Moving in a rut

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Moving in a rut

Postby Music » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:08 pm

I try to meditate. Thoughts 'ambush' me, catch myself, sigh, return to breath. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It feels like I am going in circles. Does this even have any benefit? I am not sure what I must do for a breakthrough.
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby TaTa » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:51 pm

Music wrote:I try to meditate. Thoughts 'ambush' me, catch myself, sigh, return to breath. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It feels like I am going in circles. Does this even have any benefit? I am not sure what I must do for a breakthrough.


If you do it every day it does have a benefit. In my humble opinion there is not such thing as "try to meditate". When we start we have to much expectations and we don't even know what a calm state is so why think "now im meditating" "now im not"?. Just go back to the breath and enjoy it, the fact that you can see that you are distracted its already a good thing!. We all feel frustrated at first, but the hardest thing is not to stay focus but to manage our expectations. Enjoy it, dont expect nothing!
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:13 pm

It definitely has a benefit...like anything else we get better at it by practicing. Eventually you can have some measure of control of thoughts as they arise, get quicker at knowing when you are getting involved with them, and also be able to 'adjust' concentration levels in a way that makes it easier to avoid involvement with them. If it's hard with the breath you can try using a visual object too. Personally I find that the busier my mind is the more I need the external object.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:18 pm

Music wrote:I try to meditate. Thoughts 'ambush' me, catch myself, sigh, return to breath. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It feels like I am going in circles. Does this even have any benefit? I am not sure what I must do for a breakthrough.
More circles, you will find that the circles will slowly get bigger and bigger.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby Rakshasa » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:29 am

Our Minds are highly programmable. Like in outer space, without much influence of gravity, whichever direction you "push" an object floating over there, it will continue on that new path, and if you push it towards another direction, it will take the new direction and continue on its way. Likewise, in our usual life, our mind is used to enjoying the objects of senses, we are always in internal dialogue, we interested in new things (latest TV episode of your serial, news, family matters, parties, gossip etc). But if you put effort and train your mind to observe the breath silent, as time passes on, with your perseverance, your mind will "get used to" observing the breath. Now you will actually have to put effort to again partake in mundane social matters and life. For example, that mundane state of mind is the "ground state" which the mind automatically assumes when you are not holding the monkey mind by observation, but if you practice anapana for a prolonged time, the observation of breath, will become the new "ground state" to which the mind will automatically revert if you are not especially making it indulge back in the normal world.

I personally think that Mahayana means not allowing the mind to develop any such "ground state" at all, not even the Jhanas.

That is my personal opinion and I appreciate if I am corrected by more knowledgeable members.
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:54 am

Rakshasa wrote:I personally think that Mahayana means not allowing the mind to develop any such "ground state" at all, not even the Jhanas.

That is my personal opinion and I appreciate if I am corrected by more knowledgeable members.


You're right - but doesn't than mean that we are then free to watch whatever show we like, and sit in whatever state arises, and not cling at all?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:02 am

Regarding the O.P. - it reminds me of something I read way back by... I think it was Alan Wallace, about how we chase our own tail until we become exhausted and then just give up, at which point insight arrives. I will search for it and link you when I find it.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:05 am

If you feel obscured, bow down before sacred objects and walk around them, make offerings and give alms, apologize for misdeeds, and so forth with deep-felt sincerity. Make yearning prayers that samadhi may arise within you. Then continue the practice.

-Clarifying the Natural State pg. 22
So the Four Powers basically, with aspiration prayers. Maybe 35 Buddha practice?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby catmoon » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:54 pm

Music wrote:I try to meditate. Thoughts 'ambush' me, catch myself, sigh, return to breath. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It feels like I am going in circles. Does this even have any benefit? I am not sure what I must do for a breakthrough.


Are the basics in place?

Regular practice, twenty minutes once or twice a day
Sila - no murdering people,
no bonking the neighbour's wife
no stealing
no lying
no drugs

In my experience, you need to be doing pretty well in all five to move forward.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby anjali » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:29 pm

Music wrote:I try to meditate. Thoughts 'ambush' me, catch myself, sigh, return to breath. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It feels like I am going in circles. Does this even have any benefit? I am not sure what I must do for a breakthrough.


How wonderful that you catch yourself each time you are distracted. It is the catching aspect of the practice that is the essence of mindfulness. Each time you catch yourself is a break-through. Keep on keeping on.
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby Jesse » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:25 pm

I try to meditate. Thoughts 'ambush' me, catch myself, sigh, return to breath. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It feels like I am going in circles. Does this even have any benefit? I am not sure what I must do for a breakthrough.


Getting frustrated happens when you expect alot from meditation, the best bet is to focus on relaxing and just let your thoughts do whatever they want, keep returning to the breath but when a thought comes up try welcoming it in like a good friend. Hope that helps. :)
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby Punya » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:02 am

Music wrote:I try to meditate. Thoughts 'ambush' me, catch myself, sigh, return to breath. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It feels like I am going in circles. Does this even have any benefit? I am not sure what I must do for a breakthrough.


For quite a while I thought of myself as the world's worst meditator so I sympathise Music. While we might think we have less ability than others, it really does come down sticking with it on a daily basis. I also found reading lots of books helped as it builds a faith in the Buddha's teachings and therefore the method we are trying to apply.

Metta
Punya
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby futerko » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:47 am

Sorry, I can't find that reference, too many years have gone by.

Personally I found focusing on the breathing to be really hard at first, and like Music here I had no idea what was supposed to happen. It wasn't until I started doing guided visualization meditations that it really clicked for me. I think I just found easier to have something more to focus on with clear instructions along the way.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Moving in a rut

Postby lowlydog » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:14 pm

Music wrote:I try to meditate. Thoughts 'ambush' me, catch myself, sigh, return to breath. Repeat, repeat, repeat. It feels like I am going in circles. Does this even have any benefit? I am not sure what I must do for a breakthrough.


As Greg wrote "more circles", maybe a residential meditation retreat could help. Also as Catmoon suggested starting with observation of 5 precepts is excellent advice. :smile:
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