Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Ryan95227
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Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by Ryan95227 » Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:39 am

I'm following Ajahn Brahm's method of meditation and i dont fully understand what present moment consists of. When I try to be presently aware during my meditation I get these 0.1 sec of thoughts that just come and go away in 2-3 second interval. Iam mostly aware of present moment but distracted by these images/thoughts during meditation. It seems I can't even be FULLY present. So i've taken to see what present moment is by being absolutely present when I'm not meditating. When I try to be present, I don't even know if im presently aware. I will hear sounds, look at the walls of my room, and not think anything. Yet,I feel like I'm somehow not fully present! What is the issue here? How should I be present? What does the present moment consist of? Is it following the breath? Is it not thinking thoughts? Is it being mindful of every activities? Now how do you even comebine those into one present moment if i can only focus on one of those mentioned above? Im clueless!! Please help

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tiltbillings
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:22 am

Stop trying to be present, stop imagining what it is supposed be like.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Goofaholix
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:52 am

The present moment is everything... except the past and the future.

Life is a series of moments, each moment arises and passes away and mostly we don't notice it unless we pay attention.

You're doing it right, you are becoming aware of when the mind is present and how things are constantly changing, and how often the mind is all over the place, or unaware, or drifting off.

The point is just keep at it, over time you will learn what being present feels like and get better and better at it.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

SarathW
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by SarathW » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:10 am

This is how I understand it.
When you stay in the present moment you do not think about the past or the future.
You have a keen interest in your meditation object.
This is similar to watching a movie or reading an interesting book.
However there are no thought of the past or the future. No evaluations, just watch.
Technically this is known as first Jhana. (no Vittakka or Vicara)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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_anicca_
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by _anicca_ » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:13 am

I would not question yourself too much. You are making a complicated issue out of something that is rather simple - thoughts arise and pass away. The whole purpose of meditation is to remember to watch mind's movement in the present moment. As a matter of fact, this is what mindfulness is: watching the movement of mind in the present moment.

You're doing what you are supposed to be doing. Meditation isn't some ethereal state where all forms of thinking cease and peaceful feelings arise. The reality of it is that everything is exactly the same, but you are watching the breath and just allowing it to be :)
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia

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Wri
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by Wri » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:23 am

Be the one that knows. That's all there is to the present moment. Just know what you're experiencing. You are too worried about fitting into a definition or a complicated explanation of what right practice is. Start simple, your practice will define itself.
Keep your mind steady and rest within the winds of experience.
May I show unconditional love to all beings.

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Pondera
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by Pondera » Fri Apr 15, 2016 5:38 am

Like everything else Ajahn Brahm is using anatomical symantics when he refers to the present moment. What he means is to stay in the left temporal region of your brain. This is where the "present moment" arises in course with the breath. You'll also find freedom from ignorance and freedom from bodily sensation; the white and yellow kasinas; and the fourth jhana there. One thing you should know is that there's no point adhering to the anatomical symantics of "the present moment" without also knowing the anatomical symantics of "greed; hatred; and delusion". It will do very little for you without such knowledge. The bottom of the heart is the starting point. See if you can't uproot the sequence from the bottom of the heart as a starting point. :)

Cheers.

Pinetree
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by Pinetree » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:54 am

What is the issue here?
The issue here is conceptualization.

The present moment is simple, easy and right in front of our very noses. Just be aware of whatever is happening.

The issue is that instead of following the present moment, we follow thoughts we fabricate about the present moment (or the past, future, etc). It's like the difference between eating an orange and thinking about eating an orange.

Present moment has nothing to do with time, it is more about reality and about awareness about whatever you're doing instead of losing yourself in thoughts. Just do it, don't think about doing it.

For concentration meditation, present moment is to focus on the object of meditation (like the breath), and if any distraction comes up, return your attention to the main object of meditation, even if you have to do that 1000 times.

I'll try to explain this for walking.

You could be walking and generally aware of the walking feeling, but here I will try to put it into more detail, hoping it's more clear and easy to understand.

Ok, so If you do walking meditation for example: lifting - moving - placing:

A) What is the present moment ?
- when you lift your left foot, your mind should follow the left foot lifting
- when you move your left foot forward, your mind should follow the moving of the left foot forward
- when you place the left foot on the floor, the mind should be with the left foot contacting the floor
- when the right foot starts to lift, the mind should be at the right foot
etc

B) What is not the present moment ?
- when you place the left foot and think of the right foot lifting
- when you start walking on your path and already think of arriving at the end of the path
- when you walk and think about walking, maybe like: "should I walk more slowly or more quickly"
- when you walk and you think about something else

C) How to return to the present moment ?
- easiest way is to bring the mind back to the foot, if you have to do that 10, 100 or 1000 times

8fold
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by 8fold » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:48 pm

Pinetree wrote:
What is the issue here?
A) What is the present moment ?
- when you lift your left foot, your mind should follow the left foot lifting
- when you move your left foot forward, your mind should follow the moving of the left foot forward
- when you place the left foot on the floor, the mind should be with the left foot contacting the floor
- when the right foot starts to lift, the mind should be at the right foot
etc

So as one is walking, is it less correct to have your mind follow your arms swinging, your eyes blinking, or the coolness of the wind again your skin? Or should one notice all of these things at the same time (which, to me is difficult)?

Thanks

Chi
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by Chi » Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:59 pm

8fold wrote:
Pinetree wrote:
What is the issue here?
A) What is the present moment ?
- when you lift your left foot, your mind should follow the left foot lifting
- when you move your left foot forward, your mind should follow the moving of the left foot forward
- when you place the left foot on the floor, the mind should be with the left foot contacting the floor
- when the right foot starts to lift, the mind should be at the right foot
etc

So as one is walking, is it less correct to have your mind follow your arms swinging, your eyes blinking, or the coolness of the wind again your skin? Or should one notice all of these things at the same time (which, to me is difficult)?

Thanks
First, relax. Release any tension or tightness in the body and mind.

There is nobody doing anything. Just be aware of what you can and be aware of a sense of a person doing something. There's nothing to more to get.
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.

Chi
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by Chi » Fri Apr 29, 2016 12:03 am

Here is a good blog post by Ajahn Sucitto on how to approach meditation:

http://sucitto.blogspot.mx/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.

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mikenz66
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:13 am

8fold wrote:
Pinetree wrote:
What is the issue here?
A) What is the present moment ?
- when you lift your left foot, your mind should follow the left foot lifting
- when you move your left foot forward, your mind should follow the moving of the left foot forward
- when you place the left foot on the floor, the mind should be with the left foot contacting the floor
- when the right foot starts to lift, the mind should be at the right foot
etc

So as one is walking, is it less correct to have your mind follow your arms swinging, your eyes blinking, or the coolness of the wind again your skin? Or should one notice all of these things at the same time (which, to me is difficult)?

Thanks
If you are doing a satipatthana-oriented practice it doesn't really matter what you are noticing. It's the noticing that is the key. However Pinetree is giving a practical way of keeping the mind well focussed on particular objects when walking. The key point about:
when you lift your left foot, your mind should follow the left foot lifting
is that the mind should be focussed on what is happening.

The ideal end-point is that you notice everything that is happening...

:anjali:
Mike

lostitude
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by lostitude » Thu May 05, 2016 9:26 pm

I think I sort of understand what the OP is describing because I think I'm a bit in the same situation.
Even when I don't seem to be thinking of anything, like the OP says, staring at a wall with no thought, or just sitting there with eyes closed with no thought, there still is this feeling of being in a dream, exactly like when you just woke up and for the first few seconds of your day, you're awake and present, but you're still not fully 'here' yet. You're present from afar.
There is also sometimes the feeling of perceiving things with a timelag, as if the brain needed a few milliseconds to make sense of the picture of 'reality', and it can give the same impression of not really being in the present moment because the brain's recognition processes seem to take some time to create 'perception'.

But it seems the OP is gone, sadly.

Pinetree
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by Pinetree » Fri May 06, 2016 5:58 am

there still is this feeling of being in a dream, exactly like when you just woke up and for the first few seconds of your day
That may be describing "sloth and torpor".

From the OP's description, I'm guessing more towards confusion.

lostitude
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Re: Complicated issue I'm facing with meditation and mindfulness

Post by lostitude » Fri May 06, 2016 10:10 am

Pinetree wrote:
there still is this feeling of being in a dream, exactly like when you just woke up and for the first few seconds of your day
That may be describing "sloth and torpor".

From the OP's description, I'm guessing more towards confusion.
Yes maybe, you have just made me discover 'sloth and torpor' which I had never read about, although what I experience doesn't exactly match the description I'm reading now. Well let's hope the OP's problem is solved. Mine isn't, but I just see it as a stage.

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