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • Buddhism is a practical psychology and philosophy, not a religion.
    • If you cling to view, you must know this limits your potential.
Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2021, 08:26:39 AM »
Kate,

You mention an unpleasant experience being something that seemed to trigger the change in quality of your meditation. If this event was related then the answer may lay in dealing with emotions that are perhaps buried.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2021, 10:26:35 AM »

I try to remember to be mindful, and all those sutras, and all the 'letting go' and noting sensations and all that stuff. It is a bit of a relief to 'just sit'. I think you are not being asked to expect nothing, which itself is some sort of brain activity, like 'letting go'.  'Just sit' seems simple right now to me.

Yes you're right. It's a relief to let go multiple ideas we carry when meditating.
“The man who knows that he lives in a prison will find a way to break free of it. But the one who believes that he is free while being imprisoned will remain imprisoned forever.”

Middleway

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    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2021, 10:47:27 AM »
I realized all this confusion comes because of the doubt resulting from thinking mind. Buddha clearly laid out the technique in Anapana Sati Sutta and Satipattana Sutta. These sutras have been more or less passed onto us without any distortions. I simply follow these techniques and regularly listen to Dhamma talks.

I gauge my progress through insights I get and when I understand the deeper /subtler meaning of the sutras. Slowly, the practice / path is becoming the goal for me.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

raushan

  • Member
    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2021, 06:35:34 PM »
I realized all this confusion comes because of the doubt resulting from thinking mind. B


I agree that most of the confusion comes due to the thinking mind.
“The man who knows that he lives in a prison will find a way to break free of it. But the one who believes that he is free while being imprisoned will remain imprisoned forever.”

Alex

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Re: When an experienced meditator can’t seem to meditate anymore
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2021, 06:50:04 PM »
Hi Kate

I wonder how that's been for you, living without meditation after 20 years of regular practice...

Has anyone experienced this?

I've had times where I wasn't able to meditate (= avoided the practice), weeks or even months in a row. I'd say addiction and being afraid to look in the mirror and really feel myself was the main factors. Those years I mainly practiced vipassana (noting technique).
I'm also thinking of a dhamma-friend who had to stop meditating for a few months because he got stuck in a forced focus when meditating. It was after a concentration retreat, and he forcefully tried to get back to the place of quiet he had experienced. It was difficult for him to see what was happening. I don't remember exactly, but I think he took a month or two off meditation, and then started with relaxing body scan before being able to do his usual meditation again (± 'calm abiding').
I'm thinking of another story, but I'm it's not mine to share.
I guess it's common to encounter obstacles, hindrances like restlesness, emotions like grief, or other and sometimes it can be fruitful to take a step back and work with the obstacle off the cushion. Sometimes maybe not.

2 years ago I had a difficult experience and since then I have found that meditation is not having the desired effect i.e. leading to a state of calm repose.

I'm with Matthew on this one. You seem to suggest a clear relationship between an unpleasant (meditation?) experience and the quality of your meditation ever since.
My experience is that we always have to work with what's present, there's no bypassing, whether it is in meditation or in other forms of practice or simply in life. Maybe you've noticed that whatever is keeping you away from meditation is also popping up elsewhere?

Or has anyone heard of a spiritual process where the meditator must journey on without meditating?

In all cases of people taking a break from meditation after years of serious practice that I know of, it was temporary. I can't imagine you going through life without being able to meditate.  :'( Maybe try to figure out where you got stuck? If you need help, you can share some more about this experience and its impact on the quality of your meditation here, or look for a meditation teacher, experienced meditator or therapist acquainted with meditation, whatever feels suitable or is available...

Kindly
Alex

 

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