samatha,experience,methods and also psychology of meditation

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samatha,experience,methods and also psychology of meditation

Postby KonchokZoepa » Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:07 pm

Hi, i have been studying samatha techniques and applying them but the process seems to be very slow.

applying psychology of meditation into meditation is much more skilled approach for me and tends to make me aware of the mind much more lucidly than simply focusing on the breath. also this just focusing on the breath seems to generate in me ignorance towards what is happening in my mind and just concentrating on the breathing, this creates uneasiness in me and i think this isnt right. can someone elucidate how this samatha training or breathing meditation works psychologically also, what the mind / meditation / breath process should entail when practiced correctly. ( i hope that people post theyre experience so we can all learn and reflect on this topic )

of course since i dont know if have experience of samatha that what it actually is. stillnes of the mind. concentration. when thoughts arise, simple awareness training seems to be much more beneficial, isnt this concentration also, being aware. is this samatha also. of course breathing is involved in this and works as an anchor but it is not the focus or the concentration point. i have studied the samatha stages a little bit from B Alan Wallace's book on samatha - unlocking the power of the focused mind. just a little bit, not the entire book. but he said that the 5th stage of samatha is focusing on the awareness and before that you should do simple breathing meditation.

is it possible to achieve samatha on the basis of working with the psychological principles, faculties or facets of the mind , the awareness and breathing combined as one experience?
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
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Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: samatha,experience,methods and also psychology of medita

Postby dimeo » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:39 am

Certainly, both awareness and breathing are essential to being alive, or " awareness and breathing combined as one experience" as you put it.

Shamatha and vipassana should both be practised and one is improved by the other. One explanation I've heard that makes sense to me is that shamatha practice is like sharpening a knife, where vipassana is using the sharpened knife to cut through the weeds so the garden will flourish. Both serve to purify the heart and mind.

I always appreciate Tilopa's Advice and find it's simplicity to be profound and beautiful:


Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.



Meditation practice may feel slow to you. I'm sure this feeling is commonly experienced! It's all part of the practice. As you still yourself and open your awareness, it is normal to sense feelings of impatience with the experience of stillness. That is why we need to practice it frequently. It is good to start with shorter amounts in the beginning and doing it often. Eventually you may feel more comfortable with longer periods of meditation. Stillness allows you to rest, settle and see more clearly through. Like murky water that becomes clear when the silt settles to the bottom.

What do you think is the reason you feel it is developing slow? In comparison to what? Were you hoping for an instant result? Do you feel something should happen during the time you are sitting? Or do you think you'd like a certain result from it by the next day? Or later in the week or month? Perhaps it feels strange to you to remain still when it may seem to you that you have more pressing concerns to attend to? What are your thoughts on this?


also this just focusing on the breath seems to generate in me ignorance towards what is happening in my mind and just concentrating on the breathing, this creates uneasiness in me and i think this isnt right


Sometimes meditation feels 'good' and other times it doesn't feel so good. It's important to not get attached to it feeling 'good' every time you meditate. Sometimes you might sit still and feel aches you didn't know you had. We're learning to be OK with things as they are. It takes practice to learn how to find refuge and rest in the stillness and spaciousness within.


also this just focusing on the breath seems to generate in me ignorance towards what is happening in my mind and just concentrating on the breathing, this creates uneasiness in me and i think this isnt right


This already is insight and awareness! And it's ok to feel this at first in your practice. Are you clinging to the certainty of "knowing" what is happening in your mind? Imagine that you can find comfort in a quiet and still mind. Imagine that instead of "knowing" through an internal monologue of words in your head, that you can find - even if just for a moment - a space between thoughts. It's a beautiful thing! You are familiar right now with a way of being and you call that "knowing". What if instead you were to become more familiar with another way of being, and eventually come to "know" that? With time and practice you may become more familiar with shamatha and it may start to feel more natural to you.

If you feel uneasy while placing your awareness on your breathing... try taking a nice full longer deeper breath in and out. Do it a few times. Check your posture while sitting. These are all healthy things to do!
Let all thoughts, sensations, feelings just come and go just as they do naturally. Be patient, compassionate, and gentle with yourself.
dimeo
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:31 pm

Re: samatha,experience,methods and also psychology of medita

Postby Neal » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:39 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:i have studied the samatha stages a little bit from B Alan Wallace's book on samatha - unlocking the power of the focused mind. just a little bit, not the entire book. but he said that the 5th stage of samatha is focusing on the awareness and before that you should do simple breathing meditation.


Having been to a shamatha course by B Alan Wallace, it is very much emphasized that you can train in (and aventually achieve) shamatha by practicing also any of the methods alone. I.e. mindfulness of breathing, settling the mind in its natural state, or awareness of awareness. Or you may e.g. alter between two of the practices, depending which of them works and suits best to you (depending on your temperament, body/mind constitution, state of mind at the time of the practice etc). And it is all about learning the practices first. (And needless to say, this takes some time - like learning any other thing in life).

The book you mention is the best that I've found that deals with learning shamatha. Even if the stage descriptions are accompanied with the practices in the mentioned order, it does not impose that the "order" is set - this I've heard so clearly emphasized by Alan himself. Keep on familiarizing with the methods by the book (but treat the book only as a guideline and support) and in addition to that, if you have a possibility to listen to podcasts, I recommend you to tune in to: http://podcasts.sbinstitute.com/fall2013/ There is a whole course of shamatha by the mentioned author. The stages and steps are very clear.

E.g. the podcasts from the episode 47 onwards (http://podcasts.sbinstitute.com/fall201 ... xcitation/) deal with describing the characteristics of each stage in detail - you may find that helpful to you as you go along!

All the best to your practice!
Neal
 
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Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:13 am

Re: samatha,experience,methods and also psychology of medita

Postby Neal » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:50 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:... and before that you should do simple breathing meditation.


By the way, the mindfulness of breathing may be a simple practice, but it aint easy!! :-) It is just that our stability and clarity are fairly poor at the beginning that we don't see the subtle aspects of breathing - till we train these faculties e.g. with shamatha.

Shamatha means sustained voluntary attention - that you are able to sustain your attention on a chosen object without distraction and grasping, for (eventually) as long as you wish. Unvawering attention. The ability to choose your object and stay there, as opposed to the "normal" attention span of an untrained mind that is only some 3-4 seconds at a time (with untrained mind concentration strays by coarse excitation (flow of thoughts, rumenation etc) during which you forget your object completely). At this point introspection should jump onboard and notice that your attention had strayed and then you can bring your attention back (to e.g. breathing).
Neal
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:13 am

Re: samatha,experience,methods and also psychology of medita

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:24 pm

thanks for the reply :smile:
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
Posts: 1358
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm


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