Don't like to meditate

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

Don't like to meditate

Postby Digity » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:41 am

I really struggle with meditation. I don't want to do it. I usually schedule it for 15 minutes after I wake up, but I've been so off and on for so long. I'm just frustrated by my lack of commitment. Often times after I wake up I just distract myself with my iPhone or whatever...almost like I'm trying to avoid having to meditate. I hate this attitude, but I don't know what to do to bring myself to want to do it. I've had stretches in the past where I liked it, but those eventually pass. What advice do you have? I often feel like it's not really doing anything for me. I know you're not suppose to bring that sort of attitude to your meditation, but I just find it hard not to. Any advice is appreciated.
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:50 am

Just do it.
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby plwk » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:57 am

Spot on Ben. I think there was once I spotted an Ajahn Chah quote...
If you like to meditate, then meditate. If you don't like to meditate, then meditate.
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:21 am

plwk wrote:Spot on Ben. I think there was once I spotted an Ajahn Chah quote...
If you like to meditate, then meditate. If you don't like to meditate, then meditate.


Exactly, plwk.
In my humble experience meditation is frequently less than a pleasant experience. But unless one finds the motivation within oneself to engage with and maintain the practice, then it isn't going to happen.
My advice to Digity may seem insensitive but sometimes the best way to overcome obstacles is to stop thinking about it and engage.
kind regards,

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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Dan74 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:33 am

Some people are way too restless most of the time to settle on a cushion, I think. Sometimes going for a jog first may help, or settling down with a hot cuppa. For others walking meditation feels more natural. I recall a fellow on the Zen Forum who was big on standing meditation since torpor is not a huge obstacle there!

So while I generally agree with the "just do it" attitude because it cuts through the bullshit web of excuses, sometimes one is not able (or ready) to make that cut.
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Digity » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:56 am

I'm very restless to begin with. I absolutely hate my general agitated feeling I have, but I'm someone whose had his share of anxiety problems in his life. I sometimes don't feel cut out for meditation...and there I go with excuses again! :P
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:58 am

Dan74 wrote:Some people are way too restless most of the time to settle on a cushion, I think. Sometimes going for a jog first may help, or settling down with a hot cuppa. For others walking meditation feels more natural.

I agree, I always try to start with walking, unless it's just not practical (lack of room, sitting with a group that doesn't like walking :tongue:, ...). In my experience it's much easier to build up some initial mindfulness and concentration walking than sitting.

:anjali:
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:59 am

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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:05 am

Have you ever done an intensive meditation retreat of a week or two? that's the way to establish a habit and become convinced of it's benefits.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Kamran » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:21 am

1/2 hour or so of strenuous exercize prior meditating works great for me.

walking meditation is not enough to get rid of the restless energy in my case
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby DAWN » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:32 am

Try to observe your mind.

When you want to get up, just take a not of it :
Hmm, my body want to get up. What will heppens with it if i still here? / Hmm, he want to get up again. And if i still sit again?
Hmm, i feel pain. What will heppens after?
Hmm, i want to do somethink. What will heppens if i will do nothink?
...

Like a scientific. Study, study, study... Observe, observe, observe...
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby pilgrim » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:13 am

Just about a month ago I met Ven Yogavacara Rahula when we were both in Ladakh. At a talk he gave, he addressed this same problem that many of us have, the difficulty of establishing a regular sitting period. He proposed an alternative practice which I think he called "One Minute Meditation", if I am not mistaken.

Instead of sitting for say, an hour every day, break it up into many One Minute Meditations, where we stop whatever we are doing and practise awareness of our mental states for about a minute. This can be done say every hour or so. He said that in long periods of meditation, significant chunks of time is taken up just to calm the mind down and awareness is actually practiced for a fraction of the allotted period. Furthermore, awareness is not consistent for the whole day. But in the One Minute Meditations that he recommends, it is very useful to bring awareness back into the whole of our daily life. He is not suggesting that the One Minute Meditations replace the usual practice but he suggests it as an alternative for those who find difficulty doing so. This is especially applicable to lay-people where intense concentration is not a priority.
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby DAWN » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:20 am

Very good advice !
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:28 am

I remember reading/hearing something along the lines that trying to force yourself to meditate could be deleterious to your practice. I'm sorry, I cannot think who wrote/said it but it struck a chord with me. Whilst meditation is an essential practice, laity can find it useful to simply try to be mindful in all their daily activities, develop sila through adherence of the precepts and earn merit through development of the Brahma Viharas. Whoever it was that gave that advice suggested that meditation would then be easier in the future because the foundations of practice will have been well established. I with I could post a reference.

In my own experience, I took a one-month break from meditation when I realised I was doing it 'to be a Buddhist'. I worked on ethics and 'being pleasant' for a month, then went back to cussion work. It helped me break/reduce a sense of pride that had been blocking my meditation progress.
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby JackV » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:00 am

Digity wrote:I really struggle with meditation. I don't want to do it. I usually schedule it for 15 minutes after I wake up, but I've been so off and on for so long. I'm just frustrated by my lack of commitment. Often times after I wake up I just distract myself with my iPhone or whatever...almost like I'm trying to avoid having to meditate. I hate this attitude, but I don't know what to do to bring myself to want to do it. I've had stretches in the past where I liked it, but those eventually pass. What advice do you have? I often feel like it's not really doing anything for me. I know you're not suppose to bring that sort of attitude to your meditation, but I just find it hard not to. Any advice is appreciated.


I had a similar response to meditation about half a year ago, however mine was compounded by anxiety; I would be so tense and anxious about it that when I actually sat I would be sweating and shaking. This however was just a phase.
As Ben said in an earlier post "Just do it". Sit there and be there with that restlessness, that feeling of wanting to get up and not wanting to do it. That is your meditation object. It cannot last and it will pass eventually.
I think as long as you are not "forcing" your attention to anything and just sitting there with an open awareness (ensuring of course that should the mind wander it is brought back) that in a couple of day, weeks, whatever, this will go. You just need to break your current habit cycle and create a new one that of sitting.
Also in response to your other point of feeling that it is "not doing anythign for you" personally I think this is a good thing. I find if I sit with the idea I am meditating for something or to get something - some effect - then I will not get it and become annoyed and this can lead to the idea of a "good and bad" sitting. Not trying to get anything or do anything in meditation other than being aware (of whatever there is at that time, its all to be aware of) has been the best advice ever for me.

Good luck with it
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Maarten » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:33 am

I think this can be dangerous. If you have a constant aversion towards meditation you run the risk of eventually giving it up completely.
If I were you I would put my priorities on developing some pleasure in my meditation. Maybe try a different technique?
For me it is easy to get some enjoyment out of metta meditation, and I am not a very skilled meditator! Ajahn Brahm often advises in his guided meditations to cultivate pleasure, or to look for that pleasurable element in the meditation. http://www.youtube.com/user/DhammalokaMeditation

Good luck and metta! ;)
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:17 pm

Generally

Oppose Your Mind

Consider the Buddha's compassion and skill. He taught us after his own enlightenment. Finished with his own business, he got involved in ours, teaching us all these wonderful means. Concerning practice I have followed him, I have made all efforts in seeking, giving up my life to it because I believe in what the Buddha taught-that Path, fruition, and Nirvana exist. But these things are not accidental. They arise from right practice, from right effort, from being bold, daring to train, to think, to adapt, to do. This effort involves opposing your own mind.

The Buddha says not to trust the mind because it is defiled, impure, does not yet embody virtue or Dharma. In all the different practices we do, we must therefore oppose this mind. When the mind is opposed, it becomes hot and distressed, and we begin to wonder whether we are on the right path. Because practice interferes with defilement, with desire, we suffer and may even decide to stop practicing. The Buddha, however, taught that this is the correct practice and that defilement, not you, is the one that is inflamed. Naturally, such practice is difficult.

Some meditation monks only seek the Dharma according to words and books. Of course, when it is time for study, study according to the text. But when you are "fighting" with defilement, fight outside the

text. If you fight according to a model, you will not be able to stand up to the enemy. The texts only provide an example and can cause you to lose yourself because they are based on memories and concepts. Conceptual thinking creates illusion and embellishment and can take you to the heavens and hells, to the far reaches of imagination, beyond the simple truth here in front of you.

If you undertake the training, you will find that at first, physical solitude is important. When you come to live in seclusion, you can think of Sariputta's advice to monks concerning physical seclusion, mental seclusion, and seclusion from defilement and temptation. He taught that physical seclusion is the cause for the arising of mental seclusion, and mental seclusion is the cause for the arising of seclusion from defilement. Of course, if your heart is calm, you can live anywhere, but in first beginning to know Dharma, physical seclusion is invaluable Today, or any day, go and sit far away from the village. Try it, staying alone. Or go to some fearful hilltop by yourself. Then you can begin to know what it is really like to look at yourself.

Whether or not there is tranquility, do not be concerned. As long as you are practicing, you are creating right causes and will be able to make use of whatever arises. Do not be afraid that you will not succeed, will not become tranquil. If you practice sincerely, you must grow in Dharma. Those who seek will see, just as those who eat will be satisfied.


but as the pratice is not just only formal meditating, it's maybe better to opposite the mind more in daily activities (observing intentions better/constanter or/and precepts). You even would not need much formal meditation at least.
Just that! *smile*
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BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:52 pm

Digity wrote:I'm very restless to begin with. I absolutely hate my general agitated feeling I have, but I'm someone whose had his share of anxiety problems in his life. I sometimes don't feel cut out for meditation...and there I go with excuses again! :P


Why do you want to meditate? That might be a useful question. The calming affect of samatha can be helpful in reducing restlessness and anxiety, so that might be something to consider.

From a practical point of view you could think about trying some different types of meditation, see what suits you best. Also consider meditating at a different time of day. Be creative with your approach, try things out.
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby bodom » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:45 pm

Try sitting along with some guided meditations. I find this extremely helpful for those days when I don't feel like sitting. Also if possible try finding a local meditation group to sit with. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a Theravadan insight meditation group, it could be zen, tibetan etc. just someplace you can sit in silence with others for a period of time.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Postby pegembara » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:34 am

Then don't "meditate".

Just be constantly aware of your thoughts, words and deeds. Everything in your life is there to help you, to teach you, and not seen as some kind of an obstruction to meditation. You can even watch your mind coming up with excuses not to meditate. That itself is also "meditation" but I prefer to use the word mental training or bhavana.
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