rob h wrote: The last 15-20 mins didn't involve much meditation because it involved extreme levels of pain in one of my legs as I approached the hour. The only thing that got me through it was the thought "Do you want to sit through this all over again as you try to approach 60 mins for the 1st time?" That thought alone made me focus more than freaking out about the pain and it worked.
You can combine sitting meditation with walking meditation, 30 minutes of sitting, 5 minutes of walking, alternately. This way your legs and back won't get as stiff and uncomfortable. You have to train your bones and muscles.
Then, you can have a nice session of meditation lasting for hours and hours and hours!!!!
That may sound unimaginable. But people do it. To teach in Tibetan Buddhist traditions, you (usually) have to have finished at least one 3-year retreat. That's a lot. It also helps to weed out those who are perhaps not as qualified to teach others.
It is amazing how much our minds demand to be entertained, to be "doing" things. One really begins to see how much movement there is in the mind, and how it takes a lot of practice to bring the mind to a point of stillness, of letting it just rest in awareness. Just to sit and basically do nothing (although it seems that a lot of people do that) is really a hard thing to do at first.
It is natural for all sorts of things to come up in meditation...physical, mental, emotional, and a lot of questions arise. This is where a qualified teacher can really help, because they have been through these things before, not only through their own experiences, but with so many other students. Even though everyone is different, a lot of the same issues keep popping up over and over again. Thoughts that won't leave, various fears, and so on.
Often things come up that we feel are huge obstacles, because of our perspective, because they are emerging from our own minds. For example, sometimes people feel a little panic attack, because the mind is feeling like it's starving, and they start to freak out a little. Or, people experience a little bit of clarity, some level of calm mind that they have never felt before, and in their minds they make a big deal of it. The think maybe they have just become enlightened. It's sort of like a toddler learning to walk. These things turn out to be very minor issues and they pass.
I will make a wild assumption, and that is that most
(but not all) who have strong objections to having a teacher do not practice meditation with any regular consistency, or for any long periods of time, and that their understanding is thus more observational and academic, rather than as a result of practice. I am not saying that's a bad
thing in itself, but it is not the same thing.