Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

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

Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:49 pm

Hi, I am new to meditation and almost completely illiterate when it comes to theravada buddhism but have had wonderful results as a result of vipassana meditation, basically I have come a long way of treating my compulsive and addictive behavior after only a few weeks of meditating a couple of hours per day.

However, this doubting keeps coming up when I am meditating, preventing me from being mindful and even preventing me from meditating, I dont know what to do. I keep ruminating about it when not doing formal meditation, thus preventing me from being mindful in everyday life.

Should I never think or follow doubting thoughts when meditating? I feel that if i just say to myself "doubting, doubting" or "thinking, thinking" I am lying to myself, ignoring what to me seem like legitimate doubting and thoughts and I am turning into a robot. Will the doubting really go away if I say "doubting, doubting" in my head for 30 minutes or an hour? As said in the beginning, I have had superb results with meditation. I dont doubt that the brain is reacting positively to my meditation. I have so far just said to myself that when the doubting gets too strong, that the doubting is some sort of trick the brain is playing on me to prevent me from meditating. It has kept the doubting somehow at bay, but it does pop up again. Is this the wrong approach?

Should I ask here about my misunderstanding of Buddhas teaching that causes me to doubt, or does that only bring energy to the doubting and thinking, and will it only mean that more things will pop up into my head about the teachings that will just cause more doubting about some other stuff in the future?
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:04 pm

Umos wrote:Hi, I am new to meditation and almost completely illiterate when it comes to theravada buddhism but have had wonderful results as a result of vipassana meditation, basically I have come a long way of treating my compulsive and addictive behavior after only a few weeks of meditating a couple of hours per day.

However, this doubting keeps coming up when I am meditating, preventing me from being mindful and even preventing me from meditating, I dont know what to do. I keep ruminating about it when not doing formal meditation, thus preventing me from being mindful in everyday life.

Should I never think or follow doubting thoughts when meditating? I feel that if i just say to myself "doubting, doubting" or "thinking, thinking" I am lying to myself, ignoring what to me seem like legitimate doubting and thoughts and I am turning into a robot. Will the doubting really go away if I say "doubting, doubting" in my head for 30 minutes or an hour? As said in the beginning, I have had superb results with meditation. I dont doubt that the brain is reacting positively to my meditation. I have so far just said to myself that when the doubting gets too strong, that the doubting is some sort of trick the brain is playing on me to prevent me from meditating. It has kept the doubting somehow at bay, but it does pop up again. Is this the wrong approach?

Should I ask here about my misunderstanding of Buddhas teaching that causes me to doubt, or does that only bring energy to the doubting and thinking, and will it only mean that more things will pop up into my head about the teachings that will just cause more doubting about some other stuff in the future?


Attend to your doubt. The practice is not to ignore or avert the hindrances, but to attain insight into the nature of reality (what is). Objectively observe your doubt arise, "noting it" to assist in maintaining objectivity, and observing it at it ceases. I could be incorrect in saying this, but it may be your aversion to the doubt that is prolonging its temporary existence. Attend to your doubt warm heartedly and simply observe as it rises and fall.

It may help to practice samatha meditation to build concentration and tranquility and then ease into insight meditation (this is my opinion of course).

Let me know if that helps, I am curious as to what you and others have to say.

Metta,

Zen
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby EmptyShadow » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:38 pm

Umos wrote:Should I ask here about my misunderstanding of Buddhas teaching that causes me to doubt, or does that only bring energy to the doubting and thinking, and will it only mean that more things will pop up into my head about the teachings that will just cause more doubting about some other stuff in the future?


In my opinion if this doubts are very strong and obstacle to your practice then yes, you should try to clear them out. You should ask questions and try to learn more about the matters that are causing you to have doubts.
Of course this can bring more doubts but it can also clear your current doubts and get you more confident in the practice.
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Kamran » Tue Jun 11, 2013 3:58 am

What are you being asked to believe ?

I think all that is required is to believe that your actions will will have an impact, and that you can learn from your mistakes.

I try to distinguish between good honest doubt, and doubts that I've picked up from society's values, which encourage greed, lust, and delusion.
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: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:21 am

It depends on the doubt and what it's about.

I get periods where I doubt the efficacy of practice, and it saps my confidence. This kind of doubt and worry is like a magician: it uses sleight of hand to get you to look away while it works in secret. In this case, the doubt is really in the doubt itself, the worry really is in the worry itself. The pain of doubt comes exactly from the momentum built up in doubting: pursuing possibilities, leaving the present moment, chasing "what if..." scenarios, the friction caused by constant restlessness. It may make you feel helpless as well, stuck in indecision. The Buddha compared doubt to striking out into a desert with no map and no provisions. You wander around for a while, then maybe some bandits kill you after a time. I've come to know that place rather well :P Doubt is convincing because it makes you feel like you're being reasonable, doing your due diligence, trying to "get it right".

This is where "doubting, doubting" can help to step out of the proliferation of doubt on doubt. It's not to sweep things under the rug, but to stop pouring gas on the fire.

But not even just that: probe into the doubt. What does it feel like in the body, for instance how does it affect the breath? Can you pinpoint the first link in this particular chain of doubt? What seems to set it in motion? Where does it go when you do not doubt?

See its impermanence, its contingency on other things to arise, and the suffering it causes. Really study your doubt while it's there. Be like a physician carefully and skillfully inquiring into a patient's symptoms to find the best course of treatment.

What ultimately helped me out of a months-long morass of doubt was the Buddha's summary: Suffering I teach, and the way out of suffering. Don't fly after whatever doubt tells you to, usually some metaphysical truth or something better "someday". Instead, take your suffering for what it is, no matter its cause, and see what you can do to relieve it.

And don't forget: when doubt is not there, notice that too.

Best of luck, from one chronic doubter to the next :)
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Jun 11, 2013 6:08 am

I also wanted to add that gratitude has been a potent antidote to doubt for me. How has the Dharma helped in your suffering already? From your post, it sounds like you have something to be grateful for. It can be a small seed of confidence when you feel doubts setting in.
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:52 pm

duckfiasco wrote:It depends on the doubt and what it's about.

I get periods where I doubt the efficacy of practice, and it saps my confidence. This kind of doubt and worry is like a magician: it uses sleight of hand to get you to look away while it works in secret. In this case, the doubt is really in the doubt itself, the worry really is in the worry itself. The pain of doubt comes exactly from the momentum built up in doubting: pursuing possibilities, leaving the present moment, chasing "what if..." scenarios, the friction caused by constant restlessness. It may make you feel helpless as well, stuck in indecision. The Buddha compared doubt to striking out into a desert with no map and no provisions. You wander around for a while, then maybe some bandits kill you after a time. I've come to know that place rather well :P Doubt is convincing because it makes you feel like you're being reasonable, doing your due diligence, trying to "get it right".

This is where "doubting, doubting" can help to step out of the proliferation of doubt on doubt. It's not to sweep things under the rug, but to stop pouring gas on the fire.

But not even just that: probe into the doubt. What does it feel like in the body, for instance how does it affect the breath? Can you pinpoint the first link in this particular chain of doubt? What seems to set it in motion? Where does it go when you do not doubt?

See its impermanence, its contingency on other things to arise, and the suffering it causes. Really study your doubt while it's there. Be like a physician carefully and skillfully inquiring into a patient's symptoms to find the best course of treatment.

What ultimately helped me out of a months-long morass of doubt was the Buddha's summary: Suffering I teach, and the way out of suffering. Don't fly after whatever doubt tells you to, usually some metaphysical truth or something better "someday". Instead, take your suffering for what it is, no matter its cause, and see what you can do to relieve it.

And don't forget: when doubt is not there, notice that too.

Best of luck, from one chronic doubter to the next :)


Thanks. Very interesting read and useful.

Here is what I do when I meditate. I do the mindful walking and sitting, and do the mental noting, "rising and falling" of the stomach and "stepping right" etc. I have not done anything else. I also try to mentally note everything I do at all times. But I must have some misunderstanding of Buddhas teaching. In fact, I have had wonderful results with the mindfulness, and what I do is that I usually just add a couple of sentences in the mental noting, to make me more aware and prevent the mental noting from becoming too rote and mechanical, like "It is what it is", "its only a feeling", "not anything good or bad", "thats all that is".

From what I understand, mental noting is a way to objectively recognize what is going on. The doubting comes when labeling and judging things as neutral (not good nor bad) when it arises. How can I say to myself that anger, frustration or any other unwholesome feeling is "not good nor bad"? Arent they unwholesome and thus bad?

And what about other emotions? When I feel happy? Why is the happy feeling not good nor bad, just an emotion that arise and seize? Arent we seeking happiness? Are we then not judging happiness as a good feeling? The purpose of meditation from my understanding is happiness through freedom from suffering (no more clinging and aversion), thus is happy feeling not a good feeling? So then I start to think when I meditate. "hey, these feelings are not really neutral, I am seeking more profound happiness while I try to get rid of anger, so therefore happy is good and anger is bad. It creeps into the mind.

The results I have achieved through vipassana has far exceeded my wildest expectations. So I am not doubting the efficacy of the practice. But I feel that the brain is quite primitive (from my practice I sense that the mind is somewhat "childish" so I have just tricked the brain.) I am much more alert, refreshed and less anxious now than a weeks ago when I engaged in addictive behavior and was much more moody, stressed and lazy. I can clearly feel that I see things more clearly for what they are (gaining some wisdom). But my mind has seeded some doubt and it feels it is being tricked I think. :) I feel some guidance is needed now so that things dont get out of hand about being indifferent to anything that arises (its only this or that). I worry abit about the "not judging"-part I do all the time, and it causes me to doubt the truth of what I am doing. From what I read, Buddha judged phenomena as good or bad all the time, as we have to judge when teaching correct behavior and the path to enlightenment.

If I see something, I just note "seeing, seeing". So lets say I see something horrendous happening. Is it bad? Is it good? Or only a moment-to-moment experience with no intrinsic value whatsoever? Is the horrendous thing not bad because it is only part of life, and we cant judge life as neither good nor bad? Did the Buddha make a list of the emotions that were good and the emotions that were bad? I need some guidance on the "judging" or not "judging" part. In short, I feel there is some "double-think" going on where I trick the mind into not judging emotions or mind-states but seeking out happiness and freedom from suffering.
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:17 pm

Umos wrote:...


It sounds as though you might be arousing mindfulness, but that there isn't a clear way of analyzing things yet. If there is anger, this is unwholesome, leading as it does to muddled thinking and obsessive ruminations and anguish and so on. So this allows the proper employment of right effort - the specific methods are individually developed, but the theme is to truncate and dissipate any unwholesome states while arousing and fertilizing any wholesome states.

Doubt as a specific hindrance is just this: doubt over whether this or that is wholesome or unwholesome. You can see how doubt is a specific obstacle to meditation since it stops the chain of development and leaves one floundering, often dovetailing with the hindrance of flurry-n-worry.

When seated for practice, then, step back from the external world and its events which call for guarded sense gates and so on, and calmly pay attention to your individual interface with experience. Instead of seeing an event and wondering "good or bad?", note the fact that, upon contact with said event, there arose confusion in the mind. This confusion has causes, conditions, that are worth exploring - not the external event as such.

:heart:
    "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: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby reflection » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:23 pm

Hi,

To develop the wholesome and take away the unwholesome is important, so it is also important to recognize them as such. For example, if anger arises and you recognize it, it is not something to allow or objectify, it is something to take care of and replace with a wholesome state of mind. Sometimes just seeing it does the job, sometimes noting works, sometimes cultivating metta works, sometimes something else. There are multiple ways to go about this. You may want to take a look at suttas like SN 47.8, MN19 and MN20 to learn a bit more about this.
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Zenainder » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:34 pm

reflection wrote:Hi,

To develop the wholesome and take away the unwholesome is important, so it is also important to recognize them as such. For example, if anger arises and you recognize it, it is not something to allow or objectify, it is something to take care of and replace with a wholesome state of mind. Sometimes just seeing it does the job, sometimes noting works, sometimes cultivating metta works, sometimes something else. There are multiple ways to go about this. You may want to take a look at suttas like SN 47.8, MN19 and MN20 to learn a bit more about this.


:goodpost:

Aye, objectively "attending" to your doubt, anger, etc. happens through what reflection insightfully stated. Understanding does not need liking or disliking, instead allow it to dawn insight followed by unfettering. :)

Umos, thank you for sharing your practice. It was inspiring and encouraging for me when reading (and for others I am certain).
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby ohnofabrications » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:03 pm

Should I never think or follow doubting thoughts when meditating? I feel that if i just say to myself "doubting, doubting" or "thinking, thinking" I am lying to myself, ignoring what to me seem like legitimate doubting and thoughts and I am turning into a robot. Will the doubting really go away if I say "doubting, doubting" in my head for 30 minutes or an hour? As said in the beginning, I have had superb results with meditation. I dont doubt that the brain is reacting positively to my meditation. I have so far just said to myself that when the doubting gets too strong, that the doubting is some sort of trick the brain is playing on me to prevent me from meditating. It has kept the doubting somehow at bay, but it does pop up again. Is this the wrong approach?


I have always found that the worst way our minds mess with practice is through doubting whether it works or not. What you have to understand is that to respond to doubt with intellectualization, conceptualization, and thought is to reinforce the pattern of doubt, i.e. that mindfulness is not effective and what is required is more intellectual analysis of our problems.

"There are thousands upon thousands of students
who have practiced meditation and obtained its fruits.
Do not doubt its possibilities because of the simplicity of the method.
If you can not find the truth right where you are,
where else do you expect to find it?"
-Dogen
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:31 pm

If it's only been a few weeks, keep in mind that this is a path we're on our whole lives :) Some of these things like doubt will become old friends, which is exactly how it should be. We need to familiarize ourselves with the ways our minds suffer over time.

I think I had a similar experience to yours. After a period of deep depression, a single dose of the Dharma in the form of "Mindfulness in Plain English" seemed to help beyond my wildest dreams. I felt like a man released from a dark prison cell. That's been a seed of confidence for me when I doubt. But it was just a beginning. The old friends will creep back in, and we must continually recommit to practice, observing our minds, reading good books and listening to good talks, discussing with Dharma friends, being kind to ourselves and others.

From December of last year to probably May of this year, I had a reoccurence of very painful doubt. There will come a time when your meditation apparently does nothing for your suffering, when reading and practicing and praying and bowing seem empty and pointless. You may even now feel that you're just waiting to die.
But it passed. Even the Big Deal Doubt and Why Me Pain are impermanent, coming from who knows where and leaving the same way. This is why learning more of the Dharma is so beneficial: it gives you a framework for handling things in a new way, especially if you've never gotten quite so intimate with your suffering or defilements. I think if I had had an initial experience of doubt like you, I may have been better equipped to get through it with less pain. So do yourself a favor down the road and really dive into this juicy learning experience :toast:

Also, you may find a clear way forward by addressing this:
almost completely illiterate when it comes to theravada buddhism
You've seen the efficacy of even beginning a meditation practice. So what might putting into practice other elements do? This was my approach to Buddhism as a skeptic. There's a topic devoted to just such an exploration: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148

I would also recommend these standbys:
"Mindfulness in Plain English" - Henepola Gunaratana, to further explore your breath meditation
"Being Nobody, Going Nowhere" - Ayya Khema, an excellent introduction to the basic points of Theravadan Buddhism
"A Still Forest Pool" - Achaan Chah, bite-sized wisdom from a renowned master in the Thai Forest tradition. You can read just a little each day.
"In the Buddha's Words" - Bhikkhu Bodhi, a thorough tour of the Pali canon, the scripture that forms the basis of Theravada practice
"The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" - Thich Nhat Hanh, a more synergistic look at Buddhism but incredibly valuable as an introduction to the tools of liberation ;)

Once you become really familiar with your doubt and have a base of practice and understanding, your relationship with it will change. Let me tell you, it's quite a strange experience when, after going "okay, doubt, let's just see" for months on end, even as it's spinning all kinds of horrible visions of wasting your life, dying as a terrible unloving human being and on and on, you finally doubt the doubt and go "wait, what was the big deal again?"

:popcorn:
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:14 pm

OK, i may not have made it all clear, and i am sorry for that. But i dont doubt the vipassana practice nor the mental noting and its benefits and I am not feeling impatient or frustrated about the practice. I just need to read some suttas maybe to make sure i understand what i have misunderstood. I am only doubting the part about telling myself that I should never judge any emotion or mindstates (or any of the 4 categories of body, feeling, thought and mindstates).

The thing is, I do this mental noting or mantra of as much as possible that i do all day, trying to stay meditative all day. For example, if i feel a generous thought, then i would just do the mantra on that thought, not judging it, and then let it go away (seeing impermenance). Not acting on it. If I read something, lets say a review of some product i intend to buy, I have to make judgements, doubting some things, accepting other things. What I do is turning more into "indifferent meditation" or "robot meditation" I think even though my progress is very good and consistent with what I read about vipassana. Surely, critical thinking is needed?

Also, how can sex be consistent with vipassana (I think i practice or try to practice what you guys call thai forest tradition) meditation? This doesnt make sense to me (again i am doubting). Why would sex do anything else than lead to suffering?
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:38 pm

duckfiasco wrote:If it's only been a few weeks, keep in mind that this is a path we're on our whole lives :) Some of these things like doubt will become old friends, which is exactly how it should be. We need to familiarize ourselves with the ways our minds suffer over time.

I think I had a similar experience to yours. After a period of deep depression, a single dose of the Dharma in the form of "Mindfulness in Plain English" seemed to help beyond my wildest dreams. I felt like a man released from a dark prison cell. That's been a seed of confidence for me when I doubt. But it was just a beginning. The old friends will creep back in, and we must continually recommit to practice, observing our minds, reading good books and listening to good talks, discussing with Dharma friends, being kind to ourselves and others.

From December of last year to probably May of this year, I had a reoccurence of very painful doubt. There will come a time when your meditation apparently does nothing for your suffering, when reading and practicing and praying and bowing seem empty and pointless. You may even now feel that you're just waiting to die.
But it passed. Even the Big Deal Doubt and Why Me Pain are impermanent, coming from who knows where and leaving the same way. This is why learning more of the Dharma is so beneficial: it gives you a framework for handling things in a new way, especially if you've never gotten quite so intimate with your suffering or defilements. I think if I had had an initial experience of doubt like you, I may have been better equipped to get through it with less pain. So do yourself a favor down the road and really dive into this juicy learning experience :toast:

Also, you may find a clear way forward by addressing this:
almost completely illiterate when it comes to theravada buddhism
You've seen the efficacy of even beginning a meditation practice. So what might putting into practice other elements do? This was my approach to Buddhism as a skeptic. There's a topic devoted to just such an exploration: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148

I would also recommend these standbys:
"Mindfulness in Plain English" - Henepola Gunaratana, to further explore your breath meditation
"Being Nobody, Going Nowhere" - Ayya Khema, an excellent introduction to the basic points of Theravadan Buddhism
"A Still Forest Pool" - Achaan Chah, bite-sized wisdom from a renowned master in the Thai Forest tradition. You can read just a little each day.
"In the Buddha's Words" - Bhikkhu Bodhi, a thorough tour of the Pali canon, the scripture that forms the basis of Theravada practice
"The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" - Thich Nhat Hanh, a more synergistic look at Buddhism but incredibly valuable as an introduction to the tools of liberation ;)

Once you become really familiar with your doubt and have a base of practice and understanding, your relationship with it will change. Let me tell you, it's quite a strange experience when, after going "okay, doubt, let's just see" for months on end, even as it's spinning all kinds of horrible visions of wasting your life, dying as a terrible unloving human being and on and on, you finally doubt the doubt and go "wait, what was the big deal again?"

:popcorn:


thank you, i found a still forest pool here http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn ... t_Pool.htm, and will read it tonight to gain some knowledge to clear out my misunderstandings.
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:15 pm

Umos wrote:I am only doubting the part about telling myself that I should never judge any emotion or mindstates (or any of the 4 categories of body, feeling, thought and mindstates).


Where have you picked up this instruction in the first place?

Maybe this phrase "judge an emotion" could be unpacked: do you judge negative emotions, say, as inherently sinful somehow, and feel you should not do that, or do you judge them as unskillful, and feel you should be passive upon their arising? Or something else?

I would look into how right effort is defined, in any event. "Never judge" doesn't seem appropriate...

The thing is, I do this mental noting or mantra of as much as possible that i do all day, trying to stay meditative all day... [but at times] Surely, critical thinking is needed?


This highlights a problem with the idea of constant noting, as in mantra use - this isn't really what noting is aiming towards. Rather than a constant noting-mantra in the mind, the note "standing" (for example) serves to splice my awareness to my posture, and steadily mindful there, I need not note again.

Should critical thinking be needed, note that the mind is active, abuzz, or whatever. Stay mindful - when a price is very low or a review is very good, as in the example of looking in a sales catalog and you want some item or other, are you able to be mindful of the desire arising there, the acquisitiveness, perhaps a sense of "what luck for me"? Or, with a price too high to afford, perhaps your mindfulness, having been established, notes the arising of aversion or upset in response to that price.

Satipatthana is having mindfulness close by in all things; noting can help, but unremitting mindfulness is the goal, not unremitting noting.

Also, the householder life is crowded and dusty, so progress is a double challenge while living such a life complete with television, stored up goods, sex, and so forth. Better for mental calm and clarity is the chaste life of an 8-precept householder, in terms of a lay life conducive to meditation.

:heart:
    "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: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:25 pm

daverupa wrote:Where have you picked up this instruction in the first place?

Maybe this phrase "judge an emotion" could be unpacked: do you judge negative emotions, say, as inherently sinful somehow, and feel you should not do that, or do you judge them as unskillful, and feel you should be passive upon their arising? Or something else?


Yes, I guess you could say that I judge them as unskillful in the sense that I dont pay any heed to them, I try to treat it just like "sitting", "lifting" etc. I just focus on it, being aware and watching them arise and seize. I just try to let all emotions and mindstates pass away by just observing and doing the mental note or mantra of that emotion or mindstate. I just observe and stay mindful of the happy feeling when it arises (is it not just some chemicals in the brain?) and just let it pass. Same for anger, generosity, drowsiness, the bodily movements etc.

From my understanding of mindfulness it is the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience (the 4 categories of experience). So this is not correct? Regarding the mental noting, I use it both as a crutch to keep my mind from drifting away from the present (an idle mind is often distracted), and as a way of giving the experience an objective label ("it is what it is", "nothing more, nothing less", basically).

The problem I have with this is of course the idea of unwholesome and wholesome emotions or thoughts. How do I combine my practice with this idea. From what I understand, the idea of judging unwholesome actions as bad or detrimental is counterproductive if we want to overcome them.

My understanding is very limited, I have just read the sattipattana sutta, and listened to some talks and videos about meditating so doubting seems like a good thing to me, as it would be shocking if I have full understanding of correct practice and no need to doubt if I am doing it correctly. I dont think it would be correct to try to overcome this doubting by just being mindful of it and not ask questions about correct understanding of the dhamma.
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:40 am

Hi Umos,

Perhaps if you can tell us what talks and/or what reading you are basing your meditation approach on, we can suggest something reasonably compatible to read. You're describing the approach taught by Sayadaw Mahasi, and his students such as U Pandita. Bhikkhu Pesala's site: www.aimwell.org has quite a lot of useful material, including an on-line version of U Pandita's book In This Very Life.
Unfortunately the site seems to be having some difficulties right now.

:anjali:
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:05 pm

I don't believe anyone has referred this, but it may shed some helpful insight:

"Q: I still have very many thoughts. My mind wanders a lot even though I am trying to be mindful.

Answer: Don't worry about this. Try to keep your mind in the present. Whatever there is that arises in the mind, just watch it. Let go of it. Don't even wish to be rid of thoughts. Then the mind will reach its natural state. No discriminating between good and bad, hot and cold, fast and slow. No me and no you, no self at all. Just what there is. When you walk on alms-round, no need to do anything special. Simply walk and see what there is. No need to cling to isolation or seclusion. Wherever you are, know yourself by being natural and watching. If doubts arise, watch them come and go. It's very simple. Hold on to nothing. It is as though you are walking down a road. Periodically you will run into obstacles. When you meet defilements, just see them and just overcome them by letting go of them. don't think about the obstacles you have passed already. Don't worry about those you have not yet seen. Stick to the present. Don't be concerned about the length of the road or about the destination. Everything is changing. Whatever you pass, do not cling to it. Eventually the mind will reach its natural balance where practice is automatic. All things will come and go of themselves."

"Q: What can I do about doubts? Some days I'm plagued with doubts about the practice or my own progress, or the teacher.

Answer: Doubting is natural. Everyone starts out with doubts. You can learn a great deal from them. What is important is that you don't identify with your doubts: that is, don't get caught up in them. This will spin your mind in endless circles. Instead, watch the whole process of doubting, of wondering. See who it is that doubts. See how doubts come and go. Then you will no longer be victimized by your doubts. You will step outside of them and your mind will be quiet. You can see how all things come and go. Just let go of what you are attached to. Let go of your doubts and simply watch. This is how to end doubting."


Information from an interview with Ajahn Chah:
http://www.buddhanet.net/bodhiny2.htm
If the words "I", "me", or "you" are used, they are for the use of convenience related purposes. None of these exist, of course. ;)
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Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:24 pm

Umos wrote:From what I understand, the idea of judging unwholesome actions as bad or detrimental is counterproductive if we want to overcome them.


But they are detrimental, which is how they qualify for the description "unwholesome".

Wholesome v. unwholesome is a judgment that can be accurate or inaccurate, but it's essential to learn & know what's what with respect to wholesome and unwholesome action in order to make progress.

So, while we must judge anger as unwholesome, hating anger (for example) isn't the way forward. But, anger is judged, found wanting, and uprooted by arousing non-ill-will such as good will and the like.
    "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: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:28 pm

I think it is fundamental not to identify with the doubt that arises, simply be mindful and objectively observe it. "You" are not doubting because doubt arises. The only time we "doubt" is through the delusion of identity (self). Refrain from seeing doubt thinking "I am doubting", instead when you see doubt arise use the noting / mantra technique to assist in creating objective awareness and observe the doubt arise, exist, and disappear. Then you may conclude "doubt is aries from x view and is a mental phenomom and is imperament and stressful" and so unfetter yourself from it.

When anything arises remain detached and objectively observe it for what it is.

At least this is how I have come to understand it.

Metta,

Zen
If the words "I", "me", or "you" are used, they are for the use of convenience related purposes. None of these exist, of course. ;)
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