KonchokZoepa wrote:also that doesnt necessarily apply to westerners.
and it doesnt say in any of theyre life stories that any of them accomplished shamatha through deity yoga.
I remember reading one story of ancient Tibetan Buddhist masters--I think it was about Gampopa and Milarepa.
If I remember correctly, Milarepa said to Gampopa something like "What does it matter that you can sit in samadhi for many days? You still haven't achieved realization! If you practice tummo, you will achieve realization quickly."
Perhaps someone here will be able to find the text or know which story I am talking about.
But even if they do, I am not sure that it says specifically which practices Gampopa (or whoever was in that story) did to achieve such a state of samadhi. Gampopa received the old Kadampa teachings so I guess he would have been practicing whatever an intermediate old Kadampa would have been practicing at that time.
You could try practicing a particular sadhana in solitary retreat for 1, 2, or more weeks and get a lama's instructions about how to plan your time in the retreat. It could be a worthwhile thing to try if you are still willing to practice some Vajrayana things.
But I also understand the motivation to drop it for more simplicity. That is how I felt as well.