Still finding Zazen really hard

Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby Greg_the_poet » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:02 am

Zen is the only Buddhist tradition that makes any sense to me, and soto Zen at that. If it came down to just meditation techniques then I'd be part of the Theravada, as the Samadha and Vipassana meditations are eyes closed and more relaxing and I often feel good after doing them. However all the emphasis on re-birth, hell realms, hungry ghosts etc always put me off and it just seemed like a scare tactic, so I now find myself in the Mayayanha, though Tibetan Buddhism once again is far too intense. Zen it must be, I love reading books about zen, I love listening to podcasts, it's just the practice of Zazen itself I find so damn hard. I was at the Zendo today and near the end I was almost in tears cos I found it so uncomfortable emotionally and physically. Am I taking the wrong spiritual path here? Will I eventually get accustomed to this Zazen thing?
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby catmoon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:11 am

You are just pushing a little too hard. Ask your teacher if you can do shorter sits, leave early or start late. If he says no, then just sit elsewhere for a shorter time until you are comfy with longer sits.


As for emotional pain, it is something that needs to examined closely. Ask questions like, where did this come from? Is it real? What is my rational reason for being upset? Are these reasons valid? Is my ego involved? You can learn a lot in a hurry by honestly evaluating these. For instance, you may find that the upset state is dependent on the expectations you create.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby catmoon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:14 am

Physically, don't push yourself so hard. There is a danger of developing an aversion to meditation if it is consistently unpleasant.

Mentally, examine the unmet expectations that are fuelling the upset.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby Greg_the_poet » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:31 am

There's no other way I can do it. I cant just say to the Nun 'Can I sneak out half way though'?
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby Greg_the_poet » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:32 am

I don't know how I'm meant to examine my expectations. In Zazen aren't we meant to focus on the breath? I can't examine my feelings and concentrate on the breath at the same time. Maybe a Zen master can, I can't.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby catmoon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:34 am

I don't understand. Why can you not say that?

Another way would be to practice elsewhere in shorter sessions. Endurance will come in time, maybe quite soon.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby catmoon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:44 am

The idea I had was that you can't focus on the breath if you are immersed in mental upset. So you might need to take a little time to deal with the upset so that you can continue.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby Greg_the_poet » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:53 am

I've suffered from depression all my life and I'm doing all I can to help myself with it. I got into Buddhism because of my depression. All the other schools seem to think they can cure depression, Zen makes no such claims, maybe that's why I like Zen :)
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby catmoon » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:12 am

Cure? No, I don't think so. However I have been able to apply teachings on anger, mostly from Shantideva, that have made the battle easier. Throw in some meds and counselling and it gets fairly manageable.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby Jinzang » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:23 am

I was at the Zendo today and near the end I was almost in tears cos I found it so uncomfortable emotionally and physically.


When the meditation gets too difficult mentally, just take a break and relax. If it's too difficult physically, find an easier posture to take, or sit for shorter periods.

Am I taking the wrong spiritual path here?


Your decision, not mine. But I think your problems are workable.

Will I eventually get accustomed to this Zazen thing?


On one level, yes. If you keep at it the problems will lessen. But on another level, no. Meditation has an unsatisfying quality. It's like a bead of mercury that skitters away when you touch it. If you get accustomed to it, it's dead and lost its value.
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby kirtu » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:46 am

Greg_the_poet wrote: it's just the practice of Zazen itself I find so damn hard. I was at the Zendo today and near the end I was almost in tears cos I found it so uncomfortable emotionally and physically.


How long have you been practising? How long are you usually sitting?

The emotions: talk with the Zen teacher about this. When strong emotions arise AND they disturb your practice then you have to deal with them. It's best if you just sit with the emotions if you can but if they are causing a problem then this must be addressed.

Will I eventually get accustomed to this Zazen thing?


You will gradually deepen your sitting. You may not become physically accustomed to the practice though. It depends. On the physical level you can improve your ability to sit. The meditation itself can vary depending on many factors but you can deepen your concentration over time. Once you have good concentration then you can apply zazen as a real spiritual tool.

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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby Quiet Heart » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:57 am

:smile:
Greg_the_poet:

Read this below.
I stole it from another post on another topic...I apolgise to the original poster, but it may seem relevant to your problem.
---------------
Don't Meditate! Don't meditate! Don't meditate with the mind!
The mind's meditation amounts to deluded thoughts.
Thoughts bind you to cyclic existence.
With release from the mind, there is no meditation.

In space, emptiness without awareness,
tame the root of the mind endowed with awareness.
Tame it's root and relax.

-Sukhasiddhi
--------------
Not sure if that is your problem...but maybe your true path is other than the normal path.
There are thousand's of paths to the top of the mountain. Some go one way, others take another.
Some take a roundabout path, some climb directly. Only you know the path that is right for you.
Do not become bound to meaningless forms and attachments.
Like a young child, if it is now time to walk, stand up on your own two legs and walk.
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby Tara » Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:15 am

Please note a post from the duplicate topic has been merged into this thread and the duplicate topic has been deleted.

Regards,
It's not a competition. It's a choice.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby Jikan » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:24 pm

Greg_the_poet wrote:Zen is the only Buddhist tradition that makes any sense to me, and soto Zen at that. If it came down to just meditation techniques then I'd be part of the Theravada, as the Samadha and Vipassana meditations are eyes closed and more relaxing and I often feel good after doing them. However all the emphasis on re-birth, hell realms, hungry ghosts etc always put me off and it just seemed like a scare tactic, so I now find myself in the Mayayanha, though Tibetan Buddhism once again is far too intense. Zen it must be, I love reading books about zen, I love listening to podcasts, it's just the practice of Zazen itself I find so damn hard. I was at the Zendo today and near the end I was almost in tears cos I found it so uncomfortable emotionally and physically. Am I taking the wrong spiritual path here? Will I eventually get accustomed to this Zazen thing?


You're a beginner. Put aside for the moment your misgivings about the teachings on karma and rebirth in various realms until you get a chance to study them carefully with a capable teacher; you're not in a position to judge them one way or the other, so why worry about something you don't really understand?

I say this because these teachings are also front-and-center in Soto Zen, like all Buddhist traditions. You'll have to engage sooner or later if this is a path you commit to.

Now, Zazen is hard. It's an active practice. You can't sit back and just take it in passively; you can't be a consumer of it. It's work. You have to work at it. You can't expect it to just come to you like a TV show or a podcast.

Zazen is also challenging because you cannot avoid facing your own reality: your habits of mind, your anxieties, your laziness, whatever your particular case might be at any moment. You cannot delude yourself with it. Which is to say, you have to be willing to learn things that may be difficult to accept about yourself.
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Re: Still finding Zazen really hard

Postby White Lotus » Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:42 pm

body position and location are not that important. if youve got the basics you can gently practice at home without straining.

to start with just a few minutes every day, then as your meditation develops, longer stretches of time will become easier. i think that meditation is not so important, its what it means that matters... less so the states of samadhis. what does this meditation show you. what is it. analyse the meditation to see what it is, then you will no longer need it.

the original face is like looking in a mirror in the dark of night... zazen meditation is no different it shows you your original face.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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