Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Umos
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:15 pm

Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Post by Umos » Tue Jun 11, 2013 10:25 pm

daverupa wrote: Where have you picked up this instruction in the first place?

Maybe this phrase "judge an emotion" could be unpacked: do you judge negative emotions, say, as inherently sinful somehow, and feel you should not do that, or do you judge them as unskillful, and feel you should be passive upon their arising? Or something else?
Yes, I guess you could say that I judge them as unskillful in the sense that I dont pay any heed to them, I try to treat it just like "sitting", "lifting" etc. I just focus on it, being aware and watching them arise and seize. I just try to let all emotions and mindstates pass away by just observing and doing the mental note or mantra of that emotion or mindstate. I just observe and stay mindful of the happy feeling when it arises (is it not just some chemicals in the brain?) and just let it pass. Same for anger, generosity, drowsiness, the bodily movements etc.

From my understanding of mindfulness it is the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience (the 4 categories of experience). So this is not correct? Regarding the mental noting, I use it both as a crutch to keep my mind from drifting away from the present (an idle mind is often distracted), and as a way of giving the experience an objective label ("it is what it is", "nothing more, nothing less", basically).

The problem I have with this is of course the idea of unwholesome and wholesome emotions or thoughts. How do I combine my practice with this idea. From what I understand, the idea of judging unwholesome actions as bad or detrimental is counterproductive if we want to overcome them.

My understanding is very limited, I have just read the sattipattana sutta, and listened to some talks and videos about meditating so doubting seems like a good thing to me, as it would be shocking if I have full understanding of correct practice and no need to doubt if I am doing it correctly. I dont think it would be correct to try to overcome this doubting by just being mindful of it and not ask questions about correct understanding of the dhamma.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16452
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:40 am

Hi Umos,

Perhaps if you can tell us what talks and/or what reading you are basing your meditation approach on, we can suggest something reasonably compatible to read. You're describing the approach taught by Sayadaw Mahasi, and his students such as U Pandita. Bhikkhu Pesala's site: www.aimwell.org has quite a lot of useful material, including an on-line version of U Pandita's book In This Very Life.
Unfortunately the site seems to be having some difficulties right now.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
Zenainder
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 11:10 am

Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Post by Zenainder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:05 pm

I don't believe anyone has referred this, but it may shed some helpful insight:

"Q: I still have very many thoughts. My mind wanders a lot even though I am trying to be mindful.

Answer: Don't worry about this. Try to keep your mind in the present. Whatever there is that arises in the mind, just watch it. Let go of it. Don't even wish to be rid of thoughts. Then the mind will reach its natural state. No discriminating between good and bad, hot and cold, fast and slow. No me and no you, no self at all. Just what there is. When you walk on alms-round, no need to do anything special. Simply walk and see what there is. No need to cling to isolation or seclusion. Wherever you are, know yourself by being natural and watching. If doubts arise, watch them come and go. It's very simple. Hold on to nothing. It is as though you are walking down a road. Periodically you will run into obstacles. When you meet defilements, just see them and just overcome them by letting go of them. don't think about the obstacles you have passed already. Don't worry about those you have not yet seen. Stick to the present. Don't be concerned about the length of the road or about the destination. Everything is changing. Whatever you pass, do not cling to it. Eventually the mind will reach its natural balance where practice is automatic. All things will come and go of themselves."

"Q: What can I do about doubts? Some days I'm plagued with doubts about the practice or my own progress, or the teacher.

Answer: Doubting is natural. Everyone starts out with doubts. You can learn a great deal from them. What is important is that you don't identify with your doubts: that is, don't get caught up in them. This will spin your mind in endless circles. Instead, watch the whole process of doubting, of wondering. See who it is that doubts. See how doubts come and go. Then you will no longer be victimized by your doubts. You will step outside of them and your mind will be quiet. You can see how all things come and go. Just let go of what you are attached to. Let go of your doubts and simply watch. This is how to end doubting."


Information from an interview with Ajahn Chah:
http://www.buddhanet.net/bodhiny2.htm

User avatar
daverupa
Posts: 5980
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Post by daverupa » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:24 pm

Umos wrote:From what I understand, the idea of judging unwholesome actions as bad or detrimental is counterproductive if we want to overcome them.
But they are detrimental, which is how they qualify for the description "unwholesome".

Wholesome v. unwholesome is a judgment that can be accurate or inaccurate, but it's essential to learn & know what's what with respect to wholesome and unwholesome action in order to make progress.

So, while we must judge anger as unwholesome, hating anger (for example) isn't the way forward. But, anger is judged, found wanting, and uprooted by arousing non-ill-will such as good will and the like.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

User avatar
Zenainder
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 11:10 am

Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Post by Zenainder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:28 pm

I think it is fundamental not to identify with the doubt that arises, simply be mindful and objectively observe it. "You" are not doubting because doubt arises. The only time we "doubt" is through the delusion of identity (self). Refrain from seeing doubt thinking "I am doubting", instead when you see doubt arise use the noting / mantra technique to assist in creating objective awareness and observe the doubt arise, exist, and disappear. Then you may conclude "doubt is aries from x view and is a mental phenomom and is imperament and stressful" and so unfetter yourself from it.

When anything arises remain detached and objectively observe it for what it is.

At least this is how I have come to understand it.

Metta,

Zen

Umos
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:15 pm

Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Post by Umos » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:13 pm

My doubting about whether I practice the correct way of Sayadaw Mahasi practice is much weaker now. I think there was some tunnel vision and semantics that had arisen in the mind. I see that I should focus more on the detachment and objective observation and less on the labeling of phenomena as "neutral". I am reading Ajahn Chah's "A still forest pool" now. Is this fairly compatible with the Sayadaw Mahasi tradition Ive been doing so far or will confusion arise in the mind?

User avatar
Zenainder
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 11:10 am

Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Post by Zenainder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:04 pm

Umos wrote:My doubting about whether I practice the correct way of Sayadaw Mahasi practice is much weaker now. I think there was some tunnel vision and semantics that had arisen in the mind. I see that I should focus more on the detachment and objective observation and less on the labeling of phenomena as "neutral". I am reading Ajahn Chah's "A still forest pool" now. Is this fairly compatible with the Sayadaw Mahasi tradition Ive been doing so far or will confusion arise in the mind?
Q: What about other methods of practice? These days there seem to be so many teachers and so many different systems of meditation that it is confusing.

Answer (Ajhan Chah): It is like going into town. One can approach from the north,from the southeast, from many roads. Often these systems just differ outwardly. Whether you walk one way or another, fast or slow, if you are mindful, it is all the same. There is one essential point that all good practice must eventually come to--not clinging. In the end, all meditation systems must be let go of. Neither can one cling to the teacher. If a system leads to relinquishment, to not clinging, then it is correct practice. You may wish to travel, to visit other teachers and try other systems.Some of you have already done so. This is a natural desire. You will find out that a thousand questions asked and knowledge of many systems will not bring you to the truth. Eventually you will get bored. You will see that only by stopping and examining your own mind can you find our what the Buddha talked about. No need to go searching outside yourself. Eventually you must return to face your own true nature. Here is where you can understand the Dhamma.

Umos
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:15 pm

Re: Feeling that I am lying to myself while meditating

Post by Umos » Wed Jun 12, 2013 7:52 pm

Zenainder wrote:
Umos wrote:My doubting about whether I practice the correct way of Sayadaw Mahasi practice is much weaker now. I think there was some tunnel vision and semantics that had arisen in the mind. I see that I should focus more on the detachment and objective observation and less on the labeling of phenomena as "neutral". I am reading Ajahn Chah's "A still forest pool" now. Is this fairly compatible with the Sayadaw Mahasi tradition Ive been doing so far or will confusion arise in the mind?
Q: What about other methods of practice? These days there seem to be so many teachers and so many different systems of meditation that it is confusing.

Answer (Ajhan Chah): It is like going into town. One can approach from the north,from the southeast, from many roads. Often these systems just differ outwardly. Whether you walk one way or another, fast or slow, if you are mindful, it is all the same. There is one essential point that all good practice must eventually come to--not clinging. In the end, all meditation systems must be let go of. Neither can one cling to the teacher. If a system leads to relinquishment, to not clinging, then it is correct practice. You may wish to travel, to visit other teachers and try other systems.Some of you have already done so. This is a natural desire. You will find out that a thousand questions asked and knowledge of many systems will not bring you to the truth. Eventually you will get bored. You will see that only by stopping and examining your own mind can you find our what the Buddha talked about. No need to go searching outside yourself. Eventually you must return to face your own true nature. Here is where you can understand the Dhamma.
thanks. I liked that answer and am mindful of the liking. :)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 29 guests