The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Babadhari
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:23 pm
Location: lalita ghat

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Post by Babadhari » Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:04 pm

Bodhisurfer wrote:

and I'm going to turn this computer off and start now :anjali:

:computerproblem: :thumbsup: :sage:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28

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Weakfocus
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Month 6

Post by Weakfocus » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:39 am

Fifth month of daily sitting is over. Time for the monthly 'report card'.

On 23 December I decided to change the height of the cushion I put under my ass. Until then I had been sitting on a firm cushion that boosted me about 3.5", and thus made sitting very easy. But I got to thinking that I would not have such a high cushion when I go to my Vipassana course sometime in the next few months, and thus chose a more realistic cushion that raised my hips only an inch.

The effect of this change was dramatic. Sittings became very difficult, I could not keep my back straight for more than 10 seconds and there was strong discomfort in legs and lower back. My legs started falling asleep big time, it would take 3-4 minutes to wake them up after a sitting. It was back to square one, the daily sittings became daily torture session. All the discomfort that I experienced in my first few months came back. I found it very difficult to maintain awareness of breath in face of this challenge.

Most alarmingly, my motivation to meditate daily started to weaken. I was no longer meditating, but merely enduring. So I accepted my weakness and deloaded to sittings of smaller duration and built up my confidence and mindfulness all over again. The body is malleable and the mind is trainable, so now by the end of the month I find these sittings 'doable' again. Daily sittings are no longer a torture, although still a healthy challenge.

The experience of this month is almost indescribable. It was like going through all the experiences of first three months, all over again, in just twenty days. Most months uptil now have been an exercise in surviving the crucible, but this month was special. It was as if someone (er, me) put a lid on my crucible and turned the heat upto 11. A real pressure cooker of a month. All the same, a very beneficial month. I found my limits. I learnt very important lessons in patience and perseverance, this should help me in future when other challenges arise.

As I end this month I find many positives. Earlier my tendency in face of physical discomfort was to start building pleasant fictional thought worlds to distract the mind, this time I spent far more time in noting the sensation and bringing back the attention to breath.

As a result of that, my mindfulness has not really weakened compared to last month. Inspite of all the drama I am infact ahead. During sittings, there is an almost constant awareness of some sensation or the other in the moustache area, although my aim for now is to stay with respiration and not observe these sensation. My legs now wake up in 30 seconds or less. I am able to keep back straight and sit very still for almost sixty seconds at a time. Everything is improving steadily. Best part is now I am more aware of mind losing its awareness of breath, and thus able to bring it back to breath more quickly. I no longer spend five minutes or more in thought worlds, I am able to catch myself in less than two minutes. Progress.


And now onto the sixth month. This month I resolve to practice Anapanasati meditation every morning and evening for at least 45 minutes. The aim is to maintain persistent, unbroken awareness of incoming and outgoing breath, as much as possible.


20140115
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140116
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140117
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140118
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 40 minute evening sitting>

20140119
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140120
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140121
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140122
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140123
Morning sitting.
<Failure>

20140124
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140125
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140126
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140127
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 40 minute evening sitting>

20140128
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140129
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140130
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140131
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.


From today till 14 Feb 2014, I will meditate 50 minutes every morning and evening.

20140201
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 45 minute evening sitting>

20140202
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140203
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 45 minute evening sitting>

20140204
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140205
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140206
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140207
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140208
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140209
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140210
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140211
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140212
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140213
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140214
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

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Weakfocus
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Month 7

Post by Weakfocus » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:30 am

Another month is gone. :broke:

If last month I suffered physically, this month it was my turn to be defeated mentally. Mental focus became very weak. I lost most all touch of respiration, and keeping the mind focused on incoming and outgoing breath became a huge chore. Mind became extremely wild and started spending long periods in fictional thought worlds. I felt very helpless, nothing worked. There were some sittings in which I had no awareness of respiration except for one or two breaths. I have not experienced such poor mindfullness until now, as a beginner I had better focus and concenteration.

I will keep making my best efforts. There were one or two sittings when I was able to keep attention on breath as well as I ever have, so it was not all bad. Just going through a trough, I suppose. I have always been avid for quick progress on the path, patience is a virtue I sorely lack. So this month was a hard lesson that taught me to make persistent effort without expectations. Very humbling.

And now onto the seventh month. This month I resolve to practice Anapanasati meditation every morning and evening for at least 55 minutes.


20140215
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140216
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 50 minute Evening Sitting>

20140217
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140218
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140219
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 45 minute Evening Sitting>

20140220
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140221
<Failure, 45 minute Morning Sitting>
<Failure, 50 minute Evening Sitting>

20140222
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 50 minute Evening Sitting>

20140223
<Failure, 50 minute Morning Sitting>
<Failure, 45 minute Evening Sitting>

20140224
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140225
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 50 minute Evening Sitting>

20140226
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140227
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 50 minute Evening Sitting>

20140228
Morning sitting.
<Failure>

20140301
<Failure, 50 minute Morning Sitting>
Evening sitting.

20140302
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140303
<Failure, 50 minute Morning Sitting>
Evening sitting.

20140304
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140305
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140306
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140307
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140308
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140309
Morning sitting.
<Failure, 50 minute Evening Sitting>

20140310
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140311
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140312
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140313
Morning sitting.
<Failure>

20140314
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.
Last edited by Weakfocus on Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:21 pm, edited 53 times in total.

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rowboat
Posts: 700
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Location: Brentwood Bay

Re: Month 7

Post by rowboat » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:35 am

Weakfocus wrote:Another month is gone. :broke:

If last month I suffered physically, this month it was my turn to be defeated mentally. Mental focus became very weak. I lost most all touch of respiration, and keeping the mind focused on incoming and outgoing breath became a huge chore. Mind became extremely wild and started spending long periods in fictional thought worlds. I felt very helpless, nothing worked.
Hi, Weakfocus. I recommend that you practice walking meditation for at least 45 minutes before any sitting meditation. If you persist you cannot be defeated.

:anjali:
Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

Babadhari
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:23 pm
Location: lalita ghat

Re: Month 7

Post by Babadhari » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:35 pm

rowboat wrote:
Weakfocus wrote:Another month is gone. :broke:

If last month I suffered physically, this month it was my turn to be defeated mentally. Mental focus became very weak. I lost most all touch of respiration, and keeping the mind focused on incoming and outgoing breath became a huge chore. Mind became extremely wild and started spending long periods in fictional thought worlds. I felt very helpless, nothing worked.
Hi, Weakfocus. I recommend that you practice walking meditation for at least 45 minutes before any sitting meditation. If you persist you cannot be defeated.

:anjali:
might i suggest you pick a new name?????????????????? :tongue:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28

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m0rl0ck
Posts: 1193
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Post by m0rl0ck » Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:34 am

1.75 hours today.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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m0rl0ck
Posts: 1193
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Post by m0rl0ck » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:42 pm

.75 hours yesterday.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Sokehi
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Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Post by Sokehi » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:18 pm

my Adhitthana for the rest of february:
at least 30 min. of sitting meditation a day
at least 30 min. of walking meditation a day
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

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Dinsdale
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Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:25 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:1.75 hours today.
That's quite impressive. I "peaked" at around 2 hours a day a couple of years ago and it's been down-hill ever since. ;)
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Abs.truth
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:05 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Post by Abs.truth » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:48 am

To Weakfocus,

Thanks for the idea of maintaining the log.

I will now keep log for 3 things from tomorrow 20Feb2014:
1) Morning: (20 min) meditation
2) Afternoon: (20 min) alternate sitting & walking meditation for atleast 2.5 hours
3) Morning & Evening: Keeping mindfulness while working in kitchen

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m0rl0ck
Posts: 1193
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Post by m0rl0ck » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:46 am

30 mins yesterday 45 today.
That's quite impressive. I "peaked" at around 2 hours a day a couple of years ago and it's been down-hill ever since. ;)
I can usually only do that on weekend days. :)
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Weakfocus
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Month 8

Post by Weakfocus » Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:18 am

Seventh month is done.

This month started awful. Daily sittings were going 'wrong', virtually no mindfulness no matter how hard I tried. I simply could not stay aware of incoming and outgoing breath. For the few seconds I could keep the mind on breath, I would notice that my natural breath was like loud bellows and yet I could not feel its touch at all. Mental. I was coming to hate these sittings since I could not cope with the intense pain of the last 10 minutes. I came very near to quitting in frustration. I was also feeling very miserable and depressed in general for inexplicable reasons; I have not noticed such strong suicidal urges and feeling of hopelessness since the month I started this practice.

Anyway, I persisted with daily sittings and then had a breakthrough in March. One day before sitting I told myself that maybe I was trying too hard to stay aware of respiration. So I decided to quit fretting about slow progress, pain and all the rest and just sit with breath for as long as I could. And the instant I accepted that this practice was a marathon and not a sprint after all, my breath became light and refined and mindfulness improved dramatically. So much so that I was surprised when the alarm rang, unlike in the days past when I would be wishing for alarm to ring to end my torture.

So I get to experience the extremes in the same month, yet again. Mind is now wandering much less, and comes back to breath much sooner. Towards the end of the month I began to experience good mindfulness. I have a feeling that in future I will look back at this month as the turning point of my practice, and possibly life. I made big progress this month, something I would not have thought possible the way things started in Feburary.

Physical and mental hindrances are all either reducing or do not have as much power over me as they did until a couple weeks ago. I can maintain fairly good, stable posture for most of the sitting, I only have to straighten the back maybe once every five minutes or so. It is only the last ten minutes that are rather challenging on the lower back, and the sharp pain destroys my awareness of the breath. But that will also improve with time and persistent efforts.

And now onto the eighth month. This month I resolve to practice Anapanasati meditation every morning and evening for at least 60 minutes. I may not have internet access for upto two weeks this month, so some entries will be missing. But I will be sitting everyday. I am not going to quit after coming so far.


20140315
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140316
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140317
55 minute Morning sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140318
55 minute Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140319
55 minute Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140320
55 minute Morning sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140321
Morning sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140322
Morning sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140323
55 minute Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140324
55 minute Morning sitting.
45 minute Evening sitting.

20140325
Morning sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140326
55 minute Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140327
Morning sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140328
50 minute Morning sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

29 to 13:
Did my morning and evening sittings, although most were less than 60 minutes.

20140414
55 minute Morning sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.
Last edited by Weakfocus on Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:13 pm, edited 29 times in total.

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Ben
Posts: 18442
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Location: kanamaluka

Re: The Dhamma Wheel Meditation Challenge

Post by Ben » Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:14 am

Hi weakfocus,
Well done. When meditation becomes unpleasant there is a tendency for some of us to think we are going backwards. But one's experience of meditation is no indication of our progress. Keep that in mind the next time you are facing difficulties.
I wish you all the best with your resolve to meditate for two hours a day. It's the same length and frequency that I meditate. My advice to you is to treat yourself kindly. If you do not make a sit - so be it. It's more important that it becomes a regular part of your life and that it becomes am established part of your life. In my experience, that only happens when you are relaxed and comfortable.
I wish you every success.
With metta,
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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Weakfocus
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Month 9

Post by Weakfocus » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:54 am

For some time now I have been feeling the need/desire for a third sitting. So this month my resolve is to do three Anapanasati sittings a day: morning and evening sittings for 60 minutes, and an afternoon sitting of 30 minutes duration to begin with. Eventual aim is to have three equal length sittings per day, but that will have to be done gradually lest the mind rebel hard and upsets the usual two sittings.


20140415
50 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140416
50 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140417
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140418
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
<Failure>

20140419
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140420
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140421
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140422
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140423
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140424
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
40 minute Evening sitting.

20140425
50 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140426
55 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140427
55 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
40 minute Evening sitting.

20140428
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140429
35 minute Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140430
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140501
<Failure>
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140502
55 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140503
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140504
55 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140505
45 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140506
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140507
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140508
55 minute Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140509
50 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140510
50 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
45 minute Evening sitting.

20140511
40 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140512
50 minute Morning sitting.
<Failure>
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140513
55 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140514
50 minute Morning sitting.
<Failure>
<Failure>
Last edited by Weakfocus on Thu May 15, 2014 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Weakfocus
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Month 10

Post by Weakfocus » Thu May 15, 2014 11:11 am

This month I resolve to do three Anapanasati sittings a day: morning and evening sittings for 60 minutes, and an afternoon sitting of 35 minutes duration.


20140515
30 minute Morning sitting.
25 minute Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140516
55 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140517
40 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
<Failure>

20140518
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140519
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140520
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140521
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140522
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140523
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
<Failure>

20140524
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140525
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
<Failure>

20140526
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
<Failure>

20140527
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140528
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140529
Morning sitting.
30 minute Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140530
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140531
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140601
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140602
55 minute Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140603
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
30 minute Evening sitting.

20140604
45 minute Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140605
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140606
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140607
55 minute Morning sitting.
<Failure>
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140608
55 minute Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140609
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

20140610
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
50 minute Evening sitting.

20140611
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140612
Morning sitting.
<Failure>
55 minute Evening sitting.

20140613
55 minute Morning sitting.
<Failure>
Evening sitting.

20140614
Morning sitting.
Afternoon sitting.
Evening sitting.

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