Trouble with meditation....

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Trouble with meditation....

Postby OneofMany » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:26 pm

I try to take any moment I can to practice mindfulness and meditation.

That being said, I have my preferred methods, and have been experiencing difficulty with meditation when out and about. So say I'm at the local gardens or park, or anywhere really, many times, a person will walk up to me and start to chat. I'll smile out of curtsey(sp?), but really feel irritated at the interruption.

I've tried maintaining distance,(it just causes them to yell-talk), at last resort I just up and leave if possible. Many times, these folks just seem to need a human mirror or bounce board to talk to, in which they endlessly ask themselves aloud, then answer themselves in the next breath, many don't seem to make much eye-contact, and seem to talk to the air(?) Some don't seem to even take a breath whislt talking, so I end up spending time trying to find the opportunity to interrupt and say something to end the conversation, which can take awhile.

I've heard of deep listening, as a method for meditation. I think that may help with my irritation, does anyone have any links, or pointers? What do you do when lonely people won't leave you alone?
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby Ayu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:28 pm

Hi OneofMany,
sorry, i don't know anything about deep listening.
I just like to tell, that i had something resembling sometimes. When i did meditation outside somewhere, just sitting humbly doing nothing special or noticeable, people like to come near me. I sit at the beach and there is plenty of room, no person around... Then two people came along, enjoy sitting 3 meters aside to me.... Sitting and talking loudly. Oh, man. :smile:
I had this sometimes here and there, as long as it bothered me. This phenomenon vanished as soon as i accepted it.
But i find it strange.
Seems like i was like a draw for them, unconciously.
Best wishes, Ayu
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:13 pm

OneofMany wrote:I try to take any moment I can to practice mindfulness and meditation.

That being said, I have my preferred methods, and have been experiencing difficulty with meditation when out and about. So say I'm at the local gardens or park, or anywhere really, many times, a person will walk up to me and start to chat. I'll smile out of curtsey(sp?), but really feel irritated at the interruption.


I used to meditate during lunch around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC near a government building where I was working. The above experience happened frequently.

You can be mindful in public. You can't really meditate in public. That's really it.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby Ayu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:03 pm

You can't really meditate in public.

I don't agree with that.
It is a good training - but it is nicer without public, that's true.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby Monsoon » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:09 pm

It's a common human behaviour. If you wish to observe it in action go and park your car in an empty parking lot. It won't be long before otehr people will park next to you rather than choosing from all the other empty spaces. It's a kind of herd mentality I guess! :thinking:

Anyhoo, surely if someone comes to talk to you that is a great time to practice mindfulness?
Let peace reign!

Metta,

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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby wisdom » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:56 pm

Whatever arises, let that be the basis of your meditation. If someone comes up and irritation arises, rather than attaching to it and seeking to follow through with completing an action based on irritation (which just generates more karma) simply look at your irritation and let it be, since letting thoughts be without attachment is the basic premise of Shamatha. This is the only way you can transform this experience into a meditative one rather than a wholly samsaric one.
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:07 pm

Ayu wrote:
You can't really meditate in public.

I don't agree with that.
It is a good training - but it is nicer without public, that's true.


You can't meditate in public where the meditation requires full attention to the object of meditation. So you can't even really do real shamatha or Zen meditation to say nothing of more complex meditation in public. As noted, you can take the reactions to the experiences as the object of meditation but you can't give full attention to the breath, points in the body, visualization, etc.

You can do tonglen and lovingkindness meditation though and you can do insight meditation (taking the reactions to the experiences as the object of meditation is a form of insight meditation).

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby Ayu » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:51 am

Dear Kirtu,

There is quite a range between 0% and 100% of perfect meditation.
I agree, the perfect 100% Shamata one can do better in a very calm place. But if he has some other obstacles from inside ( harming of the silas for example) he can't even do it then in the right way.
Obstacles are various.

A 20%-Sadhana in the public is 100% better than doing no sadhana at all.

With regards, Ayu
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby mandala » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:44 am

OneofMany wrote:I've heard of deep listening, as a method for meditation. I think that may help with my irritation, does anyone have any links, or pointers? What do you do when lonely people won't leave you alone?


Oh yea, I hear you.
I love solitude and quiet and never feel like I need to chat to strangers to break the silence - yet I also appear to be a 'freak magnet' (and I mean that in the nicest way, as someone who looks like a freak)... random people always corner me for a chat.

"Deep listening" is a good description - if someone's going to chatter to you, you may as well spend the time being focused on them rather than wishing you were somewhere else.
Meditation? not really. Mindfulness - for sure. Being fully present and hearing what someone has to say & acknowledging their presence can be quite grounding (not to mention, appreciated by the other). You may even find it rewarding!
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby Monsoon » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:52 am

Of course the other side of this particular coin is why you would try to meditate in a place where you are likely to get disturbed. :shrug: If you want uninterrupted quiet, go somewhere quiet. Simples!
Let peace reign!

Metta,

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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby Ayu » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:15 pm

Monsoon wrote:Of course the other side of this particular coin is why you would try to meditate in a place where you are likely to get disturbed. :shrug: If you want uninterrupted quiet, go somewhere quiet. Simples!

For me it is a matter of staying in the flow of my practice.
If i would wait to do meditation until i have a quiet lonesome time, there would be gaps in my routine. Sometimes i do practice in the car or in the tube or by taking a walk. I'm used to it, and i had one of my deepest meditations lying on the lawn of the public open-air pool.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby zangskar » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:49 pm

In my opinion, just lie down or sit on a bench like you were sleeping, so people don't get attracted to your extraordinary appearance, wear earphones like you were listening to something. If you must sit crosslegged you could hang a Do-not-disturb sign around your neck , use blinders/sunglasses and earplugs, or use an appropriate mudra that will work for you and sends an unmistakeable message to bypassers. If you notice anyone talking to you just ignore it.(Don't block the nose or it will become a kind of breath exercise).
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby OneofMany » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:55 am

Thank you for all your replies!

Hi Ayu!
That's cool how as soon as accepted that one phenomenon it vanished, I've had similar happen. In some I noticed it was a change in body language, or I would experiment with people on how my tone, lexicon, and/or subtle body language would impact their behavior, it was really odd as it seemed like the various folks(family members/friends) didn't notice I was testing/observing them and noting their reactions. With this more recent issue it's become more of a problem since school got out and everyone is every.where. Seriously, it's surreal how crowded my old hangouts have gotten. I can see how you say meditating in public is good training, it's like if you can meditate here, you can meditate anywhere...kinda thing.

@zangskar, Really good suggestions, thank you! I look forward to trying them out. I never thought of lying down or feigning sleep. Earphones are hit or miss, sometimes people will just scream louder. lol. Thank you for the picture too!

@Monsoon, totally agree and absolute preference on several of your points. I have two (active)little kids, and the only time I can sit and meditate is after they fall asleep or in a class/activity so much too little for my taste really and want to expand I suppose. :D So, I grab any quiet moment I can get, whether that's at a gym, park, waiting in line.....every moment counts. :D Plus I figure there's something wrong with my body language or something that I attract these situations or at least there is something I can work on to improve myself(like use each moment to it's fullest kinda thing). :D

I mean that in the nicest way, as someone who looks like a freak
Ha ha,I'm a freak, so yeah, I find it odd, these people, generally women, just divulge all their problems/worries/medical history/TMI..etc., and I'm just like O.o. wait why? Like you said though, doing the Deep Listening thing has really helped, rather than fight/struggle with the moment, (start trying to escape, find a window of breath so I can interrupt and leave, etc.)... I relax, and I guess use them as a focal.

I agree, the perfect 100% Shamata one can do better in a very calm place. But if he has some other obstacles from inside ( harming of the silas for example) he can't even do it then in the right way.
Obstacles are various.
So true, I like how you do a sort of living meditation so to speak. Totally awesome!

You can do tonglen and lovingkindness meditation though and you can do insight meditation (taking the reactions to the experiences as the object of meditation is a form of insight meditation).
I'm still a beginner meditator so yeah, I'll have to look up tonglen & lovingkindness, but cool, thanks! I love pointers!

If someone comes up and irritation arises, rather than attaching to it and seeking to follow through with completing an action based on irritation (which just generates more karma) simply look at your irritation and let it be,
I noticed I have trouble with the "let it be" aspect, it's not hard to refrain from external action or sitting with the irritation, watching it rise and fall; just sometimes the feeling "sticks" so to speak, or I have a hard time letting it pass through me or crest(as at times it appears wave-like)...if that makes sense. :0) Is that something that gets easier with practice?

Anyway, thank you for all your thoughtful, kind, and insightful replies. It has really helped.
:namaste:
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby avisitor » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:52 am

OneofMany wrote:I try to take any moment I can to practice mindfulness and meditation.

That being said, I have my preferred methods, and have been experiencing difficulty with meditation when out and about. So say I'm at the local gardens or park, or anywhere really, many times, a person will walk up to me and start to chat. I'll smile out of curtsey(sp?), but really feel irritated at the interruption.

I've tried maintaining distance,(it just causes them to yell-talk), at last resort I just up and leave if possible. Many times, these folks just seem to need a human mirror or bounce board to talk to, in which they endlessly ask themselves aloud, then answer themselves in the next breath, many don't seem to make much eye-contact, and seem to talk to the air(?) Some don't seem to even take a breath whislt talking, so I end up spending time trying to find the opportunity to interrupt and say something to end the conversation, which can take awhile.

I've heard of deep listening, as a method for meditation. I think that may help with my irritation, does anyone have any links, or pointers? What do you do when lonely people won't leave you alone?


Have you ever looked at why you want to control the situation so much and why you get annoyed at people for interrupting you??
Mindfulness and meditation should be able to let one maintain calm and equanimity.
So watch what is happening ...
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Re: Trouble with meditation....

Postby dimeo » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:17 pm

Perhaps consider the questions: What do you ultimately practice mindfulness and meditation for? Is it for the benefit of yourself or others? To what purpose?

I also like to go out and meditate in the park. Sometimes I feel a little self conscous about what these people around me might think. I've always been left alone however...


OneofMany wrote: have been experiencing difficulty with meditation when out and about....a person will walk up to me and start to chat.... I really feel irritated at the interruption.


We are learning through meditation to be mindful and compassionate towards others. This irritation you experience is aversion... there are many teaching about this. It is good to accompany your meditation by readings of teachings. Sometimes others seem to not do what I wish them to, but such is life isn't it!! For me it's the people near my home who are disturbing the peace with their noise pollution: the guy down the road who drives his loud car, and the other guy who pumps his radio so we all have to listen to his annoying music. It's very inconsiderate of them. And I struggle to learn how to be at peace with whatever phenomenon arises at this moment.

I think for this reason there is a long tradition of doing a retreat into the stillness of remote nature. I often seek solitude for a long hike in the woods. I come across only one or two people in an hour. I can sit and meditate if I wish and have very few interruptions. I bring provisions so I can stay for a many hours if I wish.


Many times, these folks just seem to need a human mirror or bounce board to talk to...

It is a nice thing to feel included, have friendship or companionship. We all experience strong feelings of lordliness at times. It sounds as though you do not feel you are seeking the company of others at this moment in your life. But perhaps you can imagine some point in your life where you feel intensely alone and wish to have some company of another person.


in which they endlessly ask themselves aloud, then answer themselves in the next breath, many don't seem to make much eye-contact, and seem to talk to the air(?) Some don't seem to even take a breath whislt talking, so I end up spending time trying to find the opportunity to interrupt and say something to end the conversation, which can take awhile.


They may be people with some mental health issues or limited social skills (ie Autism or aspergers).


I've heard of deep listening, as a method for meditation. I think that may help with my irritation, does anyone have any links, or pointers?


Some more suggestions and thoughts....

Perhaps you are being presented with opportunities you are not aware of yet? Things "as they are" may be right under your nose and rich with potential. :twothumbsup:

I've enjoyed a good thread on this forum about the joys of walking meditation. Think of it as a kind of secret meditation under cover. :spy:

Find a way to do a meditation retreat, so you can have sustained practice without interruption.

Get up earlier, and meditate early in the morning before others are even awake yet. If you go out the park, bring what you need to stay warm, and a groundsheet to put on the wet ground/ bench.

Go to a library where the expectation is for people to be quiet. Grab a magazine so it looks like you're "reading" then sit and meditate for a while until something inevitably comes along to interrupt. Then consider the constant cycle of arising and cessation of all phenomena. Then consider the challenge to learn how to accept the "suchness" of life. :rolling: There's always something!
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