Author Topic: On the path ... but what for?  (Read 3003 times)

Hulk Hoagie

  • Guest
On the path ... but what for?
« on: February 23, 2010, 10:28:55 AM »
I’m sincerely at a point where I feel that ceasing meditative practice may be for the best.  Why do I spend literally hours day after day sitting on my cushion?  My mind is no quieter now than before I began practicing.  I’m no less identified with my thoughts and no more identified with pure consciousness.  I still believe very much in nearly everything the Buddha taught, but could it not be that most of us just can’t realize what he realized?  Egoic though it may be, I think it is right and fair to ask how many more hundreds of hours need to be dedicated to this practice before even the smallest signs of progress are felt. 

I’ve tried everything from breath awareness to ‘Who am I?’ practice to simply watching my thoughts without engaging them.  None of it brings me a millimeter closer to the non-dual and I’m beginning to feel that I’m throwing a lot of time into the garbage bin.

I really don’t mean to weigh the forum down with negativity and cynicism.  I’m grateful for everyone’s energy here.  But I really hope someone has a bit of advice for this situation (I know I’m not the only one who’s been here).  If there is any real hope that meditative practice can bring me back to the one then I don’t want to stop practicing.  But for now I just feel like I’m on a fool’s errand.

Ah yes and in advance I realize TIB will likely advise a focus on other aspects of the dharma than meditation alone.  This is surely good advice as well and I'm absolutely open to anything specific along these lines.

Thanks all!

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: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 12:08:14 PM »
On the path ... but for what?

I'll answer that question.

You are on the path for the changes that will emerge in your day to day existence as a result of being on the path:

- Greater connectedness to your own body and mind
- Compassion - for yourself and others
- Patience
- Generosity
- Calm
- Equanimity
- Wisdom

These fruits come from right meditation and .. yes you guessed it Hulk .. applying the other aspects of the path.

Mindfulness is developed on the cushion in meditation practice .. and then it is PUT INTO PRACTICE in real life which is where it matters.

Being in touch with yourself, compassionate, generous, patient, calm, embodying equanimity and wisdom - you will change the world around you by your mere presence. You will come to be a part of the solution ... and stop being so much a part of the problem. But you won't achieve this unless you are prepared to make significant changes off the cushion - changing the things that are unwholesome and doing more wholesome things instead. Your awareness and mindfulness and equanimity need to be brought to bear on your life off the cushion.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

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

soma

  • Guest
Re: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 01:30:13 PM »
Hi Hulk and thank you for asking this question !

Altough I am quite new to the practice of meditation I have been 'on the path' for some years now and I can very much relate to your problem.
I have been looking all over the place for some tradition, school, philosophy or technique that will make me 'understand' but ofcourse there is nothing outside that will do this for you.
I have realized that all this striving is the problem, the striving is the thing that keeps me from understanding, and over and over I keep coming back to the same conclusion, that I have to give it all up, the  very idea of going somewhere, or rather, to realize that there is nowhere to go and that there is no path to walk.
But the paradox is that in order to understand that there is no path to walk you have to walk the path...
So what does it really mean to give up ? It certainly does not mean to go back to living your life the way you did before you entered the path, at least not in my case. To me, giving up is to give up the very idea of beeing on a path and to some extent clean out everything you have learned about what it means to be on the path and to be an absolute beginner to every moment, every second in life. It means to stop trying to become something other than what you are and start beeing what you already are. Some tibetan monk (can't remember his name now) said that, 'there is no way to happiness - happiness itself is the way. There is no way to enlightenment - enlightenment itself is the way'. Well that is almost like a koan, another paradox, but I found it really helpful to think about . So what does it mean to really be what you already are and what does it mean to give up and how does one walk the the path when there is nowhere to go ? I certainly do not have the answer to those questions and rather than answering your questions I find myswelf adding to them.
But something I have found to be true from my own experience is that every crisis you have, personal or spiritual , it is a sure sign of progress on the path. A chanse to tear down rather than to add something else and to start again from the very beginning with fresh eyes.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 01:32:37 PM by soma »

Crystal Palace

  • Member
  • "Move on Bhikkus, Move On" - Buddha
    • Thai Forest Tradition
Re: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 03:08:14 PM »
Hulk Hogie,

Can I ask you how long you have been practising meditation daily whilst maintaing the precepts to the best of your ability, and what is the length of those meditation sessions?

Crystal Palace
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

Hulk Hoagie

  • Guest
Re: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 05:52:05 PM »
Worthwhile question.  I would say my practice became serious about a year ago.  For 2 or 3 months I meditated for an hour a day and ever since have meditated for about 2 hours a day 5/6 days per week.  I did my first week-long sesshin in August and was really surprised how unable to achieve any state of calm I was even during such an intense schedule of practice.  I'm a mentally balanced person so when I say "unable to achieve calm"  I don't mean riddled with neuroses/anxiety.  Rather I mean that I have almost no sense of progress (my mind does not seem to be calmer in meditation now than when I started, though I am able to do it for longer periods of time) and in no way see myself even taking the smallest of step toward transcending the ego.  Limited or slow progress would be fine; it's the sense that I'm just sitting on my cushion wasting my time for 2 + hours every day that is utterly disheartening.

I realize this concern is based in the ego.  Still, I think it's a valid concern.  I am absolutely convinced that I am not a 'self' but am now sincerely questioning whether it is realistic for me to believe that I can overcome the illusion to any degree at all.  It seems a fair question to me.  If this is going nowhere at all then I'd rather dedicate those two hours per day to being a happier self.

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: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2010, 10:34:52 PM »
Hulk,

Please stop talking yourself out of change, concentrate on Shamatha practice on the cushion.

Off the cushion 1) be honest with yourself, 2) examine your habits of mind 3) be aware of your breath and body, 4) work with the five precepts 6) practice the four immeasurables - starting with yourself, then family, then friends, then others, then everyone, then enemies 6) cry if you need to 7) accept that everything will change and grieve and say farewell to all you know 8) When you sit, sit as if you will never rise every time, 9) forgive yourself 10) forgive those who have hurt you.

Warmly,

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

mik1e

  • Guest
Re: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 12:29:26 AM »
1) It seems that you had no experience of deep meditation states in your previous lives. That means that you need guidance from an advanced practitioner who can lead you to such state(s). Reading texts (in books or on the screen) will not provide you such experience, even if these texts are written by very advanced persons. So, my first advise: find somebody whom you can trust and who can guide you either in group or personally. THEN all good advices which you get here begin to work.

2) It seems that you do not know what for is meditation for you. It is clear that you expect something from it, but I am not sure that you formulated these expectation even for yourself. Most of all you finally find out that you expect the meditation to solve all your problems effortlessly. That is, you do not intend to change. And changing the self is very hard and painful work. This is not only your problem -- very few people are really ready to change. So, check yourself honestly, and either forget about "meditation", or take it really seriously.

Best,

Michael.

Hulk Hoagie

  • Guest
Re: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2010, 07:45:43 AM »
thanks all for the advice and encouragement!  not giving up anytime soon and the support went a long way.

Crystal Palace

  • Member
  • "Move on Bhikkus, Move On" - Buddha
    • Thai Forest Tradition
Re: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2010, 09:30:24 PM »
On the path ... but what for? Happiness.

Warmly,
Crystal Palace
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2010, 10:56:10 AM »
J.Krishnamurti from http://www.messagefrommasters.com/Ebooks/Jiddu-Krishnamurti-Books/Choiceless_Awareness.pdf

Quote
The whole thought process, which includes the thinker, has to
come to an end. It is only then that we will find reality. Now, first
of all, in bringing that process to an end, how is it to be done, and
who is to do it? If the thinker does it, the thinker is still the product
of thought. The thinker putting an end to thought is still the
continuity of thought. So, what is the thinker to do? Any exertion
on his part is still the thinking process. I hope I am making myself
clear.
Audience: It may even mean resistance to thinking.
Krishnamurti: Resistance to thinking, putting down all thinking,
is still a form of thinking; therefore the thinker continues, and
therefore he can never find the truth. So, what is one to do? This is
very serious and requires sustained attention. Any effort on the part
of the thinker projects the thinker on a different level. That is a
fact. If the thinker, the experiencer, positively or negatively makes
an effort to understand reality, he is still maintaining the thought
process. So, what is he to do? All that he can do is to realize that
any effort on his part, positively or negatively, is detrimental. He
must see the truth of that and not merely verbally understand it. He
must see that he cannot act, because any action on his part
maintains the actor, gives nourishment to the actor; any effort on
his part, positively or negatively, gives strength to the "I", the
thinker, the experiencer. So all that he can do is not to do anything.
Even to wish positively or negatively is still part of thinking. He
must see the fact that any effort he makes is detrimental to the
discovery of truth. That is the first requirement. If I want to
understand, I must be completely free from prejudice; and I cannot
be in that state when I am making an effort, negatively or
positively. It is extremely hard. It requires a sense of passive
awareness in which there is no effort. It is only then that reality can
project itself.

Remain relaxed  :)

Matsuemon

  • Member
  • Write something about yourself here
    • Buddhism
Re: On the path ... but what for?
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2014, 02:30:29 AM »
Hulk,
You are NOT alone here and this is a forum to discuss meditation, so don't feel bad for posting about something "negative." I guarantee you a ton of other people are wrestling with this, or have in the past. I recently did as well. It seems like just when I'm about to give up, something happens in my meditation to get me motivated again. I've experienced a spontaneous emotional release once, and just last night I had my first somatic memory of some kind, but I had no visual or auditory info to go with it, so it kind of weirded me out. At any rate, just keep at it. This isn't an easy path, but I think a great one.

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
1 Replies
3660 Views
Last post July 15, 2014, 01:46:02 PM
by PimonratC
9 Replies
2951 Views
Last post December 20, 2010, 04:30:30 PM
by kidnovice
18 Replies
6979 Views
Last post September 26, 2011, 08:53:43 AM
by Vivek
25 Replies
7116 Views
Last post May 16, 2011, 11:00:32 AM
by Matthew
12 Replies
4607 Views
Last post July 28, 2011, 09:00:28 AM
by Morning Dew
The Path

Started by Morning Dew Images, Icons, Thankas, Photo's

3 Replies
2124 Views
Last post August 01, 2011, 03:58:36 AM
by Namaste
5 Replies
1400 Views
Last post September 27, 2016, 01:46:53 AM
by Cyath