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Trouble Meditating - Dhamma Wheel

Trouble Meditating

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Kori
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Trouble Meditating

Postby Kori » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:19 am

I'm not entirely sure if it's stress related, but lately I seem to be having an extremely hard time meditating. As a beginner, I normally meditate for about 15 or 20 minutes whenever I feel inspired to do so, but lately I can't seem to sit for more than five minutes without feeling restless and needing to get up. It's not a matter of posture, but I guess a state of mind. My mind wanders all over the place and I really can not focus. Is there a possibility I am not meditating properly?

I would also like to extend my meditation time, in order to progress from 20 minutes, to a half hour, to longer a day. Are there any recommendations on how I can expand this frame, and how slowly I should do so?

- Leah



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retrofuturist
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:21 am

Greetings Leah,

I would recommend making an effort during the day to cultivate wholesome mindstates, and prevent the arising of unwholesome mindstates.

This is called...

Right Effort
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... ma-vayamo/

This is a good support for Right Mindfulness, which is in turn a good support for Right Concentration/Samadhi.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Kori
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Kori » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:38 am

Thank you for your advice. I'll try harder to build on the Noble Eightfold Path, as I think that is where I am lacking.

- Leah



Cessation
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Cessation » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:20 pm

It's like that for all beginner's. I think you should just keep focusing on one-pointed meditation on the breath at the tip of the nostrils until you can calm and quiet the mind. It gets easier with more practice.

I been having trouble because of sinus problems in my head. :anjali:

Jhana4
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:39 pm

Hi Kori;

Meditation is a lot like jogging to lose a lot of fat.

If you jog only when you feel inspired, you are less likely to lose fat or even build up your wind. If you job regularly you will build up wind, be able to job more, burn up more fat and alter your metabolism.

It works the same way with meditation. If you do it consistently everyday you will find it easier to focus & your stress reflexes will change. You will find yourself responding to stress more quickly, but also powering down from stress more quickly.

It is better to focus on the habit of doing it every day rather than doing longer sits.

A good way to start is to pick the same time every day to do it. For example, after dinner when your day is done. Another example might be before you go to sleep, as there is always a "before you go to sleep" no matter how hectic your day is. If my day doesn't 12:30 AM I just tell myself "my day, unfortunately, didn't end to 1:30 am, so let me meditate now at 12:30 am ".
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Dan74
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:03 pm

I guess beginner or not there are always times when it's harder. I've been regularly sitting for about 8 years and sometimes (usually the times of stress) the mind takes a while to settle down. One difference now is that I stay on the cushion and don't jump up when it's like this. Stay with it.
_/|\_

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Kori
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Kori » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:08 am

Cessation, I suppose I will just have to try harder ^_^;

Jhana4, I had read that it didn't necessarily matter when you meditated, as long as it was every day at a time you felt most inspired to do it. But now that I think about it, what good did that do me? I haven't meditated for several days in a row because of this. I will take your suggestion to meditate at the same time every day and work from there. :smile:

Dan, I will try harder to stay down on the cushion. I tend to jump right up when I get frustrated, so I suppose all I need is a little more determination! :tongue:



Jhana4
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:12 am

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Kori
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Kori » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:50 am

Of course! I never thought of it that way. I have just now meditated following everyone's advice as I saw fit and I sat for 20 minutes uninterrupted. Thank you all for the help :tongue:



rowyourboat
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:54 pm

Maybe you need someone to supervise you! :tongue:

A good tip used by meditators everywhere, is to use walking meditation to settle the mind, before moving to mindfulness of breath.

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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acinteyyo
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:59 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Kori
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Kori » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:48 am

Rowyourboat,

I probably should have somebody supervising me but given my circumstances it can't be helped ^_^; I've yet to try walking meditation, is that considered standard before sitting meditation?

Acinteyyo,

Both the excerpt and the sutta were an interesting read and have given me some insight for my next meditations. I am trying to put more effort in my day to lose desire. It has been getting easier. Thank you for the help. :tongue:

On another note, I have been wondering this - is it okay to meditate more than one time a day? Say, for example, in the early morning before I were to go to school to relax my mind, and then after school to do my homework? I can't see why it would hurt but then again I could be wrong. :lol:

Mettā pāramī,
- Leah



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acinteyyo
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:50 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Dan74
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Dan74 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:43 am

_/|\_

rowyourboat
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Apr 16, 2011 3:47 pm

Hi Kori,

Yes, walking before sitting is a common instruction, if it is difficult to settle the mind. You can find basic walking meditation instructions on the web, I'm pretty sure- there may even be a video clip floating about, which might be helpful to see.

Meditating twice a day is a great idea! It will make it easier for your mind to settle.
:anjali:

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

Jack
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Re: Trouble Meditating

Postby Jack » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:45 pm

One's attitude toward those tough times is key. If you look upon these times as disturbing your meditation, you will have a problem. But, if you look upon them as the most useful part of meditation, the problem goes away. I think most experienced meditators will say they learned the most from the tough times not the easy times.

To paraphrase a lesson from the Buddha, he said meditation is like riding a horse. You might have a horse that is easy to ride. It follows every instruction, every touch of the reins. Or, you might have a horse that is tough to ride. It fights you at every turn. The Buddha goes on to say that the best situation, the situation when you can advance the most, is when your meditation is like the horse that is tough to ride.
jack


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