sleepiness at meditation

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:12 pm

Recently I encounter sleepiness at meditation all the time. I try to do away with sleepiness by meditating on light and focus on my breathing, but this doesn't work out. I even sleep more to alleviate this problem, however it seems to improve in times and worsen in times... Also, my mind is drifting away all the time... I mean I just can't have good concentration lately. How can I solve this problem?
Should I continue with my practice? Or should I give up meditation for a while?
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:31 pm

From one layperson to another...you may try small sessions of lesser duration rather than a long session.
Try Perhaps 10 minutes or so at a time. Several sessions instead of say 30 minutes at once.

If you use visualization, visualize a bolt of light emenating from your head to the sky, or some such thing. If your mind gets scattered visualize a dark bolt going into the ground.
If you use a object use a light well lite light colored one.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:32 pm

No, don't give up on meditation. There are many reasons why you might be sleepy in meditation. Diet, sleeping patterns, stress, etc...

I sometimes will have a nap and then go meditate. It rids me of any drowsiness.

Coffee might help. :D
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby sangyey » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:45 pm

May I ask If you are meditating with your eyes closed? If so, you might want to consider Vairochana's seven point posture where the eyes are neither too far open nor too far closed. Really helps to overcome the fault of laxity and enhance clarity.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Enochian » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:03 pm

Let the body go to sleep.

The mind can stay awake.

It is a novel state.
There is an ever-present freedom from grasping the mind.

Mind being defined as the thing always on the Three Times.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:04 pm

What are the Vairochana's seven point posture?

The first technique I learned was to focus on my breathing, later I was taught to recite a mantra, but this doesn't work with me. So, I learned vipassana. At first vipassana seemed to be very good, but I started to have some reactions in the body and later I came by a monk from Canada who taught me to count my breathing as I inhale. However, after following his advice, I come to fall asleep very easily...

May I ask If you are meditating with your eyes closed?


Well, I used to meditate with my eyes half open. But then, they told me that it's wrong, I should do it with eyes closed... I have been asking whether I should do it with eyes open or closed? But got different answers...

This is so confusing... :shrug:
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:24 pm

Kagyu a form of Tibetan Buddhism requests most usually eyes open.

Your other temple or sangha members may think you are cheating :smile: , but most schools of Buddhism allow tea(caffeine) and have reference to that in their teachings in some manner or other.

In certain environments I simply must use that. It is my personal psychiology as a result of prior circumstances effect.
So I don't mind the others. ONes meditation is no less pure if one has a cup of tea or other before meditation.
Too much and one can become scattered.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby sangyey » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:36 pm

Yes, It depends on which tradition you are following. Vairochana's seven point posture comes from the Tibetan lineage ( not sure about any other lineages as well)? There are complete instructions on how to achieve meditative stabilization.....I received them from my teacher as well as studied Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim to help with further classification that is text based. In the Tib. System there are 2 primary flaws (laxity and excitement) 2 qualities that need to be upheld non- discursive stability and clarity ( see post from above). As well as relying on the two mental qualities mindfulness and vigilance to achieve meditative serenity as well as some other instructions. Of course this presentation is coming from the Tib. Lineage but I guess you will have to see what works best for you.

As to my first post suggesting Vairochana's seven point posture ( you can just do a search on the internet and find more info on it) but I actually tend to have the opposite problem of yours which is excitement and so therefore it's important for me to not have my eyes too far open so I can maintain stability on the object and then with the eyes not being all the way shut I can also foster the clarity aspect focusing on the object I.e., maintaing the 2 qualities ofshamatha stability and clarity.

I'm not sure what background you are coming from or what you have an inclination toward but just some info that I thought I would share.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:48 pm

Thank you so much, sangyey!

I'll do the searching on the internet! You know, sometimes I think it requires a teacher for meditation!
By the way, the Lam rim Chenmo is what I am reading now. I have just started a few pages. Actually, I was very interested in Tientai and had been studying the Patriarch Zhiyi's " Essentials of Buddhist Meditation". The preparatory stages are very similar to those suggested in Larim Chenmo, but I still haven't got time to read it in detail.

I was more interested in studying the doctrine but recently, I am trying to work on meditation too. I am still a newbie in meditation!!

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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby sangyey » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:01 pm

Your welcome :smile:

Good luck with your studies and practice. I can't emphasize learning the Lam Rim enough. It's really beneficial. I remember after studying it for awhile I was like wow I almost know everything that should be done in any situation and how to implement the practice. (Whether I am actually doing it is another story....hehe).

When I first received the Shamatha instructions from my teacher I never knew about the clarity aspect that needs to be upheld. He said that a lot of people make the mistake and think that meditation is just about stability but he pointed out how people's minds would get dull from just focusing on the one aspect and gave some examples of teachers in Tibet who actually had ther students stop meditating and play checkers instead so as to get there minds sharp again.
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Paul » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:24 pm

Here's a list off the top of my head that might help:

Meditate in a bright room
Avoid heavy foods
Drink caffeine
Keep your eyes open
Look upwards
Keep the room cool
Do some prostrations
Get enough sleep
Meditate on compassion/renunciation for some time
Deliberately expel the stale air from your lungs
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

-Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:37 pm

Hehehe.... Nice picture!!! :bow:
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:27 pm

Annicca wrote:Recently I encounter sleepiness at meditation all the time. I try to do away with sleepiness by meditating on light and focus on my breathing, but this doesn't work out. I even sleep more to alleviate this problem, however it seems to improve in times and worsen in times... Also, my mind is drifting away all the time... I mean I just can't have good concentration lately. How can I solve this problem?
Should I continue with my practice? Or should I give up meditation for a while?


Why do you meditate?
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:46 am

Trying to get my mind focus and it's a way to have a better understanding of yourself!

For the purification of the mind...
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:55 am

Annicca wrote:Trying to get my mind focus and it's a way to have a better understanding of yourself!

For the purification of the mind...


What stops you from focusing?
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:19 am

those drifting thoughts....

You guys, by the way, I'd like to know if it is possible to have the replies notified at my email? :tongue:
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:42 am

What are you focusing on?
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby meiji1 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:54 am

Bokar Rinpoche wrote that, to combat sleepiness in meditation, you should peel your eyes wide open and imagine you're looking at the sky. Works wonders. I had constant feelings of drowsiness when I first started meditating daily, which was only 2+ months ago.. now they're completely gone, and I can meditate with my half eyes closed while feeling totally awake and aware..
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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Annicca » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:35 am

meiji1, thanks so much for your advice. I'll try it and see how it works!
I tried to think on light but it doesn't work with me, so I'll see how this works!


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Re: sleepiness at meditation

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:30 pm

Something that also worked for me was to raise my gaze a little.
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