reinvigorgating practice

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

reinvigorgating practice

Postby lisehull » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:22 pm

I have been meditating almost daily for almost five years. I found myself having resistance to sitting and when I discussed this with my teacher, she suggested I take a break to assess what meditation brings to my life and to see what works for me. She said it was normal to need to take a break and not to feel guilty about doing so.
It's been almost two months (I still do a weekly Green Tara meditation), and I am still having trouble determining how to reinvigorate my practice. I have been reading Buddhist-related books as well, but not the intensive, complex ones I had been struggling with, so I am not totally divorced from practicing and study. I am a Vajrayana practitioner.
Any suggestions on how to reinvigorate my practice are greatly appreciated. I would like to get going again soon.
:namaste:
Lise
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby Jesse » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:03 am

Good old suffering usually does it for me, but I would also suggest praying.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby futerko » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:14 am

What tradition do you practice?

I find that watching or listening to a dharma talk can motivate me, either recorded or streaming, so even if it's not formal practice, I'm still contemplating the relevant ideas.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby lisehull » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:30 pm

I am a Kagyu practitioner (Karma and Shangpa). My teacher told me not to rush back to practicing, but the longer I am away from it, the more I feel reluctance to begin again, even though there is suffering. I am hoping my reading will help spur me on, but I feel the need for more motivation. Thank you for the suggestions so far.
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby anjali » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:55 am

lisehull wrote:I am a Kagyu practitioner (Karma and Shangpa). My teacher told me not to rush back to practicing, but the longer I am away from it, the more I feel reluctance to begin again, even though there is suffering. I am hoping my reading will help spur me on, but I feel the need for more motivation. Thank you for the suggestions so far.
:namaste:
Lise

Hi Lise,

Having problems sitting/needing to take a break is perfectly ok. When it happens for me, I take post-meditation as my primary practice--seeing perception and thoughts as empty. I also spend more time reading/studying. Have you by any chance read the wonderful book by Gendun Rinpoche, Heart Advice from a Mahamudra Master? It gives excellent advice on approaching all aspects of practice and assessing our meditation.

It might be worth spending some time assessing whether there is any subtle tension/grasping/forcing in how you practice or want to practice (not saying there is). If there is, it's guaranteed the mind will rebel in equally subtle and not so subtle ways. Also, with the right approach, that feeling of reluctance itself can be used as the path, since it arises in the mind and is therefore empty.

I'm not sure how long your meditations were, but rather than doing longer ones--even as long as 30 minutes, you might want to try short meditations in the area of 5-15 minutes, but perhaps done more often during the day (if possible). I've found that to be effective. It provides a sense of freshness and breaks up a lifeless routine. The main thing is don't cling to how your meditations used to be. Let the staleness of the old go, and relax. Find your own way to bring a new freshness and living joy into your practice--as if you were taking a deep breath of invigorating fresh mountain air.

Hope these were of some value. Best wishes!
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: reinvigorating practice

Postby lisehull » Sat Jan 05, 2013 1:29 am

Hi Anjali, thanks for the suggestions and insight into addressing this issue. I will try to get a copy of the book. Is it a fairly easy read? That is what I need these days!
:thanks:
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Re: reinvigorating practice

Postby anjali » Sat Jan 05, 2013 5:49 am

lisehull wrote:Hi Anjali, thanks for the suggestions and insight into addressing this issue. I will try to get a copy of the book. Is it a fairly easy read? That is what I need these days!
:thanks:
:namaste:
Lise


Hi again. Yes, Gendun Rinpoche's book is quiet easy to read. Almost no dharma jargon and how he expresses the Mahamudra perspective is very clear and straight forward with excellent insight and advice on practice--at least in my opinion. I happen to be on my third reading of it at the moment.

In your posts, you didn't mention the kinds of meditation you were doing. I'm guessing Mahamudra shamatha/vipashyana? Also, you mentioned having a teacher. Hopefully you've been able to get good advice on how to proceed. Meditation can definitely have it's ups and downs over the years, and there are several ways of working with the mind at different times to help smooth things out a bit. If you want to discuss more, but perhaps don't want to discuss in an open forum, feel free to send me a PM.

Kind regards...
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby greentara » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:21 pm

Lisahull, To reinvigorate practice one needs devotion, heart melting devotion otherwise one often finds the practice arid and devoid of 'juice'
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Re: reinvigorating practice

Postby lisehull » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:07 pm

And, how does one develop such devotion?
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:52 pm

I would recommend going back to contemplating the basics: the four thoughts that turn ones mind towards the Dharma. But really, seriously, contemplating them, both as a formal practice and by looking at their significance in my day to day activities.

I would also look at what is causing the resistance. Normally it is ego centred expectations. Nothing else. Granted they may be multi-layered, complex, logical, etc... but when you peel them away you just find ego.

Or, you could just take your teachers advice and chill out for a while. Just make sure Yama doesn't come calling in the meantime and leave you with feelings of guilt or compunctions during the bardo of death. That'll really ruin your next life!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby Zenda » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:08 pm

Hi Lise.

I have gone (and periodically go) through these kinds of periods. In my experience, a lot of it has to do with resistance and I find that practicing even a little each day and taking a light touch with practice really helps, as does letting go of expectations about how the practice should be. I also find it helpful to practice with other sangha members, whether in person or via Skype.

As for devotion, I haven't any more of an idea of how to develop that than anyone else, but the advice I've gotten from my teachers is to do compassion practices and, if you have the transmission to do so, to do offering practices. These can cut through ego clinging and also help rediscover a sense of joy and upliftedness in practice.

If you're worried, maybe you could tell your teacher that you want to start practicing and she/he could give you some advice?

Best of luck... will be thinking of you.
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Re: reinvigorating practice

Postby justsit » Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:36 pm

lisehull wrote:And, how does one develop such devotion?


Nice explanation here.

And guru yoga...lots and lots of guru yoga.
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby greentara » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:46 pm

lisehull, Regarding devotion a good example is the way the Tibetan people simply adore the Dalai Lama and see him as a god like, divine figure and pour out their joy unashamedly. In Zen I can well imagine incredible love and respect for the master. Perhaps you have to find a teacher, a deity that can stir your heart as well the intellect.
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Re: reinvigorgating practice

Postby Inge » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:20 am

lisehull wrote:I have been meditating almost daily for almost five years. I found myself having resistance to sitting and when I discussed this with my teacher, she suggested I take a break to assess what meditation brings to my life and to see what works for me. She said it was normal to need to take a break and not to feel guilty about doing so.
It's been almost two months (I still do a weekly Green Tara meditation), and I am still having trouble determining how to reinvigorate my practice. I have been reading Buddhist-related books as well, but not the intensive, complex ones I had been struggling with, so I am not totally divorced from practicing and study. I am a Vajrayana practitioner.
Any suggestions on how to reinvigorate my practice are greatly appreciated. I would like to get going again soon.
:namaste:
Lise

I would think that learning to know about the fruit would be of benefit. At least for me it is difficult to make much effort if I do not know what will come off it.
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Re: reinvigorating practice

Postby lisehull » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:02 am

Hello everyone, and thank you for your input. I am not sure how to go about implementing all of the suggestions, but will give them a try as I take my break and when I begin meditating again. You are right, Greg, about hoping Yana doesn't come before I get back on track! I have a feeling that I am trying to rush getting back into meditating, but if i should just relax, take it in short sessions and contemplate the various suggestions that you all have offered, maybe I will ease back into things. It's difficult not to meditate when I have been doing it for so long, but I don't want to short-circuit the process of taking a break either. Maybe I just need to get on the cushion when the mood strikes rather than create plan for a restarting date and have goals for sitting. Yes, I have been doing shamatha and vipashyna meditations, along with Green Tara. Sometimes I also add in Chenrezig and one other deity meditation (not at the same time!) I have also done some day-long solo retreats at home. :juggling: In fact, I had just come back from a weekend vipashyna retreat when I decided, upon the suggestion of my teacher, to take a break.
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