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.
Maarten
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by Maarten » Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:33 am

I think this can be dangerous. If you have a constant aversion towards meditation you run the risk of eventually giving it up completely.
If I were you I would put my priorities on developing some pleasure in my meditation. Maybe try a different technique?
For me it is easy to get some enjoyment out of metta meditation, and I am not a very skilled meditator! Ajahn Brahm often advises in his guided meditations to cultivate pleasure, or to look for that pleasurable element in the meditation. http://www.youtube.com/user/DhammalokaMeditation" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Good luck and metta! ;)

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Hanzze
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by Hanzze » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:17 pm

Generally
Oppose Your Mind

Consider the Buddha's compassion and skill. He taught us after his own enlightenment. Finished with his own business, he got involved in ours, teaching us all these wonderful means. Concerning practice I have followed him, I have made all efforts in seeking, giving up my life to it because I believe in what the Buddha taught-that Path, fruition, and Nirvana exist. But these things are not accidental. They arise from right practice, from right effort, from being bold, daring to train, to think, to adapt, to do. This effort involves opposing your own mind.

The Buddha says not to trust the mind because it is defiled, impure, does not yet embody virtue or Dharma. In all the different practices we do, we must therefore oppose this mind. When the mind is opposed, it becomes hot and distressed, and we begin to wonder whether we are on the right path. Because practice interferes with defilement, with desire, we suffer and may even decide to stop practicing. The Buddha, however, taught that this is the correct practice and that defilement, not you, is the one that is inflamed. Naturally, such practice is difficult.

Some meditation monks only seek the Dharma according to words and books. Of course, when it is time for study, study according to the text. But when you are "fighting" with defilement, fight outside the

text. If you fight according to a model, you will not be able to stand up to the enemy. The texts only provide an example and can cause you to lose yourself because they are based on memories and concepts. Conceptual thinking creates illusion and embellishment and can take you to the heavens and hells, to the far reaches of imagination, beyond the simple truth here in front of you.

If you undertake the training, you will find that at first, physical solitude is important. When you come to live in seclusion, you can think of Sariputta's advice to monks concerning physical seclusion, mental seclusion, and seclusion from defilement and temptation. He taught that physical seclusion is the cause for the arising of mental seclusion, and mental seclusion is the cause for the arising of seclusion from defilement. Of course, if your heart is calm, you can live anywhere, but in first beginning to know Dharma, physical seclusion is invaluable Today, or any day, go and sit far away from the village. Try it, staying alone. Or go to some fearful hilltop by yourself. Then you can begin to know what it is really like to look at yourself.

Whether or not there is tranquility, do not be concerned. As long as you are practicing, you are creating right causes and will be able to make use of whatever arises. Do not be afraid that you will not succeed, will not become tranquil. If you practice sincerely, you must grow in Dharma. Those who seek will see, just as those who eat will be satisfied.
but as the pratice is not just only formal meditating, it's maybe better to opposite the mind more in daily activities (observing intentions better/constanter or/and precepts). You even would not need much formal meditation at least.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

Dinsdale
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:52 pm

Digity wrote: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
Why do you want to meditate? That might be a useful question. The calming affect of samatha can be helpful in reducing restlessness and anxiety, so that might be something to consider.

From a practical point of view you could think about trying some different types of meditation, see what suits you best. Also consider meditating at a different time of day. Be creative with your approach, try things out.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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bodom
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by bodom » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:45 pm

Try sitting along with some guided meditations. I find this extremely helpful for those days when I don't feel like sitting. Also if possible try finding a local meditation group to sit with. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a Theravadan insight meditation group, it could be zen, tibetan etc. just someplace you can sit in silence with others for a period of time.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

pegembara
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by pegembara » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:34 am

Then don't "meditate".

Just be constantly aware of your thoughts, words and deeds. Everything in your life is there to help you, to teach you, and not seen as some kind of an obstruction to meditation. You can even watch your mind coming up with excuses not to meditate. That itself is also "meditation" but I prefer to use the word mental training or bhavana.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

nobody12345
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by nobody12345 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:35 am

Ben wrote:Just do it.
Indeed.
Serious meditation is the hardest work in Samsara.
So the mind plays all the tricks and makes all the possible excuse to avoid it.
But there really is no short cut or substitute for meditation.
I have been meditating twice a day for 2 years and half and still, time to time, I have to clench my teeth and fists to sit and meditate.
Aversion toward meditation is very common and sooner or later, you need to confront it.
The mind plays trick on you over and over in order to remain in Samsara and quench its desire on various formations/objects.
If you want to progress toward freedom, you really need to confront its laziness and conformity

nobody12345
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by nobody12345 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:47 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.
That's one of my all time favorite quote of Ajahn Chah.
That very motto has been my meditation mantra for past 2 years and half.
I think a make it or break it factor of practice is consistency (i.e. keep going whether rain or shine).
Anybody can meditate when things run smoothly.
However, those who penetrated higher Dhamma are the ones who persevere in the middle of shit storms.

RatherSkeptic
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by RatherSkeptic » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:14 am

imaginos wrote: I have been meditating twice a day for 2 years and half and still, time to time, I have to clench my teeth and fists to sit and meditate.
Aversion toward meditation is very common and sooner or later, you need to confront it.
And? Did you discouver any progress during these last 2 years? Something that tells you that the confrontation will pay off in the end? Or are you telling us that you exactly still feel just like before you've started meditation?

As for me, I can totally understand Digity!

I've been doing the same for 1,5 years now, 2 times a day often - without even a trace of progress! No blissful experince, no relief of stress, no inner peace, no "weird experiences", no nimitta, no pittishuka, no sudden joy, no sudden sadness, no more mindfulness in daily life, no more concentration in daily life, no more inner peace in daily life...well, some of you might remember the other thread I've started...nothing has changed since then.

Okay, there's one effect I always feel: Exhaustion. At the end of meditating, I feel tired and exhausted every time because forcing my mind to be either aware of all distractions (Vipassana) or of concentrating on one single object (Samadhi) is just such a drain - not gain - of energy! But this is what meditation is: Forcing your mind to a meditation object or the sensations by mere willpower until... "something" happens...right?

Of course, other activites are exhausting too - like yoga, jogging, weight lifting, learning for mathematics, practising a music instrument, etc. But you get something back from these activities! You become more skillful, the hard work always pays off and you get something back from it. Which is why activities like these make sense. As for meditation, I've done it like you said, imaginos: I've clenched my teeth and worked so hard to force my mind to the object again and again, but contrary to all the other things, it has given me nothing back! It only got worse, especially right after the meditation session, I soon felt like being drowned in the stream of thoughts, making me feel like I didn't meditate at all.

So why I'm still trying to do this? Why I'm actually here? I don't know for sure anymore.

As for Digity, I can only agree with him. 'til now, it all feels like one big hoax. Are you telling me now that it's normal to feel like this for the whole first 2 years?

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DAWN
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by DAWN » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:38 am

Meditation is not about get things, meditation is about let them go (c) Ajahn Chaa

Be happy that you have nothing, it's better that have something and be attached to it.
If someone serch something to be attached on it, the one can putt a collar on the neck and attch it to something wery weigh, it's faster and better than meditation, visible right here and now.

With metta. :meditate:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

Maarten
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by Maarten » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:56 am

If you have to exert all your willpower to sit on that cushion, if it is a painful horrible experience and all you want to do is just run away then aren't you torturing yourself? Isn't that one of the extremes to be avoided on the middle way?

If it is such a horrible experience and you are getting nowhere then you are probably doing something wrong and should try to make some adjustments.

“Upali, the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities do not lead to
utter disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to
self-awakening, nor to Unbinding’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is not the
Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher’s instruction.’
“As for the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities lead to utter
disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-
awakening, to Unbinding’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is the Dhamma,
this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’”
AN 7:80

Digity
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by Digity » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:59 pm

RatherSkeptic wrote:
imaginos wrote: I have been meditating twice a day for 2 years and half and still, time to time, I have to clench my teeth and fists to sit and meditate.
Aversion toward meditation is very common and sooner or later, you need to confront it.
And? Did you discouver any progress during these last 2 years? Something that tells you that the confrontation will pay off in the end? Or are you telling us that you exactly still feel just like before you've started meditation?

As for me, I can totally understand Digity!

I've been doing the same for 1,5 years now, 2 times a day often - without even a trace of progress! No blissful experince, no relief of stress, no inner peace, no "weird experiences", no nimitta, no pittishuka, no sudden joy, no sudden sadness, no more mindfulness in daily life, no more concentration in daily life, no more inner peace in daily life...well, some of you might remember the other thread I've started...nothing has changed since then.

Okay, there's one effect I always feel: Exhaustion. At the end of meditating, I feel tired and exhausted every time because forcing my mind to be either aware of all distractions (Vipassana) or of concentrating on one single object (Samadhi) is just such a drain - not gain - of energy! But this is what meditation is: Forcing your mind to a meditation object or the sensations by mere willpower until... "something" happens...right?

Of course, other activites are exhausting too - like yoga, jogging, weight lifting, learning for mathematics, practising a music instrument, etc. But you get something back from these activities! You become more skillful, the hard work always pays off and you get something back from it. Which is why activities like these make sense. As for meditation, I've done it like you said, imaginos: I've clenched my teeth and worked so hard to force my mind to the object again and again, but contrary to all the other things, it has given me nothing back! It only got worse, especially right after the meditation session, I soon felt like being drowned in the stream of thoughts, making me feel like I didn't meditate at all.

So why I'm still trying to do this? Why I'm actually here? I don't know for sure anymore.

As for Digity, I can only agree with him. 'til now, it all feels like one big hoax. Are you telling me now that it's normal to feel like this for the whole first 2 years?
Well, since I posted this I've been more focused on improving my life circumstances to help support my meditation. For instance, I decided to take up the 5 precepts...the biggie was giving up alcohol, but I decided to do it. Lately, I have felt more motivated to meditate. What annoys me the most is how I try to control my breath so much....if I could get past that I think I'd enjoy the meditation more.

The Buddhist past has improved my life greatly. It's not just about meditation! There's the moral aspect of the path and also the awareness does help relieve suffering. As I understood that all things were impermanent I held on to things with less of a grip and that saved myself a great deal of suffering.

I don't think meditation is a hoax...I just don't think the conditions are in place for me to full benefit from it. I don't think meditation is something you can force into something. Maybe you're not ready for meditation? Maybe you need to work on other areas for that to fall into place? That's been my attitude lately. I'm questioning whether I'm really ready for meditation and what I need to improve in my life to make it a more positive experience. I think we just assume we should be good at meditation if we force it enough, but I don't think meditation is like weightlifting where it's pure exertion...it's much more subtle than that. I guess that's what frustrates me with it. Anyway, I will continue to work with the practice...I'm not going to let my current difficulties stop me from meditating, because I do think there's value in developing concentration and stilling the mind.

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reflection
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by reflection » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:17 pm

Hi to both Dignity and RatherSkeptic.

If you are suffering, you are attached to something, you crave something. Ask yourself what that could be.

I see a lot of: "If only I were more motivated, if only I could concentrate more, if only I could not control the breath etc." This attitude of trying to change things is what you take into meditation and that's exactly why it isn't working and why it isn't enjoyable. Meditation is having a good time because you don't have to become anyone or anything, you don't need to control anything. Samadhi is not a foced thing. I always dislike the translation 'concentration' for that reason. Instead, you can just let go. No need to be in control any longer, what a peace! The mind will take care of the rest. Just take doing away and peace will naturally arise.

So this:
But this is what meditation is: Forcing your mind to a meditation object or the sensations by mere willpower until... "something" happens...right?
is exactly what meditation is not. Will is one of the most important things you should let go off to get an enjoyable meditation, it's not something to use (99% of the time).

So sit down, whatever happens, it's fine. Your mind was active? ok. Your mind was peaceful? also ok. No reason to be upset, angry, disappointed, also no reason to be extra exited. It's all just nature. You can't control your own mind as you have noticed, so why get agitated about it? The more you force, the more you control, the more the mind gets annoyed. So don't get involved, that's what no-self means.

With metta,
Reflection

nobody12345
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by nobody12345 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:40 pm

@RatherSkeptic, I think you misunderstood my post.
I did not say that I have to clench my teeth and fists for 2 years and half day in and day out.
I did say 'time to time' that I have to do that in order to sit and meditate.
Overall, my meditation practice has been fruitful.
And I do experience nice things generated by meditation time to time as well.
However, my point is, the ultimate aim of practice is to see the things as they really are.
Blissed out status of the awareness with wonderful deep concentration is nice and dandy but even if one is not getting such joys, still meditation is not a waste of time.
The dry path, which is dreaded by many is not so terrible if one's aim is not about having temporary fix (blissed out) but to see the things as they really are, and as a consequence, to break out from the cosmic jail, Samsara.
And I can relate to your frustration.
But hey, at least we have a map to break out from the jail and think about all the inmates that have no clue or no long term hope while indulging endlessly in evanescent physical pleasures.
Anyway, I wish you the best for your practice.
(For a full disclosure, I experience more pain and suffering than blissed out moments but after all, we are trying to break out from the cosmic jail, Samsara so things won't be easy and that's natural. Dhamma is going against the stream of entire Samsara and if that was not the case, meditation/ jail break (from Samsara) won't be so difficult. But the funny thing about difficulties that relate to meditation is, whenever that period passed away, I found my practice progressed than before. It always goes like that for me. A certain period of difficulties and sufferings, then after the period, I found my meditation improved than before. And I am confident that even if you are frustrated about meditation, keep pursuing with perseverance is infinitely more beneficial to you than giving up meditation and follow the stream of Samsara.)

RatherSkeptic
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by RatherSkeptic » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:02 pm

reflection wrote: I see a lot of: "If only I were more motivated, if only I could concentrate more, if only I could not control the breath etc." This attitude of trying to change things is what you take into meditation and that's exactly why it isn't working and why it isn't enjoyable. Meditation is having a good time because you don't have to become anyone or anything, you don't need to control anything. Samadhi is not a foced thing. I always dislike the translation 'concentration' for that reason. Instead, you can just let go. No need to be in control any longer, what a peace! The mind will take care of the rest. Just take doing away and peace will naturally arise.
If Samadhi/Samatha is just "letting go", I wonder how to get back to the actual meditation object, the breath that is...

I mean, isn't it thaught that you have to hold on to the object for every possible moment, every millisecond? If that's not the definition of "forcing the mind", then I don't know what it is...

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reflection
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Re: Don't like to meditate

Post by reflection » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:14 pm

Hi,

The mind will hold itself, it will get itself back if it is contented where it is. So if you are not at ease and pick up the breath, it won't really work. You'll try to force, but contrary to other things in life, meditation is not learned by forcing and repeating. It learns itself in a way.

If you have some initial peace and contentment, following the breath will pretty much happen all by itself. You don't have to do anything, because everything 'you' do is disturbing the mind from a natural process. That's why letting go is backing up, it is not getting involved, it's 'you' disappearing. Perhaps just a slight nudge of the mind onto the breath is needed, that's the one percent I left open, but even that is not always needed.

So meditation is letting it all go, let thought go, let control go, let the will go, just be contented with whatever arises. Then it will be pleasant, then it'll begin to have some fruits and will become easy to maintain. It's a bit like taking a bath. You don't swim around in it, disturb the water etc. You just sit in the bath and enjoy your time. Let the water settle.

So perhaps next time you could try to develop some initial peace by just being with the present moment. Forget about the breath. If time is ready, the mind will pick it up automatically. Why? Because it becomes the coarsest thing to notice, so it's only natural.

I wish you the best.

With metta,
Reflection

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