Author Topic: Awareness of the posture... how?  (Read 636 times)

Offline VitaVoom

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Awareness of the posture... how?
« on: December 18, 2016, 12:23:49 am »
Hi!
My object when meditating is awareness of the rising and falling of the abdomen according to Mahasi Sayadaw's method. For those unfamiliar with the method the aim is to be continuously aware of the object by mental notes, i.e "rising, rising", "falling, falling" and so forth.  As I've been doing this for a while I added another object; the posture. "Sitting" that is. But what am I supposed to note? Is it the the contact with the sitting cushion, the straightness of the spine, the whole body? It really gets at my concentration that I'm not really sure what to focus on. The mind wanders off and I get distracted, or unintentionally get stuck with focusing at the actual words "sitting, sitting", visions of myself sitting or randomly choosing a part of the body that's involved in the sitting.

I would really appreciate a word of advice here. I don't have teacher and I can't find anything specific in the books on the method by Mahasi Sayadaw, Sayadaw U Pandita and Nyanaponika Thera that I have. I suppose the mindfulness/bare awareness practice of other traditions is very much similar so I'll be happy to receive help from anyone with some know-how! 

:namaste:

Offline Dianet

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Re: Awareness of the posture... how?
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2016, 06:07:26 am »
Hi VitaVoom,

It's nice to have you here. I can't offer much help with this from personal experience, but hope you might find this link helpful.

http://www.vipassanadhura.com/howto.htm#

Namaste,

Diane

Offline VitaVoom

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Re: Awareness of the posture... how?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2016, 02:19:39 pm »
This was really helpful, thanks a lot Diane!

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Awareness of the posture... how?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 04:01:56 pm »
Hi, Vitavoom.'

Two points that were empasized in week long mediation course taught by a Bhikkhu and a Bhikkhuni were:  "stability", and "comfort".

I also take yoga classes and find that some of the positions taught for meditation in this class are downright painfull for me.  As a result I have explored various cushions, and postures, and found that the more stable and comfortable I am, the longer I can sit in meditation, which allows a firm foundation for all the rest of it. 

I have received instruction from Tibetans, Zen, and Theravadin teachers.  They all agree that stability and comfort are foundational.

Hope this helps.

_/\_Ron
« Last Edit: December 21, 2016, 06:16:39 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
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But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Awareness of the posture... how?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2016, 09:33:00 am »
Hi VitaVoom,

I think the mental-note-method can get a little tedious after awhile. If you "note" a thought, then the note itself is just another thought. It can get entangling. The point of that method is to adopt a certain outlook of seeing what is right here and now -- to let go of inner dialogue, not prolong it with more thinking.

Ultimately whatever method is adopted should lead to samadhi (clarity) and insights (vipassana), where the method, like a raft upon reaching the other shore, can be abandoned.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Awareness of the posture... how?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2016, 03:54:49 am »
Hi!
My object when meditating is awareness of the rising and falling of the abdomen according to Mahasi Sayadaw's method. For those unfamiliar with the method the aim is to be continuously aware of the object by mental notes, i.e "rising, rising", "falling, falling" and so forth.  As I've been doing this for a while I added another object; the posture. "Sitting" that is. But what am I supposed to note?
I would really appreciate a word of advice here. I don't have teacher and I can't find anything specific in the books on the method by Mahasi Sayadaw, Sayadaw U Pandita and Nyanaponika Thera that I have. I suppose the mindfulness/bare awareness practice of other traditions is very much similar so I'll be happy to receive help from anyone with some know-how! 

:namaste:
There is another thing to consider when talking of posture, that it is a two-way process. It can be a point of concentration like you say, but most often it is the way that posture affects your concentration where its importance lies. Change your posture slightly and you change the quality of your concentration. For some reason, the hands are really important, so you might like to try some different mudra positions to see how they change concentration.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Awareness of the posture... how?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2016, 11:48:14 am »
Hi!
My object when meditating is awareness of the rising and falling of the abdomen according to Mahasi Sayadaw's method. For those unfamiliar with the method the aim is to be continuously aware of the object by mental notes, i.e "rising, rising", "falling, falling" and so forth.  As I've been doing this for a while I added another object; the posture. "Sitting" that is. But what am I supposed to note? Is it the the contact with the sitting cushion, the straightness of the spine, the whole body? It really gets at my concentration that I'm not really sure what to focus on. The mind wanders off and I get distracted, or unintentionally get stuck with focusing at the actual words "sitting, sitting", visions of myself sitting or randomly choosing a part of the body that's involved in the sitting.

I would really appreciate a word of advice here. I don't have teacher and I can't find anything specific in the books on the method by Mahasi Sayadaw, Sayadaw U Pandita and Nyanaponika Thera that I have. I suppose the mindfulness/bare awareness practice of other traditions is very much similar so I'll be happy to receive help from anyone with some know-how! 

:namaste:

I'll share from more of a Tibetan perspective.  Tibetan doesn't have a spefic word for "meditation".  The word they use is "Gom". It means "to become familiar with".  So, all Tibetan meditation practice derives for that mindset whether it be Shamata, Vipassyana, Tonglen or whatever.

That said.  Awarness is a kind of focus.  To focus on something like "sitting", would be a bit too general, from my experience.  Go a little deeper.  Bring awareness to the sensations of sitting, such as the pressure of your weight against your cushion, the coolness of the breath in your nostrils as you inhale, or the warmth as you exhale, the sound of the wind outside your window, or anything else that may enter your awareness.  Note it, and let it pass and return to the object of your meditation.  Don't fight it, but don't embrace it, either.  Let it arise and disolve naturally.  Rest.

You can do the same with emotions and thought patterns, too.  It all leads to familiarty with the workings of mind, the "nature" of it if you will.  This will help as you go on to practice things like Metta, Tonglen, Mantra, Sadhana and so on.


Offline Solodris

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Re: Awareness of the posture... how?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 12:02:30 am »
I developed a meditative technique where I focus on creating a streaming field of energy that locks my posture, so that no matter how uncomfortable I am, I can still maintain posture effortlessly regardless of what meditation practice I choose to perform. This is how I discovered it:

I practiced Samatha/renunciation to strengthen the unification of mind, when I suddenly noticed, that if I focused and concentrated on letting go, a thousand times more intense than usual; This radiant energy automatically straightened my back and locked my body in place. You just have to find the mindful energy that radiates from your mind when you practice letting go, and magnify it as intensely as you can, then two things happen: You are overwhelmed with tranquility, and the body locks in place, effortlessly.

To me, this is now second nature. You can do it too.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Awareness of the posture... how?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 04:51:30 am »
I developed a meditative technique where I focus on creating a streaming field of energy that locks my posture, so that no matter how uncomfortable I am, I can still maintain posture effortlessly regardless of what meditation practice I choose to perform. This is how I discovered it:

I practiced Samatha/renunciation to strengthen the unification of mind, when I suddenly noticed, that if I focused and concentrated on letting go, a thousand times more intense than usual; This radiant energy automatically straightened my back and locked my body in place. You just have to find the mindful energy that radiates from your mind when you practice letting go, and magnify it as intensely as you can, then two things happen: You are overwhelmed with tranquility, and the body locks in place, effortlessly.

To me, this is now second nature. You can do it too.

It's good advice, but unfortunately doesn't work for me. I have a problem with my neck, so if I leave it set in one position too long, it seizes up and am in agony for two or three days afterwards. Darn this getting old!
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

 


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