What should be the right attitude towards 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.

What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby redmaverick » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:18 am

Hi all,

I researched about ADHD and learned that meditation helps in controlling the symptoms of ADHD.

I took my first 10 day retreat in 2009. After the course the awareness of sensations around the mouth and nostrils did not persist while I tried meditating a few times. I gave up meditating.

In 2010 I gave it another shot. I took a 10 day course (serving). I could get the awareness of breath and sensations at will, even after the retreat. I did not practice regularly.

In 2011 I took yet another 10 course serving. This strengthened my practice but again, I did not practice meditation regularly.

In 2013, due to difficulties at work and also my addiction to watching a lot of adult videos online and feeling out of control, I started meditating regularly. The past couple of weeks I started meditating 2 hours per day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. The great thing is that because of regular meditation I feel as if I have an invisible armor of solid gold around myself and that nothing external could disturb or perturb me. I could stay balanced and cool even in the middle of outer turmoil. And the best thing is that I did not watch even a single adult video online. This was the clearest sign that meditation works and helps me a lot.

But I also feel like I am walking on a tight rope. The moment I stop regular meditation, I will go back to my old ways. This has been a great struggle for me. Honestly, I am not meditating for liberation. I am worldly. I used to have deep spiritual inclinations when I was a kid growing up. The real reason I feel I am meditating is because I want to overcome my ADHD. Because if I don't meditate, my life will spiral out of control.

I do not look forward towards my morning and evening 1 hour sitting. I have to really struggle with my mind in order to sit for meditation. Once I sit, however, I meditate well and the effects after meditation are also good for the next 24 hours.

My question is this. Do you look forward towards your meditation sitting? Right now my mind is very reluctant to meditate and it does not have a natural inclination towards meditation. Maybe my motivation to meditate is flawed? What should be the right attitude towards meditation?
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:18 am

I have been doing it for about 20 years on and off. Sometimes i look forward to it, sometimes not. Sometimes i dont want to do it, and i do it anyway. I have been doing it pretty regularly for about the last 5 years or so 30-45 minutes a day at least and it seems that as time goes on i look forward to it more and more. Sometimes i actually crave it. I know it keeps me sane.
In a way i think of it as a part of a health regimen, i know i will be happier and everyone around me will be happier if i keep it up, so i do. Kind of like brushing my teeth :)
Keep up the good work :)
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Ben » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:47 am

redmaverick wrote:Hi all,

I researched about ADHD and learned that meditation helps in controlling the symptoms of ADHD.

I took my first 10 day retreat in 2009. After the course the awareness of sensations around the mouth and nostrils did not persist while I tried meditating a few times. I gave up meditating.

In 2010 I gave it another shot. I took a 10 day course (serving). I could get the awareness of breath and sensations at will, even after the retreat. I did not practice regularly.

In 2011 I took yet another 10 course serving. This strengthened my practice but again, I did not practice meditation regularly.

In 2013, due to difficulties at work and also my addiction to watching a lot of adult videos online and feeling out of control, I started meditating regularly. The past couple of weeks I started meditating 2 hours per day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. The great thing is that because of regular meditation I feel as if I have an invisible armor of solid gold around myself and that nothing external could disturb or perturb me. I could stay balanced and cool even in the middle of outer turmoil. And the best thing is that I did not watch even a single adult video online. This was the clearest sign that meditation works and helps me a lot.

But I also feel like I am walking on a tight rope. The moment I stop regular meditation, I will go back to my old ways. This has been a great struggle for me. Honestly, I am not meditating for liberation. I am worldly. I used to have deep spiritual inclinations when I was a kid growing up. The real reason I feel I am meditating is because I want to overcome my ADHD. Because if I don't meditate, my life will spiral out of control.

I do not look forward towards my morning and evening 1 hour sitting. I have to really struggle with my mind in order to sit for meditation. Once I sit, however, I meditate well and the effects after meditation are also good for the next 24 hours.

My question is this. Do you look forward towards your meditation sitting? Right now my mind is very reluctant to meditate and it does not have a natural inclination towards meditation. Maybe my motivation to meditate is flawed? What should be the right attitude towards meditation?


No, I wouldn't look at it that way. You have motivation to meditate - and it appears to be working - you're meditating regularly.
I used to experience the same 'tight-rope' feeling as well. After a while, I just relaxed a bit and meditated for its own sake without expecting anything, and certainly nothing 'special'. Sometimes meditation is an enjoyable experience, sometimes it is deeply painful and sometimes it is ordinary, sleepy, and boring. But the aim of vipassana meditation is to merely observe whatever arises.
In time, you will find that your motivation will change and you will begin to bear the fruits of your efforts.
kind regards,

Ben
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

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sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby redmaverick » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:35 pm

Thanks for the replies, Ben and m0rl0ck.

I have a 3 more questions.

a) I usually sleep for 7 hours. Is it ok to reduce sleep to 4-5 hours per night when you are meditating for 2 hours a day? What if one meditates most of the night instead of sleeping? Does meditation compensate sleep?

b) Regarding full body scanning. What is the correct way to do this? Sometimes I go from top to bottom for 30 mins and remaining 30 mins I do top to bottom and bottom to top. Sometimes I remember that we can scan inside the body also and try that too. Should I have one fixed method for body scanning or should it be adaptive?

c) In everyday activities, should we do anapana or vipassana? That is, should I do body scanning while at work (whenever I get the time) or just maintain awareness of breath around nostrils and mouth?
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Benjamin » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:05 am

redmaverick wrote:Thanks for the replies, Ben and m0rl0ck.

I have a 3 more questions.

a) I usually sleep for 7 hours. Is it ok to reduce sleep to 4-5 hours per night when you are meditating for 2 hours a day? What if one meditates most of the night instead of sleeping? Does meditation compensate sleep?

b) Regarding full body scanning. What is the correct way to do this? Sometimes I go from top to bottom for 30 mins and remaining 30 mins I do top to bottom and bottom to top. Sometimes I remember that we can scan inside the body also and try that too. Should I have one fixed method for body scanning or should it be adaptive?

c) In everyday activities, should we do anapana or vipassana? That is, should I do body scanning while at work (whenever I get the time) or just maintain awareness of breath around nostrils and mouth?


a) In my experience, if you are meditating 2 hours a day, and finding that your meditation makes your waking hours go by much smoother, then sleeping less is not usually a problem at all. However, if when your meditation ends you find yourself unable to keep the meditative mindset for the rest of your day, cutting down on sleep may be tough. It seems like you are more in the first group though, so try it and see how it goes for you.

b) I don't do body scanning in my meditation, but rather try and keep a sense of full body awareness - I think Ben or any other member familiar with Goenka-style retreats could give you a good answer here.

c) It depends on who you talk to. Thanissaro Bhikku would tell you to try and stay with the breath every moment of the day, while a Bhikkhu in the Mahasi tradition may tell you to stick to noting (generally considered a "Vipassana" practice). Ultimately, you should try out several for at least a week each, and see what works best for your own practice.


Metta,

Benjamin
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Weakfocus » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:09 am

redmaverick wrote:I do not look forward towards my morning and evening 1 hour sitting. I have to really struggle with my mind in order to sit for meditation. Once I sit, however, I meditate well and the effects after meditation are also good for the next 24 hours.


I started meditating around August 15th (just 20 minutes sittings, twice daily, which I have gradually increased to 50 minutes), and my initial experience has been exactly the same as yours. A part of mind rebels and does not want to sit (I'd much rather browse websites), but you have to reason with yourself that meditation is good for you in long term and sit anyway. In the first few weeks I used to pace around the room like a caged animal before I could finally settle down enough to sit and meditate. And as you say, once you get past the initial hesitation and anxiety the sitting is not so difficult.

Anyway, my experience is that with regular daily meditation I do not have to fight the mind as much as used to when I first started. I am not yet at a stage where I look forward or jump eagerly to sitting, but the amount of resistance I have to overcome is dramatically reducing. This month I find sitting for 45-50 minutes far easier than sitting for 25-30 minutes in my second month of daily meditation. Progress!

So do not get disheartened and keep striving. If 60 minute sittings are too arduous or painful (and this is what is making it a struggle to sit regularly), you can start by meditating for a shorter period and then gradually increase the sitting duration month-by-month as your confidence increases and the resistance fades. The most important thing is to sit daily and be regular. That's what I am trying to do myself and so far it seems to be working for me. Keep striving and things will get better for you, too. :-)
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:18 pm

redmaverick wrote: The past couple of weeks I started meditating 2 hours per day.


That's quite a heavy commitment. It takes time to establish a regular sitting practice, so maybe do something more manageable for a while?
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Dec 02, 2013 2:22 pm

redmaverick wrote:Hi all,

I researched about ADHD and learned that meditation helps in controlling the symptoms of ADHD.

I took my first 10 day retreat in 2009. After the course the awareness of sensations around the mouth and nostrils did not persist while I tried meditating a few times. I gave up meditating.

In 2010 I gave it another shot. I took a 10 day course (serving). I could get the awareness of breath and sensations at will, even after the retreat. I did not practice regularly.

In 2011 I took yet another 10 course serving. This strengthened my practice but again, I did not practice meditation regularly.

In 2013, due to difficulties at work and also my addiction to watching a lot of adult videos online and feeling out of control, I started meditating regularly. The past couple of weeks I started meditating 2 hours per day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. The great thing is that because of regular meditation I feel as if I have an invisible armor of solid gold around myself and that nothing external could disturb or perturb me. I could stay balanced and cool even in the middle of outer turmoil. And the best thing is that I did not watch even a single adult video online. This was the clearest sign that meditation works and helps me a lot.

But I also feel like I am walking on a tight rope. The moment I stop regular meditation, I will go back to my old ways. This has been a great struggle for me. Honestly, I am not meditating for liberation. I am worldly. I used to have deep spiritual inclinations when I was a kid growing up. The real reason I feel I am meditating is because I want to overcome my ADHD. Because if I don't meditate, my life will spiral out of control.

I do not look forward towards my morning and evening 1 hour sitting. I have to really struggle with my mind in order to sit for meditation. Once I sit, however, I meditate well and the effects after meditation are also good for the next 24 hours.

My question is this. Do you look forward towards your meditation sitting? Right now my mind is very reluctant to meditate and it does not have a natural inclination towards meditation. Maybe my motivation to meditate is flawed? What should be the right attitude towards meditation?


I wouldn't worry with the intention, for now. Your present motivation is to be able to live a normal and happier life, without the troubles of ADHD. That's a wholesome motivation. Is it pure? No. But I don't think anybody has a completely pure intention when they practice, even if they practice for the attainment of nirvana. Unless you have completely cut off craving, it will permeate all your actions. So don't feel guilty because you don't have a perfectly pure motivation. Just do your meditation. By doing it, you'll probably develop other, more wholesome motivations. I would say that it's generaly how it works for everybody.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Babadhari » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:06 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
redmaverick wrote: The past couple of weeks I started meditating 2 hours per day.


That's quite a heavy commitment. It takes time to establish a regular sitting practice, so maybe do something more manageable for a while?


i've read that it takes up to 6 months for a practice to become firmly established as part of one's daily routine so persevere friend with strong determination and best of luck

kitz
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Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Pondera » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:12 am

You can search for other ways to release sexual tension. And also the addiction to this arena of self-stimulation stems, IMO, from the way Westerners were raised - specifically with regards to desensitization and a back-wards attitude towards stimulation.

If the normal income of sensual perception fails to start physical release of sexual impulses - ie. tension in the sexual organs and manufacture sites - then an over whelming urge to self stimulate will likely arise.

IMO, the failure of tension release or - rather - a back up of tension (sexual) is an outcome of two things. 1) we desire "the best" stimuli. Ie. certain stuff won't "do the trick". 2) rather than allowing normal outside stimuli to regulate and have an impact on our bodies functions, we assert control over what we deem "satisfying". We are "narcissistic".

Regular meditation should follow some form of restraint. In the first place, the approach to stimuli should be straightened out. Perceptive organs should be receptive to stimuli. And the approach to stimuli should be that sounds, smells, sights, odors and tastes should adequately release build ups of tension in the body. When that has been accomplished some regular, non-destructive form of sexual release might result. This would negate the need to self stimulate.

And secondly, we should realize that our growth has been surrounded by outrageous, over stimulating sights, and sounds - from media ultimately. The sense of smell and taste have been subsumed by addiction to the other senses. It has also inverted the reality of how sense stimuli normally affect the body. We have assumed the acquisition of sense. This is a pathology of the mind and body.

Conscious effort must be exerted to allow the senses of smell and taste - the organs of smell and taste to relax. The deficit of normal stimulation in these senses is part of the reason modern men are so bent out of shape with regards to healthy release of sexual tension.

I am an extreme narcissist. I'll admit that. I need help taking that mind-set down piece by piece. And I would appreciate any insights on how to do just that. But as a self admitted narcissist, this is my take on the issue of "tongue wagging". I hope it is of some insight and some assistance. Best of all things to you my friend.

- P.
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:16 am

Pondera wrote:You can search for other ways to release sexual tension. And also the addiction to this arena of self-stimulation stems, IMO, from the way Westerners were raised - specifically with regards to desensitization and a back-wards attitude towards stimulation.

If the normal income of sensual perception fails to start physical release of sexual impulses - ie. tension in the sexual organs and manufacture sites - then an over whelming urge to self stimulate will likely arise.

IMO, the failure of tension release or - rather - a back up of tension (sexual) is an outcome of two things. 1) we desire "the best" stimuli. Ie. certain stuff won't "do the trick". 2) rather than allowing normal outside stimuli to regulate and have an impact on our bodies functions, we assert control over what we deem "satisfying". We are "narcissistic".

Regular meditation should follow some form of restraint. In the first place, the approach to stimuli should be straightened out. Perceptive organs should be receptive to stimuli. And the approach to stimuli should be that sounds, smells, sights, odors and tastes should adequately release build ups of tension in the body. When that has been accomplished some regular, non-destructive form of sexual release might result. This would negate the need to self stimulate.

And secondly, we should realize that our growth has been surrounded by outrageous, over stimulating sights, and sounds - from media ultimately. The sense of smell and taste have been subsumed by addiction to the other senses. It has also inverted the reality of how sense stimuli normally affect the body. We have assumed the acquisition of sense. This is a pathology of the mind and body.

Conscious effort must be exerted to allow the senses of smell and taste - the organs of smell and taste to relax. The deficit of normal stimulation in these senses is part of the reason modern men are so bent out of shape with regards to healthy release of sexual tension.

I am an extreme narcissist. I'll admit that. I need help taking that mind-set down piece by piece. And I would appreciate any insights on how to do just that. But as a self admitted narcissist, this is my take on the issue of "tongue wagging". I hope it is of some insight and some assistance. Best of all things to you my friend.

- P.


If you mean you want advice on how to deal with narcisism, I might offer some of my thoughts. If that's the case, can you create a new topic?
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:25 am

kitztack wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
redmaverick wrote: The past couple of weeks I started meditating 2 hours per day.


That's quite a heavy commitment. It takes time to establish a regular sitting practice, so maybe do something more manageable for a while?


i've read that it takes up to 6 months for a practice to become firmly established as part of one's daily routine so persevere friend with strong determination and best of luck


I think it's a bit like deciding to get physically fit and deciding to run 10 miles a day - then getting physically exhausted after a week! So it's probably best to start with a much shorter distance, something manageable, and then build up slowly.
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby redmaverick » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:17 pm

Hi all,

Thank you for taking the time to reply and give your input. Much appreciated! I have trouble replying back quickly due to my severe procrastinating tendencies. So, sorry for the late reply.

Like many of you predicted, it was difficult trying to sit 2 hours per day right from the start. 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening.
My practice did break down a while ago and I was not able to resume it consistently since.

I joined the insightimer group on iPhone for "Dhamma Wheel Challenge" group.
My target is to hit around 4 hours of meditation per week now. This is totally doable for me. This way, even if I skip a day or two, I will not get dejected and give up on daily practice completely.

Regarding sexual tension, I find that when I meditate regularly, I suddenly get such control over my mind that there is simply no tension. I also find resistance to mundane tasks decrease a lot. Like cleaning dishes or cleaning my apt or doing paperwork. The benefits of meditation in my case are usually immediate.
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Re: What should be the right attitude towards meditation?

Postby manas » Sun Dec 29, 2013 5:28 am

redmaverick wrote:My question is this. Do you look forward towards your meditation sitting? Right now my mind is very reluctant to meditate and it does not have a natural inclination towards meditation. Maybe my motivation to meditate is flawed? What should be the right attitude towards meditation?


Hi red,

I don't do meditation because I want to, I do it because it is right. Specifically, because I care about myself and about my present and future happiness. That motivation is what usually gets me to sit down. But simultaneously, I think it is important to be creative, and find ways to make it a calm, pleasant and even interesting experience. We don't want to be having to force ourselves forever.

So, I often still have to talk myself into doing it. But over time, it does become more and more of a habit, so instead of having to convince myself, it's getting to be just part of a routine. You just do it, just like you brush your teeth every day.

kind regards,
manas.
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