A question on my meditation experience

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

Post by SeekingDharma » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:42 am

Hello Friends,

I recently experienced something new in meditation. I do not think it was necessarily a profound experience, but as it was quite new and unexpected I thought I would make a post and hear from a wiser crowd. When I first started meditating my mind was extremely busy, and looking back I view it as quite "loud." When I sat for meditation it took a large amount of determination, and my mind wandered often. When I caught the wandering I had to deliberately place my attention back on the breath for as long as possible.

As my meditation practice progressed this became easier. The mind has gotten calmer (though there is plenty of progress to be made here!) and the effort to come back to the breath has become quite natural. Today I sat in meditation and experienced something I have not yet come across in my practice. I sat for 40 minutes and was able to keep my focus on the breath for the entire meditation. Thoughts arose and passed away though, but it was as if my mind could keep attention to both in some sort of a "split awareness." I would then nudge the focus back soley on the breath, but I never lost the breath. Also of note, while being aware of the breath I was also able to feel the areas of my body tensing during meditation--normally I only occasionally notice the tension after it has become strong and I wasn't aware of the body becoming tense (in small areas of the face, shoulder, et cetera). I know from the experience of this meditation that it was good, but I really don't know what to make of it. Is this something to note and move on--continue with no significance? Or is this something that I can work with for some form of specific meditation?

Any thoughts are quite welcome. I'm not sure if I've accurately conveyed my experience here, so please let me know if clarification on any point would be of assistance.


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Re: A question on my meditation experience

Post by Kenshou » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:37 am

Note this as "good" and keep doing what you're doing, I think.

From one random guy on the internet to another, it sounds like the qualities you are developing are good. And you'll have more intense experiences as well, over time, but also crappy sessions. The thing is that craving for a pleasant state just stirs up hindrances and that's only counterproductive to developing a calm mind. So be glad you're making progress but don't make a big deal out of it.

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Re: A question on my meditation experience

Post by Ben » Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:32 am

keep going. Your experience from one day to the next is going to fluctuate but with that in mind try and maintain unbroken attention on the breath for longer periods. And have no expectations about repeating particular experiences.
Sensing tension in your body are just vedanas (sensations) rising and falling. Its normal that as one develops concentration one becomes more mentally sensitive to subtler phenomena. Give vedanas no importance and all importance to the breath. Similarly, treat mental contents in the same way as vedanas.
Keep going, keep going!
kind regards,

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: A question on my meditation experience

Post by Cittasanto » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:07 am

Keep going, if you want to practice a specific type of meditation, you already are, develop this first, so it becomes your stable bench in practice then you can move on to including specific techniques.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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