Author Topic: novice doubts  (Read 4082 times)

novice doubts
« on: August 13, 2010, 07:00:16 AM »
hello everyone !!!!

i m very happy to find a forum for vipassana !!!
will be a great help.
thanks

my name is siddharth (hehe same name as buddha :) )
i finished my first 10 day course 2 months back.
to be honest i actually worked really really hard for for first 6 days of the course and after that i was like i know the technique so why r they making me repeat it again n again. teach something new  n almost stopped meditating. :)
but after comming back i started observing everything. i used to stay on useless thoughts for hours together. hours together panning useless stuff which was sure never to happen. then i realized what i learnt n what i missed. so again m practicing it .

i have few questions that weren't cleared when i was in the course. it has nothing to do with the technique. but still i was wondering if it was normal :)

after vigorous first day of course i was half awake half asleep all night. it was like, i was dreaming and at the same time watching it. my mind was high alert but still sleeping. so basically i was experiencing dreams in a different way. i could actually remember everything from dream even the smallest possible details when i woke up.
so does this happen to everyone? because many i asked who took the course had nothing like this at all.

after second day or so i could actually see these random thoughts arising and changing every second or so. its like a world of my own where something was created every second. it can be a giant dinosaur or a table , its just too random to even stay with it.
these thoughts get amplified if im sleepy or if i smoke pot.

now my questions :)
1) does this happen to everyone?
2) if so whats the difference between this and the chattering mind?
3) i sometimes when bored just enjoy these random images. is it ok? ( not during meditating )
4) during meditation both my mind chattering and these random images have to be ignored n keep comming back to sensations?

Vivek

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 08:10:05 AM »
Hi Siddharth.

Quote
1) does this happen to everyone?
Not necessarily. Just understand that this is normal.
Quote
2) if so whats the difference between this and the chattering mind?
As the name chattering suggests, a lot of languaging takes place. But the former is accompanied by more vivid visualizations etc, even though they don't make much sense.
Quote
3) i sometimes when bored just enjoy these random images. is it ok? ( not during meditating )
Try not to do that during meditating. Other times, be with the knowing that they are all impermanent.
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4) during meditation both my mind chattering and these random images have to be ignored n keep comming back to sensations?
Yes.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

dobe

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 10:11:06 PM »
with increased mindfulness you're likely to remember dreams more.  And if you meditate right before sleeping, you'll likely have a restful sleep.(but you'll sleep lighter and remember dreams more).  I find when I wake up in the middle of the night, I just focus on my breathing and even if I'm feeling restless I go back to sleep fairly easily.  If you're smoking pot thats why you havn't been able to remember your dreams.  I quit pot in order to have lucid dreams better, and now that I'm meditating I don't even feel the urge to start up again.  I'm always relaxed now like I was when I used to smoke, but now I'm much more lucid and my short term memory isnt screwed up.  You'll likely find that 3-4months after consistent practicing, pot isnt so great after all. 


Re: novice doubts
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2010, 12:19:34 PM »
thanks for the help guys. :)

n yah even im not sure now what pot is for anymore.

im relaxed always so it doesnt help in that area.

but it doesnt let me meditate when im high. my mind just resists too much, so its not helping at all. may be il quit off any time soon. 


Inner Peace

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2010, 03:59:23 PM »
The pot is simply giving into a desire.  When you meditate, try to do it clean.  If you notice during your meditation a want to toke up, label it "desire", bring your attention to the sensation in your body for a few moments, then gently bring your attention back to your breath.

Matthew

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2010, 05:45:06 AM »
....
now my questions :)

1) does this happen to everyone?

Something like it is the usual mental backdrop for many. Smoking pot makes it much crappier.

2) if so whats the difference between this and the chattering mind?

It is a manifestation of chattering mind or monkey mind.

3) i sometimes when bored just enjoy these random images. is it ok? ( not during meditating )

Why don't you turn off the excitement and do something useful instead .... meditate. An early aim of practice is to achieve constant mindfulness..

4) during meditation both my mind chattering and these random images have to be ignored n keep comming back to sensations?

During meditation do not follow thoughts nor ignore them. Be AWAKE to them and AWARE of them without BECOMING them.

Concentrate on sensation in the body and calming the body with every in and out breath.

Welcome to the forums, in the Dhamma,

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

Re: novice doubts
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2010, 09:17:57 AM »
Quote
Be AWAKE to them and AWARE of them without BECOMING them.


i really dont get how to do this. either i can keep stopping the chatting mind or let it be..... i have to keep reminding that i am thinking nonsense n come back to sensations..... 

also i have 1 more doubt ,

while i am meditating, i always try to create a visual of my body in my mind n then point out the position where im sensing. i know i must not do that, but i cant stop it, help in this topic plz


be happy :)

Vivek

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2010, 10:43:01 AM »
Quote
while i am meditating, i always try to create a visual of my body in my mind n then point out the position where im sensing. i know i must not do that, but i cant stop it, help in this topic plz
This must have become a habit pattern because of continuous use. You should treat this as any other compulsion that  the mind engages during meditation like chattering etc. Use your mindfulness to catch yourself when you engage in this habit pattern, and gently bring your awareness back to the reality of the moment, to the actual sensations of your body. Again when the imagination springs up, be mindful of it, then gently go back to the actual sensations. The key is to use your awareness to keep on bringing your focus back to the bodily sensations. Do this patiently and persistently.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

kidnovice

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2010, 07:55:22 PM »
Quote
Be AWAKE to them and AWARE of them without BECOMING them.


i really dont get how to do this. either i can keep stopping the chatting mind or let it be..... i have to keep reminding that i am thinking nonsense n come back to sensations.....  

be happy :)


Learning skills to quiet the mind is a valuable practice--I wouldn't give that up entirely, and don't assume there is only one way to do it-- but its also really useful to be able to "let thoughts be" without being carried away them. As TIB put it, be aware without becoming.  In my experience, one way to get the hang of this is to be aware of your thoughts WHILE also focused on something else (like your breath or bodily sensations).

Think about all the things you can do simultaneously. You can chew bubblegum and go for a walk, listen to music while driving your car, or talk to your friend while cooking.  No, that ability to multitask is is not exactly mindfulness in the usual buddhist sense, but its useful. :)  Especially if you want tto be aware of thoughts without being carried away by them.  

So, try it out. Remind yourself that watching bodily sensations (or the breath) can be done even while thoughts are running in the background. They just need to be in the background. Once they are really just in the background (and gradually fading away), you should notice that a part of your awareness knows whats going on with the thoughts. You just aren't caring much about them. And if you wish, you can even try to peek over at a thought from the corner of your eye. (your mind's eye, of course!)


Quote
Be AWAKE to them and AWARE of them without BECOMING them.

while i am meditating, i always try to create a visual of my body in my mind n then point out the position where im sensing.

I wouldn't worry about this. What matters is that you are maintaining awareness of actual bodily sensations (and/or breath). If that "visual" is helping you do that in a focused way, there's no problem. Just know that the visual is something you will eventually want to let go. Its sort of like training wheels. As you become more skilled at sensing bodily sensations, you should find that you no longer need the visual. In fact, there will surely come a time when you find the visual is getting in the way. When that point comes, dropping it should be easy.

with metta,
kn
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 07:58:00 PM by kidnovice »
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Re: novice doubts
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2010, 05:45:16 AM »
Quote
Learning skills to quiet the mind is a valuable practice--I wouldn't give that up entirely, and don't assume there is only one way to do it-- but its also really useful to be able to "let thoughts be" without being carried away them. As TIB put it, be aware without becoming.  In my experience, one way to get the hang of this is to be aware of your thoughts WHILE also focused on something else (like your breath or bodily sensations).

Think about all the things you can do simultaneously. You can chew bubblegum and go for a walk, listen to music while driving your car, or talk to your friend while cooking.  No, that ability to multitask is is not exactly mindfulness in the usual buddhist sense, but its useful. Smiley  Especially if you want tto be aware of thoughts without being carried away by them. 

So, try it out. Remind yourself that watching bodily sensations (or the breath) can be done even while thoughts are running in the background. They just need to be in the background. Once they are really just in the background (and gradually fading away), you should notice that a part of your awareness knows whats going on with the thoughts. You just aren't caring much about them. And if you wish, you can even try to peek over at a thought from the corner of your eye. (your mind's eye, of course!)


at last a clear answer. thanks  ;D

Quote
This must have become a habit pattern because of continuous use. You should treat this as any other compulsion that  the mind engages during meditation like chattering etc. Use your mindfulness to catch yourself when you engage in this habit pattern, and gently bring your awareness back to the reality of the moment, to the actual sensations of your body. Again when the imagination springs up, be mindful of it, then gently go back to the actual sensations. The key is to use your awareness to keep on bringing your focus back to the bodily sensations. Do this patiently and persistently.


well if i try doing that then i get into thoughts n lose concentration. its like the image is helping me in meditation,
it may be because im still a beginner.

mediking

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2010, 06:08:42 PM »
random thoughts are perfectly ok for a beginner and will take some time to eventually clear - I wouldnt worry about this at all.

the more you focus and attempt to remain your focus during the exercise, the stronger you will become over time

Re: novice doubts
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2010, 04:40:03 PM »
k after some practice i think i have done some progress.

i am practicing anapanasati now.
1-2 hrs a day anapana pratice with die hard determination.

 i get random thoughts in vipassana so i practice it like 10 mins or so n try to be aware of sensations whenever i can during daily activities. i thought if i progress in anapana then vipassana can be covered later quicker, since learning to manage thoughts come first and i waste a lot of time in vipassana.

to be frank i lack patience to wait for sensation. 

now i dont lose the awareness of breath for more than half breath.....

i can completely stop thinking and just be aware of breath for like 30 sec..

even the remaining thoughts are like ' look at that sensation' or 'out-breath heat is easy to feel' or 'i like being with my breath not thinking' or something like these.... so they dont disturb much like the old thoughts which took me to different time line.

i realized my thought process is same as anyone else..... and we all belong to the same monster group  :'(

n oi yah its been 2 or 3 years since i stoped looking at sky, now i crave for sunrise n sunset :)


so where am i ?  ;D

Matthew

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2010, 04:44:59 PM »
look at the floor. that's where you are.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Re: novice doubts
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2010, 05:09:18 PM »
lol. i mean in progress. it would be nice if i can get a goal here. ;D

kidnovice

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2010, 06:36:17 PM »
Hey SG,

That's great to hear. Its inspiring to read your post, and see how you are developing. It sounds like you are really approaching your practice in the spirit of "Lets see what works. Lets see how my mind can be trained. Lets see what my mind is like." I think thats a very helpful attitude.

In addition to that, I would suggest you start exploring your deeper intentions behind meditation. Why do you practice? What motivates you? You might even find that some of your intentions are not helpful. See if you can refine your intention to what matters most to you. Then, whenever you sit, remind yourself of why you are doing it. After all, there is no "progress" except with regard to your own intentions.

As you refine your intentions, you will become more clear about your relationship to thoughts, and the role that they play in your practice... This is something which I can tell that you are still trying to figure out.

Personally, I keep my intention pretty straightforward. Deep down, I do have the intention to reach final liberation--a cultivation of unfabricated happiness. But thats not really the intention that I draw on very often. Most of the time, my intention is simply to cultivate a kind and calm awareness that can be sustained in a variety of circumstances.

Since that is my intention, thoughts are only an issue if they prevent me from cultivating my awareness. Some degree of quiet in my mind is essential. Otherwise, my awareness is unstable, colored by every fleeting thought and experience. But as you have noticed, you can also have thoughts passing through your mind that don't destabilize your awareness.

If that happens, you can continue to try to consciously quiet your mind (as you are doing with Anapana at the nose), and see how far it goes.  That can be wonderful... and especially good to do on retreat.

But you can also start bringing your awareness to the body. There are special benefits to doing that, and you don't want to skip that because you think your mind is "never quiet enough." Of course, you have to experiment with what is "quiet enough" and see what works for you. But either way,  turning your awareness to your body, even if you are not finding sensations, can be helpful. In fact, at some point you may find that being aware of your body helps you quiet your mind, just as anapana at the nose does.

With metta,
KN

« Last Edit: November 20, 2010, 06:39:03 PM by kidnovice »
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Re: novice doubts
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2010, 08:56:15 PM »
hi kidnovice,
thanks for a wonderful post

Quote
That's great to hear. Its inspiring to read your post, and see how you are developing. It sounds like you are really approaching your practice in the spirit of "Lets see what works. Lets see how my mind can be trained. Lets see what my mind is like." I think thats a very helpful attitude.

i was more like devastated when i first started..... here i had something in me that i knew all along , i was talking to it, spending all time with it but never asked anything to it , never tried to know it. after observing myself i was observing same evil thought pattern in everyone.
now i understand how tiny insignificant creature i am.
when the ego dies its all fun thats left.

Quote
In addition to that, I would suggest you start exploring your deeper intentions behind meditation. Why do you practice? What motivates you? You might even find that some of your intentions are not helpful. See if you can refine your intention to what matters most to you. Then, whenever you sit, remind yourself of why you are doing it. After all, there is no "progress" except with regard to your own intentions.

i have stopped looking for deeper intentions now, its always bad n i know it. i think even investigating will lead into a though cycle. i know il chose anything only if my ego likes it. until i know how these thoughts come or how we get so involved in them, this problem cannot be solved. so i have kept it aside.

Quote
If that happens, you can continue to try to consciously quiet your mind (as you are doing with Anapana at the nose), and see how far it goes.  That can be wonderful... and especially good to do on retreat.

hey , this is the best part of meditation. i can do all work without much thinking so why think? just be with my breath all the time is like my new way of living.

my question is , when ever there is ego playing games i get dual thoughts , 1 is ego thought and other is non ego thought.
which is me here? its like 2 people talking in my head ,

kidnovice

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2010, 11:28:27 PM »

i have stopped looking for deeper intentions now, its always bad n i know it. i think even investigating will lead into a though cycle. i know il chose anything only if my ego likes it. until i know how these thoughts come or how we get so involved in them, this problem cannot be solved. so i have kept it aside.


There is no bad or good with things like this. There is just what happens in your mind. I'm not suggesting that you face every dark aspect of your psyche right now. Trust your instinct, its probably wise to not look for your deeper intentions right now. It sounds like you already have your intention: to quiet the mind. That's fine. Go with that. Intentions evolve over time.


hey , this is the best part of meditation. i can do all work without much thinking so why think?

I don't know if its the best part, buts a damn good one.  :) So, focus on cultivating that for as long as you need. But be aware of the potential pitfalls (so you can avoid them): some thoughts must be seen before they can be silenced;  and you should be ready for that. Be wary of cultivating an escapist mind that runs from your shadow. Also, focusing exclusively on quieting the mind can make you very "head-centered." Bringing the awareness to other areas of your body can really open things up, expanding your capacity for happiness. Once your mind is sufficiently calm and quiet, don't forget that. In the early years of my practice, a Zen monk told me, "Your awareness of your body matters much more than you realize." I had no clue what he meant, but I eventually saw how right he was.


my question is , when ever there is ego playing games i get dual thoughts , 1 is ego thought and other is non ego thought.
which is me here? ,

Great question! Let me know what you find. 

KN
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Alexanderjohn

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Re: novice doubts
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2010, 07:43:12 AM »
Hello Siddharthgode,

I dropped the goenka technique because I was conceptualising the whole thing far too much. If I had continued I may have got to a point where the concepts faded but my impatience of waiting for some kind of "tangible" insight scared me so I stopped looking for it and started samatha with the mindset of simply being with the breath and happened to bump into what I was looking for. I agree win KN that we don't realise how much awareness of body matters. We are our body, everything we have thought is there due to contact with parts of our body, this was how the ego was formed in the first place.

Quote
my question is , when ever there is ego playing games i get dual thoughts , 1 is ego thought and other is non ego thought.
which is me here? ,

I am still taking baby steps in practice so don't feel you should listen to me by all means, I could be wrong. From my experience what we are consciously choosing to think is always a product of the ego. The buddha taught anatta, not that there is some other hidden or "true" self in us that chooses to start meditating. The more sensible side to our ego sees the necessity to escape from suffering. The less sensible side wants to keep trying to have fun. We are arguing with ourselves. I see it as having a cross over point, eventually the ego stops dragging itself into sati and starts striding with a smile on its face into its own destruction.

No point of getting tangled up in thoughts about these things though, they'll pass, I certainly don't know what I'm talking about  ;)

Metta,
Alex.