Author Topic: Beginner to Meditation Questions  (Read 6871 times)

Coasting

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Beginner to Meditation Questions
« on: August 18, 2009, 04:25:26 PM »
Hi,

A couple of months ago I started doing mindfulness meditation after reading clear instructions on the internet. I have trouble simply following my breath and not controlling it, so I have just been doing the hand movement exercises. They have worked well for me so far and I can clearly see the benefits, not only straight afterwards but in my day-to-day life (I dwell on stuff much less, I live more in the moment which breaks up bad moods or depressions, and I have much better general focus).

However, I am wondering if what I am doing is enough or if there is a way I could get more out of meditation? Should I join a class? Go to a retreat? Are there better exercises?

Any help from the experts here would be greatly appreciated.
 
:)





pamojjam

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2009, 10:12:43 AM »
Welcome coasting,

could you provide a link to your 'hand movement' exercises. Though I practiced vipassana for a long time, I know and practice bringing awareness to movements of the body only as an adjunct and more as aid to regular sitting practice.

When you say you have difficulty following the breath without controling it (no doubt about the breath being a very subtle object of meditation); rather couldn't it be that the same happens with movements, but not being aware of this tendency due to its more grosser nature?

kind regards..

Matthew

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2009, 11:03:02 AM »
Coasting,

I have worked with hand movement exercises in the past and they can be very helpful in the way you have described. They form a part of the Therevada tradition.

To move your practice forward I would recommend you read "Mindfulness in Plain English" by Henepola Gunaratara which is available as a real book (worth buying) or an online book or downloadable pdf (linked in the library and resources section).

Gunaratana's book does what it says on the can: In very plain English, to avoid possible confusion, he explains very well how mindfulness meditation works, what it is and what it is not, how to do it and the obstacles you might meet and ways of moving past them.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 11:03:59 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Coasting

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2009, 12:40:09 PM »
Thanks for your replies.  :)

Hi pamojjam,

The link is http://www.vipassanadhura.com/howto.htm#p and it is exercise number 3.

I think the watching the breath and the hand motions are fundamentally different because while breathing is involuntary, moving your hand about in the way described is not. You can't choose to simply watch the hand movement, you have to act and follow your movement.

Maybe I am getting confused, but I don't see how the same thing can be happening when the two meditations are different. When I follow my breath, I worry about controlling it and whether I am doing so, get distracted and find it very hard to simply just watch, whereas with the hand motion I know I am supposed to be making the movement, so I just follow my movements and don't get nearly as distracted.

Thanks for the advice The Irreverent Buddhist, I will read the book you have suggested.

Best,

William




pamojjam

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2009, 01:21:28 PM »
.. When I follow my breath, I worry about controlling it and whether I am doing so, get distracted and find it very hard to simply just watch,..

Vipassana meditation may reveal many unpleasant things about our nature. One is, that we think we are more or less in control of what we think, feel, want, act,...

So you're just encountered the unpleasant fact that you aren't that much in control of yourself - and even though you wanted just to follow the natural breath with attention, something doesn't allows that now and seems to make you control your breath instead.

Having encountered the same difficulty I can only recomment: Remain aware of the movements of the breath and the movement of the worrys.. and with persistance in relaxing into whatever presents itself, you'll be doing fine.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2009, 10:38:10 AM »
The main thing is .. "do it" - and don't think about what happens too much afterwards.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

joy

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2009, 01:28:54 PM »
I sit every night before dinner for arround 40 to 60 min. Also try  to sit (not to sleep) at morning on the bed arround 30-40 min. Now a days I wake up in night every hour and so and feel like to do sitting practice. Am I getting addicted to meditation? Is it normal or am I rushing to much?

Joydip
Joy

Renze

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2009, 01:36:06 PM »
I don't think Vipassana meditation is addictive. What do you crave when you get up at night that makes you want to meditate? For me meditation is almost like physical exercise: I don't like doing it but I know I must do it everyday to stay in shape :)

joy

  • Member
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2009, 01:57:13 PM »
You mean craving leads to addiction. I feel no craving in particuler at that moment, may be not able to realize it(craving). I just feel I need to sit more and more and learn how to be present at present moment. I have always doubt whether I am doing it right or not. I have no teacher. My inspirations are books of masters and forums like this. I get lot of inspirations from TIB  also.

Joydip
Joy

ravalbapu

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2009, 03:17:52 PM »
My pranam and salutations to joydip,
keep doing it as long and as and when you can!
After all the day has only 24 hours. Remain aware and attentive as long as you can.

But do not feel bad when you are not able to. That also is part of the meditation. Knowing when you are not is the beginning of wisdom.
May you attain Nibbana,
My love and metta
raval

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2009, 07:50:28 PM »
Awareness of awareness is where you start to untie the knots with deep roots Joydip :) Try doing the morning sit on your bed or bedroom floor after you shower. That will overcome all sleepiness: Wake, stretch every limb and your back, rise from bed, shower, sit.

It is good to know my efforts to inspire are paying off. Thank you for the feedback.

In the Dhamma,

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

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2009, 07:59:15 PM »
I don't think Vipassana meditation is addictive. What do you crave when you get up at night that makes you want to meditate? For me meditation is almost like physical exercise: I don't like doing it but I know I must do it everyday to stay in shape :)

Renze,

For many the sitting practice is active suppression of thoughts and thinking. This contradicts the fundamental practice of fabricating nothing. One is fabricating silence. For a busy mind this forced silence can be addictive. This is one example. Another would be a person wracked with guilt who feels better about themselves when they sit.

Personally meditation has been many things to me. Now it is the route to my personal salvation. That goal is manifested as a Boddhisattva vow through the Mahayana tradition, though my practice is Therevadan, and is driven by an egotistic desire and non-egotistic knowing that this is the greatest path to the greatest good for all.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
« Last Edit: August 28, 2009, 08:00:37 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Coasting

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 06:21:33 PM »
Hi,

I have started following my breath rather than using the hand techniques and I do find it easier to focus like this. However I am still a bit worried that I am controlling my breath rather than simply watching it.

Is there any way of knowing for sure when you are watching and when you are controlling?

Best,

William

joy

  • Member
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2009, 07:57:34 AM »
I don't think Vipassana meditation is addictive. What do you crave when you get up at night that makes you want to meditate? For me meditation is almost like physical exercise: I don't like doing it but I know I must do it everyday to stay in shape :)

Renze,

For many the sitting practice is active suppression of thoughts and thinking. This contradicts the fundamental practice of fabricating nothing. One is fabricating silence. For a busy mind this forced silence can be addictive. This is one example. Another would be a person wracked with guilt who feels better about themselves when they sit.

Personally meditation has been many things to me. Now it is the route to my personal salvation. That goal is manifested as a Boddhisattva vow through the Mahayana tradition, though my practice is Therevadan, and is driven by an egotistic desire and non-egotistic knowing that this is the greatest path to the greatest good for all.

In the Dhamma,
 

Matthew
Is not 'Personal salvation' is a desire? And leads to fabrication?
What is 'egotistic desire' and 'non-egotistic knowing'?
How can one label some practice  as 'the greatest path to the greatest good for all'? A sutble Ego!
Joy

Matthew

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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2009, 08:31:38 AM »
Yes I am still working with ego.

In the Dhamma,

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

joy

  • Member
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2009, 09:14:12 AM »
I didn't mean that, please forgive my ignorance, . In fact i wanted to clear my doubts only. I wanted a discussion, of course, my approach was not correct.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 09:52:14 AM by joydip_ppl »
Joy

Matthew

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2009, 09:49:26 AM »
Please forgive my ignorance, i didn't mean that. In fact i wanted to clear my doubts only. My approach was not correct.

Joydip

No offence taken. You asked a question I did not answer.

Egotistic desire: When we become meditators, depending on the seriousness of our intent, we are making a very strange decision: We are making an egotistic decision to rid ourselves of ego.

Non-egotistic knowing: experiential, beyond language, some would say "intuitional" perhaps.

In the Dhamma,

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

joy

  • Member
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2009, 10:12:58 AM »
Dear Matthew

Now you have to forgive my English! I understand your view now. Also i was certain that you never take any offence. Please give answer even if the question is silly and ego driven. I need to sit more than talking.  Thanks

Joydip
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 10:34:29 AM by joydip_ppl »
Joy

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2009, 11:46:04 AM »
Joydip,

We all need more sitting than talking !

That is why the gentle flow of questions and answers on this website feels right to me. We're not a big community and we don't aim to be, that would lead to busy-ness .... yet we are highly ranked on google - #3 for the search: meditation forum .... #1 for the search: vipassana forum - using the scroogle scraper to avoid personal bias from Google's system.

In the Dhamma,


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

Renze

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    • Ungrounded
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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2009, 08:05:44 AM »
Hi,

I have started following my breath rather than using the hand techniques and I do find it easier to focus like this. However I am still a bit worried that I am controlling my breath rather than simply watching it.

Is there any way of knowing for sure when you are watching and when you are controlling?

Best,

William

Just keep on meditating. As soon as this kind of doubt surfaces, know that it is an equally valuable meditation object as the rising and lowering of the belly.

Coasting

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2009, 01:49:37 AM »
Hi,

I have started following my breath rather than using the hand techniques and I do find it easier to focus like this. However I am still a bit worried that I am controlling my breath rather than simply watching it.

Is there any way of knowing for sure when you are watching and when you are controlling?

Best,

William

Just keep on meditating. As soon as this kind of doubt surfaces, know that it is an equally valuable meditation object as the rising and lowering of the belly.

How would you meditate on the doubt?

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: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2009, 08:30:08 AM »
Hi,

I have started following my breath rather than using the hand techniques and I do find it easier to focus like this. However I am still a bit worried that I am controlling my breath rather than simply watching it.

Is there any way of knowing for sure when you are watching and when you are controlling?

Best,

William

Just keep on meditating. As soon as this kind of doubt surfaces, know that it is an equally valuable meditation object as the rising and lowering of the belly.

How would you meditate on the doubt?

Doubt is just anoher form of thinking so you treat it the same way. Be aware of it without attaching to it. Notice it, see where it comes from and goes to. Don't become it - keep your awareness anchored in the breath.

In the Dhamma,

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

Coasting

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2009, 07:31:56 PM »
Hi,

I have started following my breath rather than using the hand techniques and I do find it easier to focus like this. However I am still a bit worried that I am controlling my breath rather than simply watching it.

Is there any way of knowing for sure when you are watching and when you are controlling?

Best,

William

Just keep on meditating. As soon as this kind of doubt surfaces, know that it is an equally valuable meditation object as the rising and lowering of the belly.

How would you meditate on the doubt?

Doubt is just anoher form of thinking so you treat it the same way. Be aware of it without attaching to it. Notice it, see where it comes from and goes to. Don't become it - keep your awareness anchored in the breath.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew

But if you see where it goes to or where it came from you are following it and not concentrating on the breathing, no? I'm not trying to be pedantic, just don't really understand  :)

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #23 on: September 19, 2009, 09:39:37 PM »
You can keep your awareness on more than one thing at a time after some practice. If you find watching a thought engages you with it and disengages attention from the breath completely then stick to watching the breath and develop a more stable and calm mind before trying to also be aware of thoughts.

In the Dhamma,

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

Coasting

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Re: Beginner to Meditation Questions
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2009, 10:39:55 PM »
Thanks IB.