Question about distractions as objects of meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
kozureokami
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:45 pm

Question about distractions as objects of meditation

Postby kozureokami » Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:59 pm

I repeatedly come up against a problem with distractions during meditation. My understanding is that I am to observe the distraction in regard to its quality and strength, how it arises and how it decays and disappears. At that point I am to return to my breath. I can understand this if the distraction is, say, a bird twittering or a car horn which literally do decay and disappear. But what if the distraction is ongoing (e.g., sound of rain or people walking around in the room above my head), or is an image or thought. If I am attending to this sort of ongoing distraction--observing it mindfully--why would it decay and disappear at all unless: 1) another distraction takes its place; or 2) I intentionally return to the breath. While I am attending to distractions such as ongoing sounds or mental images/thoughts, they seem to remain there. So what I generally do is simply notice the distraction and intentionally return to the breath. But I feel I am missing something essential here. Yet I cannot see how the distraction decays and disappears unless another takes its place or I willfully return to the breath. If I let another distraction take its place, and then attend to that, I am then just perpetually changing horses in mid-stream and never get back to my breath.

I have no teacher--and don't know who to go to for help with this (and a number of similar issues, such as lower back pain that simply increases in intensity throughout the meditation period and does not fade away).

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5517
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Question about distractions as objects of meditation

Postby Aloka » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:30 pm

Hi kozureokami,

Could you say which particular set of meditation instructions you are following, please ?

When one uses the breath as the meditation object, its usual to notice if the attention has wandered away from the breath, then gently let go of whatever it is and return to the breathing again. So I think you are doing the right thing when you say you are noticing the distraction and intentionally returning to the breath again.

Its ok to sit in a straight-backed chair if you have physical difficulties and get increasingly intense back pain.

This 5 minute video about sitting posture from Ajahn Jayasaro's Buddhist Meditation series on YouTube might be helpful for you.





With kind wishes,

Aloka

User avatar
kirk5a
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Question about distractions as objects of meditation

Postby kirk5a » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:04 pm

Good job, you've made an important observation. Namely, you can choose what to pay attention to. That principle is fundamental to meditation. So then it's a question of what to pay attention to, and for what purpose. Which basically boils down to developing two interrelated qualities: insight (vipassana) and concentration (samadhi). For the full range of details from a true master, I recommend reading what Ajahn Lee taught.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/inmind.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

kozureokami
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Question about distractions as objects of meditation

Postby kozureokami » Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:31 pm


User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Question about distractions as objects of meditation

Postby daverupa » Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:12 pm


kozureokami
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Question about distractions as objects of meditation

Postby kozureokami » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:24 pm



Return to “General Theravāda Meditation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine