Author Topic: Seeking Advice  (Read 3983 times)

newbie

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Seeking Advice
« on: June 25, 2010, 12:32:19 AM »
Hello all,

I have recently been intrigued by the idea of meditation. There is a specific part of my life and existence that I think mediation might be able to help with, but I am hoping for some advice from experts on this. It is:

I think a lot. I'm quite an intellectual person (I feel like that sounds arrogant but I don't mean it to be a positive or negative thing!), and it's in my nature to constantly analyse every aspect of life. Because I think so much and at quite an intense level, I often have an internal monologue in my head and I often struggle to 'turn off' this internal monologue. Sometimes I struggle to concentrate fully on the 'outside world' (e.g. watching a film, socialising with friends), because I am too focused on and aware of my conscious thoughts. In fact, even if I don't have any particular conscious thought, I am simply too aware of my consciousness. Unsurprisingly, this can make me quite a self-conscious person at times, in the most literal sense of the word. I can feel detached from the world around me because I'm so attached to the world inside me!

Although I enjoy thinking deeply and analytically about things and wouldn't want to lose that part of my self, it would also be nice to be able to occasionally switch off (or at least tone down) my internal thoughts and consciousness, and be able to focus more on the 'outside world' and be less aware of myself and my 'inner world'. So far the only thing that I find helps me in this is getting drunk, so I'm now looking for a healthier alternative!

Meditation seems to fit the bill in that some forms stress trying to clear the mind, but there also seems to be a focus on 'finding your inner self' which is pretty much the opposite of what I want to achieve! I'm also a bit daunted by all the different branches of meditation. It strikes me that this forum itself relates to just a particular branch, but it seemed like the best forum I could find via Google and so I thought I'd try my luck here.

I would really appreciate any advice that anyone can offer me as to whether meditation, and particularly a specific form or branch, could help me to achieve what I'm after.

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2010, 08:52:52 AM »
Hi newbie  :) and welcome aborad!

Quote
Because I think so much and at quite an intense level, I often have an internal monologue in my head and I often struggle to 'turn off' this internal monologue.

Join the club  ;D we all have this bit in common  ;D

Quote
Meditation seems to fit the bill in that some forms stress trying to clear the mind, but there also seems to be a focus on 'finding your inner self' which is pretty much the opposite of what I want to achieve! I'm also a bit daunted by all the different branches of meditation.

I too went all over the web in search and even did diferent meditation aproaches until I understud that one is to simply watch "one self" without much fuss and complicated visualisations etc ...
Shamatha is the way to relax the body which in turn calms the mind and once calm the stress hormones stop from being formed giving space to serotonin and dopamine to take place and calmness kicks in giving space to insight. Plain and simple (or is it?)

Yes, meditation is about clearing the mind but not working on that particular part  :D  one can not clear the mind intelectualy but actualy via doing nothing but watching the thoughts come and go by seeing the impermanence of the one we call "I". The "I" is living it's own life without our control. We can not control this ego beastie since the control only gives it more energy and therefore prolongs its "life".

"Finding your inner self" is a New Age concept and I would advice running away from it  ;D LOL no do not run but try not to get confused with all that talking to angels and spirit guides non-sense  :D
Inner-Self is always there, all one has to do is sit silently with your self and there the show will start ... ego monkey (inner slef) is jumping all around the place not listening to me telling him to stay calm ... hm ... what to do with this darn monkey I wonder  :D  I thought to become a monkey coach LOL

Many meditation branches in deed! Most of them are build on fabrications (visualisation, mantra, channeling) giving our ego self planty of new interesting toys to toy with and drag us around while in play mood.

I don't mind the "other" type of meditations but first comes first! One can not posibly gain anything from visualisation before calming the ego mind first. And that is the cruel truth of it!

Besides Shamatha I do practice another thing called Ki-breathing but only if I feel less motivated to sit in Shamatha so to keep me up and running (not to stop with meditation) but once on track I am back to Shamatha-Vipassana.
I aslo practice Qigong daily before my Shamatha practice. Qigong is known as the standing-moving meditation.

I hope this helps a bit until others chime in :-)

Once again welcome!

Remain relaxed

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: Seeking Advice
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2010, 12:03:08 PM »
Morning Dew has given an excellent summary of the position you find yourself in.

If you want to know how to "do" meditation it is simple:

1) find somewhere quiet
2) sit on a firm base using cushions or whatever it takes so you sit with an upright back not supported by anything but your back muscles
3) breathe in paying attention to the sensations in your body and calming your body, breathe out paying attention to the sensations in your body and calming your body
4) when thoughts arise let them wash over you like the waves rolling up on a beach and let them slide back into the sea
5) do not follow trains of thought - always return attention to the sensations of your whole body as you breath
6) you will fail to achieve 5) - do not give yourself a hard time, when you notice you are thinking peacefully return attention to body sensations but do not try and force silence on your mind - let that emerge - as it will, naturally
7) do not judge or criticise your thoughts or your meditation - this is just ego bullshit
8) do this every day for at least half an hour. you spend that much time on physical hygiene so spend at least as much on this method of mental hygiene
9) do not cling to anything, nor reject anything ..
10) just "be" your body breathing


Welcome to the forums and welcome to being a meditator.

Warmly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 12:05:12 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~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: Seeking Advice
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2010, 12:06:31 PM »
Oh - and don't fall for your intellect telling you it's more complicated than this and you must read a lot of books. It isn't.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2010, 01:02:59 PM »
Oh - and don't fall for your intellect telling you it's more complicated than this and you must read a lot of books. It isn't.

Ha ha lol so true  :D

Crystal Palace

  • Member
  • "Move on Bhikkus, Move On" - Buddha
    • Thai Forest Tradition
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2010, 03:57:26 PM »
Morning Dew has given an excellent summary of the position you find yourself in.

If you want to know how to "do" meditation it is simple:

1) find somewhere quiet
2) sit on a firm base using cushions or whatever it takes so you sit with an upright back not supported by anything but your back muscles
3) breathe in paying attention to the sensations in your body and calming your body, breathe out paying attention to the sensations in your body and calming your body
4) when thoughts arise let them wash over you like the waves rolling up on a beach and let them slide back into the sea
5) do not follow trains of thought - always return attention to the sensations of your whole body as you breath
6) you will fail to achieve 5) - do not give yourself a hard time, when you notice you are thinking peacefully return attention to body sensations but do not try and force silence on your mind - let that emerge - as it will, naturally
7) do not judge or criticise your thoughts or your meditation - this is just ego bullshit
8) do this every day for at least half an hour. you spend that much time on physical hygiene so spend at least as much on this method of mental hygiene
9) do not cling to anything, nor reject anything ..
10) just "be" your body breathing


Welcome to the forums and welcome to being a meditator.

Warmly,

Matthew

Quote

Oh - and don't fall for your intellect telling you it's more complicated than this and you must read a lot of books. It isn't.


Infact if you find even Matthew's 10 point instruction complicated, here's an even simpler set:

When you sit just let things be. Resist nothing. Cling to nothing. Be aware of the present moment.

Warmly,
In the Dhamma,
Crystal P
"Abstain from unwholesome actions,
Perform wholesome actions,
Purify your mind"

Buddha

Slider

  • Guest
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2010, 10:28:59 AM »
Quote
Although I enjoy thinking deeply and analytically about things and wouldn't want to lose that part of my self, it would also be nice to be able to occasionally switch off (or at least tone down) my internal thoughts and consciousness, and be able to focus more on the 'outside world' and be less aware of myself and my 'inner world'. So far the only thing that I find helps me in this is getting drunk, so I'm now looking for a healthier alternative!

A word of caution: If that's your motive, then I would like to inform you that this kind of meditation (shamatha-vipassana), the instructions of practicing which were elaborately given by Matthew (TIB), aims not at reducing but at increasing your awareness of the 'inner world'. Moreover, it takes a very long time and rigorous and (very importantly) regular practice to achieve a state in which you can control your thought process at will. And in almost all cases, people experience an increase in stress and even an increase in the amount of negative thoughts in the initial stages of their practice; though these thoughts eventually, as you advance on the path, subside.

You must also note that shamatha meditation is only the first step or a preparation to practice vipassana- the meditation taught by the Buddha for attaining complete liberation- and what you intend to achieve is not its 'goal'. But I'm not dissuading you to tread on this path (In fact, I encourage you to explore more); I'm only warning you that your goals and those of the technique are not at all congruent.

Slider

  • Guest
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2010, 10:32:07 AM »
And if you tread this path long enough in search for your 'inner self', you'll figure that there's no such thing as a 'self'.

newbie

  • Guest
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2010, 11:14:56 AM »
Thank you everyone for your informative and interesting responses.

I think that perhaps meditation is not what I need in order to achieve what I'm looking for. There does seem to be a focus on an increased sense of awareness of self and a detachment from the world around you, which is pretty much the opposite of what I'm looking to attain. Though I do still like idea of the physical & mental relaxation side of meditation. Perhaps I could combine meditation with activities that tend to force your attention away from thoughts and self-awareness and towards the world around you, e.g. sport & physical activity, playing musical instruments etc.

Thanks again, though I would still be interested to hear people's thoughts on what I've written in this post, if you have any. 

Morning Dew

  • Guest
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2010, 03:17:11 PM »
Meditation is not detaching away from the world it is about seeing the world as it actualy Is :)

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: Seeking Advice
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2010, 06:05:38 PM »
I think a lot. I'm quite an intellectual person (I feel like that sounds arrogant but I don't mean it to be a positive or negative thing!), and it's in my nature to constantly analyse every aspect of life. Because I think so much and at quite an intense level, I often have an internal monologue in my head and I often struggle to 'turn off' this internal monologue. Sometimes I struggle to concentrate fully on the 'outside world' (e.g. watching a film, socialising with friends), because I am too focused on and aware of my conscious thoughts. In fact, even if I don't have any particular conscious thought, I am simply too aware of my consciousness. Unsurprisingly, this can make me quite a self-conscious person at times, in the most literal sense of the word. I can feel detached from the world around me because I'm so attached to the world inside me!

Thank you everyone for your informative and interesting responses.

I think that perhaps meditation is not what I need in order to achieve what I'm looking for. There does seem to be a focus on an increased sense of awareness of self and a detachment from the world around you, which is pretty much the opposite of what I'm looking to attain.

You are quite mistaken here.

1) In meditation practice you pay attention to the body in the initial stages and this quiets the mind, stops the internal dialogue and leads to less intellectualising - and thereby a greater direct connection to your own body and to the external world.

2) Your mind is in overdrive. The instructions outlined above if followed with discipline and care will stop this. You will actually start to feel alive in your body not just your mind. You have already talked yourself out of achieving this though which is quite a common response. Your ego would have been highly challenged by this if you actually did it - and you are very invested in the idea of yourself as an intellectual so your ego will be very clever in it's defences.

You can stay stuck in suffering or choose to move away from it. No one can make that choice for you nor can they do the work.

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

newbie

  • Guest
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2010, 08:51:50 PM »
Thanks again for the replies, you make some interesting points Matthew. I don't agree with your theory as to why I felt that meditation might not be what I needed - I felt / feel that way because of genuine concerns that the focus is still on the self (albeit the body rather than the mind) as opposed to the world outside of the self. But you have persuaded me that it is at least worth a try.

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: Seeking Advice
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2010, 09:56:16 PM »
The focus is on reality.; "Self" does not really exist - it is a figment of your imagination - a habit.

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

Vivek

  • Moderator
  • Staff
    • Advaita & U Ba Khin's tradition
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2010, 06:41:00 AM »
Quote
I don't agree with your theory as to why I felt that meditation might not be what I needed..
IMO, any further intellectual discussion on this would be of no avail to you. The best thing would be is to commit yourself to the practice and see the results for yourself.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Crystal Palace

  • Member
  • "Move on Bhikkus, Move On" - Buddha
    • Thai Forest Tradition
Re: Seeking Advice
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2010, 06:54:30 AM »
Quote
I don't agree with your theory as to why I felt that meditation might not be what I needed..
IMO, any further intellectual discussion on this would be of no avail to you. The best thing would be is to commit yourself to the practice and see the results for yourself.


Im inclined to agree.

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

Buddha

 

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