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Meditation experience

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:45 am
by hermitwin
Dear friends, as I enter the next phase of my life, I will have more time for meditation. I hope you can share your experiences about meditation. Your success and "failures". What worked for you and what didn't. Hopefully this Info can help me and others who are interested in meditation. Thanks

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:03 am
by budo
If I could give two tips it would be:

- Persistence, do it every day and try to not skip a day. Results are very much based on momentum
- If it feels bad or painful, you're probably doing something wrong. The Buddha left the ascetics because he recognized the way forward is not through pain, and not through sensual pleasure either, but through sublime pleasure.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:04 am
by paul
When practitioners here write about meditation, it is almost always what I would consider samatha meditation. My meditation is different to that, it is a contemplation that goes on throughout the waking hours, comparing events that are happening, with a dhamma perspective. To do this, the essential factor is to have a good knowledge of dhamma doctrine. When I do meditation focussed on one subject, it is on the impermanence of the body as listed under the first foundation of mindfulness, and its function is to strengthen factors related to opposing hindrances arising during my insight meditation. It's true that this forms the basis of the practice.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:57 pm
by rightviewftw
most of my meditation methods and advice are outlined in my signature.
In regards to what Budo said about pain i think it is correct but at the same time i think one should try working with some pain to see if aversion to it will subside and equanimity towards those particular sensations comes to be established.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:16 pm
by JohnK
Unfortunately, meditation can make some people miserable - so they don't do it -- I have been through this.
One of the big ways is getting all down on yourself when you don't stay focused on the meditation object (typically the breath).
"I should be able to do this! What's wrong with me?"
When that's the case, there are way more fun things to do like go for a walk, eat, be with friends/family, play games.
I need to go, so for now I will post this, but will try to get back with some suggestions on not getting caught in this.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:32 pm
by JohnK
Getting back to what might be called self-aversion in meditation (based on leaving the meditation object).
It helps to really understand the process -- that you need to repeatedly work the muscles of recognizing you are gone and returning -- doing repetitions of the mental exercise -- so getting lost and coming back are essential to the practice -- you can't practice coming back if you don't get lost!
You can have a couple of strong intentions when beginning meditation: first to stay with the meditation object; next to recognize when you have left. So, when you do recognize you have left, you have accomplished one of your intentions -- Congratulations!! (vs. "I screwed up!"). If you punish yourself for leaving, you will no longer want to recognize when you have left -- so you will just keep on drifting to avoid the punishment! But if you reward yourself, you will want to recognize that you have left. You can give yourself a little reward like a particularly satisfying breath.
This is not an insignificant challenge for us self-judgemental types.
A bit different angle on avoiding aversion in meditation: Thanissaro Bhikkhu's meditation instructions encourage using the breath to promote pleasantness -- so the mind wants to stay with the breath -- make the breath your friend -- here is a short talk on that -- 9 minutes I think.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y20 ... doors).mp3

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:46 pm
by paul
I have been asked via PM what aspects of doctrine I tend to focus on in support of the ongoing insight contemplation I practise throughout the day. I am no saint, but have been practising for about thirty years guided only by books, while periodically living in monasteries in Sri Lanka. Through dint of solitude I have been able to relate the dhamma more and more to daily life, and that connection marks the maturing of the practice, but it requires courage to achieve. It is also the only way the suttas can be understood. That understanding begins with impermanence, which is the rock upon which the doctrine is founded, as it is a scientific fact. The study of impermanence is best related to the body and materiality in general, as described in the first foundation of mindfulness, as it is much more easily seen there than in mentality. In Asia I have been to morgues and seen autopsies etc., and the study of the cycle of birth, maturity, decline and death can also be profitably observed in daily life. Also the internet makes available explicit visuals of the decomposition of the body and probably autopsies. This will provoke the breakthrough which penetrates the veneer of conventional reality. Once that is achieved then the raft is on the water to the further shore. This impermanence study is not a popular pursuit, maybe because of an intuitive fear of losing security, but probably the computer age preference for mental matters contributes. Without a basis founded in reality it isn’t possible for the mind to be convinced, and for depth of practice to be established.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:08 am
by chownah
What didn't work was relying too much on others to tell what worked for them and what didn't.

What worked for me was trying what seemed to make sense to me and then seeing for myself what worked for me and what did not.

chownah

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:12 am
by budo
JohnK wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:32 pm
Getting back to what might be called self-aversion in meditation (based on leaving the meditation object).
It helps to really understand the process -- that you need to repeatedly work the muscles of recognizing you are gone and returning -- doing repetitions of the mental exercise -- so getting lost and coming back are essential to the practice -- you can't practice coming back if you don't get lost!
You can have a couple of strong intentions when beginning meditation: first to stay with the meditation object; next to recognize when you have left. So, when you do recognize you have left, you have accomplished one of your intentions -- Congratulations!! (vs. "I screwed up!"). If you punish yourself for leaving, you will no longer want to recognize when you have left -- so you will just keep on drifting to avoid the punishment! But if you reward yourself, you will want to recognize that you have left. You can give yourself a little reward like a particularly satisfying breath.
This is not an insignificant challenge for us self-judgemental types.
A bit different angle on avoiding aversion in meditation: Thanissaro Bhikkhu's meditation instructions encourage using the breath to promote pleasantness -- so the mind wants to stay with the breath -- make the breath your friend -- here is a short talk on that -- 9 minutes I think.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y20 ... doors).mp3
I believe we learn more through loss of pleasure more than through gain of pain. In other words, positive reinforcement. Just look at people who go boxing or do MMA, or look at women who go through the pain of pregnancy several times.

Humans are very good at adapting to pain. But humans are terrible at letting go of pleasure, just look at drug addicts who would rather be homeless and dirty and hungry just for some drugs. Even monkeys and mice will shock themselves to death in order to get food. Humans are willing to go through hell to attain some semblance of heaven.

Telling someone to learn from pain isn't going to work, people can only learn through pleasure. When a person attains a level of dopamine hit from Jhana they've never had before in their life, they will want it again. That's what the path is about, replacing pleasures with better ones, until one reaches Nibbana which is the ultimate pleasure. One learns that the more still, calm and cool they are, the better they feel, and the more movement, heat, and angrier they get the worse they feel.

We are driven by desires, we just need to be directed towards better desires that are harder to attain like Jhana and Nibbana, but are actually worth it.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:46 pm
by Pseudobabble
hermitwin wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:45 am
Dear friends, as I enter the next phase of my life, I will have more time for meditation. I hope you can share your experiences about meditation. Your success and "failures". What worked for you and what didn't. Hopefully this Info can help me and others who are interested in meditation. Thanks
I recommend The Mind Illuminated

It's samatha-oriented technique synthesising the Theravada and Vajrayana traditions, cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

The highest praise I have for a method is that it works. This one works.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:50 pm
by Pseudobabble
budo wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:12 am

I believe we learn more through loss of pleasure more than through gain of pain. In other words, positive reinforcement. Just look at people who go boxing or do MMA, or look at women who go through the pain of pregnancy several times.

Humans are very good at adapting to pain. But humans are terrible at letting go of pleasure, just look at drug addicts who would rather be homeless and dirty and hungry just for some drugs. Even monkeys and mice will shock themselves to death in order to get food. Humans are willing to go through hell to attain some semblance of heaven.

Telling someone to learn from pain isn't going to work, people can only learn through pleasure. When a person attains a level of dopamine hit from Jhana they've never had before in their life, they will want it again. That's what the path is about, replacing pleasures with better ones, until one reaches Nibbana which is the ultimate pleasure. One learns that the more still, calm and cool they are, the better they feel, and the more movement, heat, and angrier they get the worse they feel.

We are driven by desires, we just need to be directed towards better desires that are harder to attain like Jhana and Nibbana, but are actually worth it.
:goodpost:

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:48 pm
by James Tan
Try walking meditation . Perhaps you could take a hike in the jungle or the mountain , solitary induces peace . Utterly silence when all noises ceases . Occasionally the thought just pop up , but no worries , as long quietness is around . Slowly stillness gains it pace.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:15 pm
by paul
:goodpost:
"— not attending to the perception[1] of village, not attending to the perception of human being — attends to the singleness based on the perception of wilderness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of wilderness."---MN 120

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:46 pm
by JohnK
paul wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:15 pm
:goodpost:
"— not attending to the perception[1] of village, not attending to the perception of human being — attends to the singleness based on the perception of wilderness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of wilderness."---MN 120
Paul, I was interested to see whose translation this was (especially because of choice of word "wilderness'), but I didn't find this (or anything obviously similar) in MN 120 by Bodhi or Sujato -- I may well be missing something -- can you point me in the right direction? (I know Thanissaro uses the word wilderness in some of his writings.)
Thanks.

Re: Meditation experience

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:59 pm
by Sam Vara
JohnK wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:46 pm
paul wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:15 pm
:goodpost:
"— not attending to the perception[1] of village, not attending to the perception of human being — attends to the singleness based on the perception of wilderness. His mind takes pleasure, finds satisfaction, settles, & indulges in its perception of wilderness."---MN 120
Paul, I was interested to see whose translation this was (especially because of choice of word "wilderness'), but I didn't find this (or anything obviously similar) in MN 120 by Bodhi or Sujato -- I may well be missing something -- can you point me in the right direction? (I know Thanissaro uses the word wilderness in some of his writings.)
Thanks.
It is, I think, MN 121. And it is, indeed, Thanissaro.