"Good/Bad" Sits

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

"Good/Bad" Sits

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:34 pm

So I hear in a lot of Dhamma talks about how just because a session went quickly/seemed easy, doesn't necessarily mean it was "good," and vice versa. In my experience I have found this to be true. However it's lead me to wonder what everyone else considers as a "successful" or "good" session, and if maybe there's some common threads besides the obvious (I was mindful/maintained concentration on my object of meditation ect.)



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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby culaavuso » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:52 pm

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:However it's lead me to wonder what everyone else considers as a "successful" or "good" session


One definition could be that a good session is one that has a lasting and beneficial impact even after the session is over, influencing daily life as well as later sessions on a long term basis.
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:54 pm

A sit can't be good or bad, one's perceptions of it can be. So I guess a bad sit is where one believes one's perceptions about the relative goodness or badness of it.

A good sit is where one expects to do it again sometime soon.
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby daverupa » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:02 pm

A bad sit is daydreaming & papanca.

A good sit is, simply, phenomenal... :tongue:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby seeker242 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:39 pm

A good sit is one that you actually do, all the rest are bad. :smile:
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Viscid » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:43 pm

I've found the sits which I am enthusiastically engaged in thinking a line of thinking go by quite fast-- which is, not being focused, bad sitting. The sits where the mind wanders from thought to thought go by mercilessly slow. Thinking about 'how much time has gone by/is left' also leads to a slowing of the passage of time.

A sit can be considered 'good' when it's on-task and/or pleasant. What exactly the task is is irrelevant, as long as your full attention is set upon it for most of the session.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:53 pm

daverupa wrote:
A good sit is, simply, phenomenal... :tongue:


Good pun, Dave.
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Weakfocus » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:58 pm

All sittings are good sittings. Some are better than others, for sure.

I am making it a habit to judge the quality of sittings by the extent of my mindfulness and equanimity.

Viscid wrote:I've found the sits which I am enthusiastically engaged in thinking a line of thinking go by quite fast-- which is, not being focused, bad sitting. The sits where the mind wanders from thought to thought go by mercilessly slow. Thinking about 'how much time has gone by/is left' also leads to a slowing of the passage of time.

Likewise.
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:09 am

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:However it's lead me to wonder what everyone else considers as a "successful" or "good" session, and if maybe there's some common threads besides the obvious (I was mindful/maintained concentration on my object of meditation ect.)



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-observe the aggregates and six sense spheres to gather/update information regarding stress and its cause.
-experimenting with different antidotes for hindrances and defilements.
-practice self restrain to burn up some unwholesome mental volition.
-ponder/recollect the dhamma or any skillful qualities to refresh wholesome memories.
-getting into deep absorption.

In my daily practice regardless of sitting or non-sitting, i can afford to allow myself to be content if at least one of the objectives above is hit. The bad sit is when they are all un-tick.
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Sati1 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:51 am

Has anybody had the experience of going through long periods (months) during which the practice gets less focused and the level of absorption diminishes, compared with previous times? I used to experience intense bliss in almost every session and have barely experienced any for the last 2-3 months, even though I continue to be diligent with daily practice. Has anybody else experienced similar fluctuations in sitting performance? Sometimes I worry that I have "screwed something up" about the method.
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"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Ben » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:50 am

Sati,
You haven't screwed anything up. You are making the classic error of associating pleasant sensations or experiences in meditation as 'progress' and unpleasant experiences in meditation as 'bad' or non-productive. Try not to be attached or develop craving for particular experiences as attachment and craving for experiences is a definite barrier to progress on the path.
Kind regards,
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Spiny Norman » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:19 am

Ben wrote: You haven't screwed anything up. You are making the classic error of associating pleasant sensations or experiences in meditation as 'progress' and unpleasant experiences in meditation as 'bad' or non-productive.


I don't disagree, but would observe that if meditation is perceived as continually difficult or unpleasant then this is likely to undermine one's motivation to continue.
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Sati1 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:25 am

Dear Ben and Spiny Norman,

Thank you for the encouragement. I will do as you suggest, learn to let go of craving for particular experiences, and continue with the practice. I guess the mind has complicated dynamics of its own, and rather than try to understand all of them and "fix" them, one will do best to just keep practicing.

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----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby fig tree » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:18 am

I think of sits where I make headway on the five hindrances as good. Sometimes I have some agitation that dissipates, then followed by torpor. The torpor can be difficult to deal with. Sometimes I feel impatient but experience the impatience fade.

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Re: "Good/Bad" Sits

Postby Ananda26 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:19 pm

PsychedelicSunSet wrote:So I hear in a lot of Dhamma talks about how just because a session went quickly/seemed easy, doesn't necessarily mean it was "good," and vice versa. In my experience I have found this to be true. However it's lead me to wonder what everyone else considers as a "successful" or "good" session, and if maybe there's some common threads besides the obvious (I was mindful/maintained concentration on my object of meditation ect.)



:anjali:
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When the mind is successful in attaining the meditative state some may refer to that as successful or good. However part of meditation skill is knowing what to do to train and tame the mind even if it is not conducing easily to the meditative state on that occasion.
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