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.
Digity
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Don't like to meditate

Post by 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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Ben
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by Ben » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:50 am

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

Post by 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.

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Ben
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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,

Ben
“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

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Dan74
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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.
_/|\_

Digity
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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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mikenz66
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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:
Mike

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mikenz66
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:59 am

See, for example:
http://www.buddhanet.net/imol/wrkshp.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.buddhanet.net/xmed7.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:
Mike

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Goofaholix
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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.
“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

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Kamran
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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DAWN
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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...
I'am sorry for my english

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pilgrim
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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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DAWN
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by DAWN » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:20 am

Very good advice !
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

Mawkish1983
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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.

JackV
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by 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
Here where a thousand
captains swore grand conquest
Tall grasses their monument.

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