Author Topic: Some advise needed  (Read 963 times)

Offline Alesis

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Some advise needed
« on: February 26, 2016, 01:06:18 am »
Hi everyone, Im new here and hope to come back often to contribute.  Many forums I have happened across aren't so busy so depends how active this one is I guess.

Today I have some questions about my practice that I hope some more experienced practitioners might be able to answer.   Firstly here is a run down on my experience.   I have meditated everyday for approx 5 years for average of an hour but sometimes I might do 1.5 to 2 hours.  I have only attended one 8 day retreat in this time.  I have attended sanghas occasionally.    I have read lots and listen to various podcasts from organisations such as Against the stream and DhammapunxNYC.   I think what I have been doing is annapanasati and vipassana practice.     

Usually I will sit and follow the sensation of my breath at my abdomen.  If something arises I usually note it such as thinking, itching, sadness, twitching, etc.  If my mind wanders a lot I will note rising and falling of the breath.  Usually once I recognise a thought it immediately disappears. Never have I been aware of a thought continuing once recognised.  Is that the normal experience?  Also I rarely have any emotions arise during my sit but occasionally I do and so I will try to name it and accept its presence and watch it for a while before returning to breath.  I do however have very difficult emotions in my day to day life but find it hard to recognise what Im feeling.

Recently somebody told me that I shouldn't be noting and that noting is only for beginners because it can become a habit and its a fabrication!   Since they told me this I tried to stop but it is indeed a habit and now I find during meditation that I am trying to stop the noting and instead I am now worrying that Im noting and then I am noting the worrying! i.e. worrying, worrying
So is this true that I should not be doing it and what harm can it really do if it helps me to notice and be aware of what is going on internally for me? 
They also told me to try dropping the mindfulness of breath and try awareness of the present moment.  I tried this but found the concept confusing. I dont know how to just sit there without breath as an anchor and just be aware of the present??  isn't that what Im doing already? Not sure.
They told me that I must be careful of not suppressing because then I might just be doing a mild self hypnosis but as far as Im aware I am trying to notice whatever arises and then gently bringing attention back to breath so doesn't seem to be suppressing however I read that  during concentration practice one is supposed to pay no attention to arising phenomena at all.  Im unclear about the difference to paying no attention and suppressing?

If I have time I will also do a metta phrases practice but find it very difficult because I dont really feel any sense of genuine loving kindness but just feels like rote phrases and going through the motions.

Occasionally I do a body scan but not the Goenka style as I have not trained like that but more a scan of whole parts such as the toes and foot then the lower leg , then upper leg etc. 
I usually have a lot of difficulty feeling anything in my body except for my abdomen rising and falling and the occasional twitch or itch.   I could scan my whole body and barely be aware of anything.  I dont know why.  Maybe I have some block? How much sensation is supposed to be there?    When I went on retreat one night I was meditating and I felt an insane amount of sensation going on over my whole body.  It took me by surprise.  There was stabbing, tingling, whirring, twitching, burning, tingling.  But since then not much at all. I know how important it is to be mindful of the body but it just doesn't seem to be happening for me.

Also Im wondering when should I be doing mindfulness of breath, metta and body scan?  Altogether or at separate times.  It seems like a quite a lot to do in one day.

« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 02:05:53 am by Alesis »

Offline al3x3r

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Some advise needed
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2016, 12:45:21 am »
I think there are different types of meditations.
So for example in "Visudhimagga" there are instructions for breath, death and repulsiveness. As far as Loving-kindness(belongs to "Brahmavihara") there are instructions too. I think that in loving-kindness youre supposed to say "may all beings be happy" etc. Even if you dont feel it at first. It develops in time I guess.
Then the sensation mindfulness: I think the point of mindfulness is to observe sensations but if you dont notice anything sometimes thats okay. Then you might notice that there are no feelings present. So it all belongs to mindfulness. If youre tired and cant focus well you might notice it acceptingly. Then you youre thoughts are all over the place and observe acceptingly that.
I could be wrong :) may you be happy and achieve enlightenment
(You dont have to do all meditations at once do which ones you want. I do only brahmavihara and noting short in- or outbreath and long in- or outbreath.)


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Offline serendipity

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Re: Some advise needed
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2016, 07:14:49 pm »
The purpose of meditation is to bring out the inner true self.

Believe it or not, there is an inner self that is not represented by the 6 sense-organs.

The technic is similar to one-point focus, with an important difference.
Focus on nothing else but on "alertness" only

It's not that being alert to anything
But to stay alert to alertness itself.

The state of alertness is the menifestation of the inner-self.
By focusing on alertness itself, we can bring out inner self.
by "bring out", I mean that inner-self will jump out of you, literally


When we are in thought, we lose alertness.
When we are alert, we are not in thought.
Thought and alertness do not coexist







« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 07:16:59 pm by serendipity »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Some advise needed
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2016, 10:20:52 am »
The purpose of meditation is to bring out the inner true self.

No, that is Hinduism, not Buddhism.

Thought and alertness do not coexist

Not correct.  If one is alert, one is mindful of a thought arising.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Some advise needed
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2016, 10:40:09 am »
Hi everyone, Im new here and hope to come back often to contribute.  Many forums I have happened across aren't so busy so depends how active this one is I guess.

Today I have some questions about my practice that I hope some more experienced practitioners might be able to answer.   Firstly here is a run down on my experience.   I have meditated everyday for approx 5 years for average of an hour but sometimes I might do 1.5 to 2 hours.  I have only attended one 8 day retreat in this time.  I have attended sanghas occasionally.    I have read lots and listen to various podcasts from organisations such as Against the stream and DhammapunxNYC.   I think what I have been doing is annapanasati and vipassana practice.     

Usually I will sit and follow the sensation of my breath at my abdomen.  If something arises I usually note it such as thinking, itching, sadness, twitching, etc.  If my mind wanders a lot I will note rising and falling of the breath.  Usually once I recognise a thought it immediately disappears. Never have I been aware of a thought continuing once recognised.  Is that the normal experience?  Also I rarely have any emotions arise during my sit but occasionally I do and so I will try to name it and accept its presence and watch it for a while before returning to breath.  I do however have very difficult emotions in my day to day life but find it hard to recognise what Im feeling.

Recently somebody told me that I shouldn't be noting and that noting is only for beginners because it can become a habit and its a fabrication!   Since they told me this I tried to stop but it is indeed a habit and now I find during meditation that I am trying to stop the noting and instead I am now worrying that Im noting and then I am noting the worrying! i.e. worrying, worrying
So is this true that I should not be doing it and what harm can it really do if it helps me to notice and be aware of what is going on internally for me? 
They also told me to try dropping the mindfulness of breath and try awareness of the present moment.  I tried this but found the concept confusing. I dont know how to just sit there without breath as an anchor and just be aware of the present??  isn't that what Im doing already? Not sure.
They told me that I must be careful of not suppressing because then I might just be doing a mild self hypnosis but as far as Im aware I am trying to notice whatever arises and then gently bringing attention back to breath so doesn't seem to be suppressing however I read that  during concentration practice one is supposed to pay no attention to arising phenomena at all.  Im unclear about the difference to paying no attention and suppressing?

If I have time I will also do a metta phrases practice but find it very difficult because I dont really feel any sense of genuine loving kindness but just feels like rote phrases and going through the motions.

Occasionally I do a body scan but not the Goenka style as I have not trained like that but more a scan of whole parts such as the toes and foot then the lower leg , then upper leg etc. 
I usually have a lot of difficulty feeling anything in my body except for my abdomen rising and falling and the occasional twitch or itch.   I could scan my whole body and barely be aware of anything.  I dont know why.  Maybe I have some block? How much sensation is supposed to be there?    When I went on retreat one night I was meditating and I felt an insane amount of sensation going on over my whole body.  It took me by surprise.  There was stabbing, tingling, whirring, twitching, burning, tingling.  But since then not much at all. I know how important it is to be mindful of the body but it just doesn't seem to be happening for me.

Also Im wondering when should I be doing mindfulness of breath, metta and body scan?  Altogether or at separate times.  It seems like a quite a lot to do in one day.

It sounds like you have a solid meditation practice, but it probably needs some fine tuning. 

Noting is fine, not just a beginners practice, though it needs to be used selectively.

There are different methods for meditation, but they generally begin with a period of calming the mind.  Paying attention to the sensation of breathing is a popular method, the idea is to observe other stuff but not get involved in it, keep returning attention gently to the breath. Once the mind is calm you can then broaden out attention to include other bodily sensations, and then thoughts and feelings, anything that arises at the sense-gates.  In other words first focus on developing some samatha ( calm/stillness ), then move on to developing some vipassana ( clarity/insight ).  It's all mindfulness, the difference is how tightly you focus the attention.  I assume you're familiar with the four foundations of mindfulness in the Satipatthana Sutta?
I wouldn't "try" dropping the breath, this may well happen naturally at some stage, which is fine.

Off the cushion it's a good practice to re-establish mindfulness of the body at regular intervals throughout the day, this has a grounding effect and pulls you back into the present.  Many people use the breath, though I prefer to use the bodily sensation of pressure caused by weight/gravity.

If you can attend a sangha regularly I am sure you would find it helpful, it can be quite tough trying to go it alone. Sometimes it's really good to know that everyone else is dealing with the same questions and challenges!

Hope some of that is helpful

 


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