I need help with awareness

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

I need help with awareness

Postby Othorium » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:21 pm

Please excuse my long post, couldn't make it shorter.

Hi. I have a problem that I bet you have never heard of. And it has taken me a long time to find out that it was located in my eyes.

The fact is that I am diverging my eyes, the opposite of crossing (converging) them, slightly. This causes me to have immense tension building up around my eye and my whole body. If I voluntarily converge my eyes (which I have complete control over), there is just slight tension locally around the eye and not in the whole body. Just try to cross your eyes yourself and you will notice tension building up close to the eye.

This diverging movement (both eyes is involved I suspect) is very minute and is almost impossible to notice when you look at my eyes. I am completely in control over where I move my eyes up, left etc. But I cant seem to stop diverging them. And thats mainly because I am unable to control the little movement that makes them diverge. I am "unaware of it". Right now I'm diverging, which tells me that I'm controlling my brain to control my eyes. I am causing this.
I will diverge all day long, and have been doing it for many years; it depletes me of energy has made my back crooked, I get constipated all the time, because it makes me so tense.

The movement is very tiny, but there is so much tension around my eyes that I seem to confuse the tension with the actual diverging movement. So when I try to "un-diverge" I almost always end up trying to "undiverge" some part of the tension around or in the eye, and not my actual eye.

example:
Like say you you where flexing your biceps, and without stopping to flex it start to feel the tension. Then focus on a point where you feel tension while still flexing, if you try to move this point your focused on up, down, right and left while your muscle is still flexed you would not stop flexing your arm. You would only try to move the point in focus with no result, because the bicep cant move that way.
And thats what I do with my eyes. Only eye muscles are located in the skull, and I am trying to move points around and on my eye, because this is where I feel tension.

you can do this if you again converge your eyes, then start focusing on a point which is tense around or in the eye while still converging. in your mind try to move this point, its not going to do anything about the converging.

so in short i try to move parts which is not my eye, mainly because tension is all around my eyes and the tension is distracting me from experiencing the actual movement. i confuses me, where am I actually moving? I cant tell...


other times I will also end up visualizing my eyes moving, and then Im still not moving my eyes, im just mentally constructing movement in my head where on points around my eye where Im focused.

example:
say you would focus on your beer belly and then imagine that you would move it up to your chest. that isnt possible, but its a movement constructed in your head. a vizualisation/virtualisation with no actual muscle input to the muscles.

so what I need is a way to be so aware of moving and not confusing it with the tension or other sensations. successfully being able to separate movement from sensation.
there is probably many ways to think about this and use my brain to be aware that they are not the same thing. that way I will not mistake things that isnt movement with movement.
movement isnt felt, its dealt. you act the movement. you just have to help me think out ways to do this.

its also because the diverging movement is very small its hard for me to notice, I can move my eyes up and down right and left without any problem at all.

please don't suggest that this is caused by something else. many times I have managed to "undiverge" my eyes for a short time, my visual field then becomes normal and my whole body just releases and Im able to take a deep good breaths again. but i start diverging as soon as I have stopped it. I have filmed the actual "undiverging" to really be sure that this was the case.

help me get awareness and separate these two things I just need to experience them such that I can separate them, any mental suggestions or thinking methods will be greatly appreciated thank you!!!
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby Nilasarasvati » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:56 pm

Umm...I don't know why you'd think the Dharmawheel sangha would have an answer for you. It's kind of like asking us what we'd do if we found a lump in our breast.

If it was as simple as "just relax!" I'm sure you'd have done it already. It really does sound like a question for an eye doctor, to be honest.
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby Othorium » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:40 pm

Eye doctor can't help with me controlling my muscles, I went to two eye doctors. I need to rearrange my thoughts. I thought maybe meditation and the awareness you have of your body could give me some insight on how to "feel" or think about my sensations to be able to use them or separate them in function....
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:42 pm

I still don't understand exactly what you want help with. :shrug:
"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: I need help with awareness

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:53 pm

Gonna try to answer this from my own perspective, with this caveat:

if there is really something wrong with you in a conventional, physical sense, you need a healthcare provider of some kind.

So my advice here is just from my own perspective with chronic pain of a sort that doctors are clueless to do anything about, if that is the case with you, and you know the problem is actually with perception, and not your eye, hopefully it's helpful:

I have had chronic pain, and alot of mental baggage from chronic pain for most of my life, including a kind of hypochondria or obsession with my own physical irregularity having been born with a rare spinal condition. Meaning no offense, what you are describing sounds familiar in that sense, obsession with irregularity on a minute level - which everyone has, btw - irregularity that is. Alot of times, it has been my experience that we don't actually know how to seperate our physical problems from our baggage regarding them...and an argument can be made that they are two sides of the same thing anyway. No one's body functions in complete symmetry, and if you are bothered by your own lack of symmetry, the problem is not just with your body. The thing that has helped me most meditation wise with this specifically is vipassana/insight meditation, as it will help you to actually "see" the different layers that make up what you think as as pain or dysfunction. If you can see yourself thinking thoughts that don't make sense, it can be helpful.

So the issue is maybe not the thing you think it is, but rather how you categorize and relate to what you see as a "problem".

If you want to try meditation, find a place, teacher and tradition that will get you started on Shamatha/Vipassana types of meditation.

I really hope that makes sense, and i'm hope my hunches are right.. because again if you really need physical help, no one here can do anything...if what you are looking for is a way to more objectively see your pain though, I believe it can. Thing is though, you really need a good teacher for that, so look for an insight meditation teacher of some kind if you want to try meditation for this.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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: I need help with awareness

Postby Jikan » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:47 pm

Othorium wrote:Eye doctor can't help with me controlling my muscles, I went to two eye doctors. I need to rearrange my thoughts. I thought maybe meditation and the awareness you have of your body could give me some insight on how to "feel" or think about my sensations to be able to use them or separate them in function....


Really? Is this according to the doctor? Because, according to the mayo clinic...

for people with symptoms, treatment with eye-focusing exercises can increase the eyes' convergence ability. Treatment may take place in the office of a trained therapist or at your home. Treatments may include:

Pencil pushups. In this simple exercise, you focus on a small letter on the side of a pencil as you move it closer to the bridge of your nose, stopping the movement if you have double vision. The exercise is often done for 15 minutes a day, five or more days a week.

Computer vision therapy. Eye-focusing exercises are done on a computer using special software designed to improve convergence. You may print out the results to share with your eye doctor.

Reading glasses. Glasses with built-in prisms force your eyes to work harder to align and are sometimes used for people who need help with their reading vision. But they can be tiring to your eyes and generally haven't proved effective.


http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/conver ... -and-drugs

I strongly encourage you to seek proper medical treatment for the medical problem you are experiencing.

Since you asked: Meditation is a spiritual practice. Its purpose is to see directly one's situation as it really is.


***
Please understand that I'm no doctor and I'm not giving medical advice here. Please be a friend to yourself and seek medical care from a qualified professional.
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby Othorium » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:26 pm

thank you for your replies. I have been to a doctor(s), and he tells me the exact same thing, that its in my mind. I have read Sarnos book on how people create the pain problem themselves, I thought it was all me obsessing etc, but I came by accident upon the revelation that I was causing it myself with an actual movement in my eye. my problem its not so much about pain as it is about chronic tensing of muscles which makes me feel exhausted, distracts blood flow, makes me constipated etc.

there is nothing wrong with my nerves, this is a voluntarily action I have forgotten how to de-engage.
Ill try to make my explanation easier.
Lets say one of you guys where converging your eyes, and you forgot how to move your eyes to a normal position again because some other sensory input was distracting you from perceiving the actual movement you where engaging unwillingly, but still voluntarily (because movement is caused by you telling your brain to do it). now when you tried to find out how to move them back all the sensory input from around your tense hurting eyes is distracting you from being aware of the movement. accidentaly causing you to try to move the tension you feel around the eye instead of the actual eye: from the converging position to the normal position.

only in my case, I haven't "forgot how to" move my eyes from a converged position to a normal position. I have "forgotten" how to move them from a slightly diverged position to a normal position. I am forcingly pushing both of my eyes outwards a little bit, and this causes me to tense a lot because its an unnatural position.

now what I want to do is to be able to separate the sensory input from tension from actual movement. so that I will not confuse them for being the same thing. I need some sort of mental concept which could help me "experience this...

I know this is weird but that's how it is.
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:42 pm

All pain is just "in your mind", where else would you experience it? That doesn't mean it's not real, it just means there are layers to it that might not be what you think they are.

The simple answer if you want to try meditation for this (or anything where medical help comes up short) is just try Shamatha/Vipassana, preferably from a qualified teacher who resonates with you. No meditation teacher is going to teach you to differently use eye muscles or anything I don't think, but you might be able to gain some insight by stepping back and bit and being able to examine what the exactly the problem is, and whether your take on it is accurate, or colored by looking at it through a bubble you didn't know was there. Some vipassana tradition is even body-scan meditation, which sounds like it'd be perfect.


So if you've been to doctors already, and they say there is no overt physical component.. and you want to try meditation, that's what i'd recommend..but understand, meditation is likely not going to get you moving your eyes differently, the first thing to do I would think is for you to sit down and examine your feelings, physical sensations, and reactions to this whole thing...to do that though you'd need some instruction, and it wouldn't come right away.

Failing that, therapies like EMDR or sort of an attempt at a shortcut version to the same thing, so you might look into that as well.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
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: I need help with awareness

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:04 pm

Othorium wrote:thank you for your replies. I have been to a doctor(s), and he tells me the exact same thing, that its in my mind.
All the doctors you saw told you it is psychosomatic? So you have not tried the physical training exercises at all?
there is nothing wrong with my nerves, this is a voluntarily action I have forgotten how to de-engage.
Which means that it is no longer voluntary. You have trained your body to act in this way, now it is time to train it to act differently (normally) again.

I really cannot see how meditation will help you except by working on lessening the obsession you seem to have with the functioning of your eyes. I reckon if you just relax the mental tension your eyes will move back to their "normal" position of their own accord. Doing the physical exercises at the same time will probably help too.
"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: I need help with awareness

Postby KungaJanis » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:45 am

Hi,

I think you could benefit from Mindfulness = Calming Meditation = Shamata meditation.
The very beginning of this practice, would seem to help or fix your problem.
I have put some parts in bold, that I think describe your problems and it's remedy.
There is a lot more, than I have posted here, at this web site.


The Table of Contents follows.

Type of Meditation.....................................Stages of Meditation

Calming Meditation = Shamata..........................Introduction
..........................................................................Lesson 1 - Placing the Mind
..........................................................................Lesson 2 - Keeping Focus
..........................................................................Lesson 3 - Dealing with Dullness
..........................................................................Lesson 4 - The Controlled Mind
..........................................................................Lesson 5 - Dealing with Agitation
..........................................................................Lesson 6 - The Pacified Mind
..........................................................................Lesson 7 - Single-Pointed Focus
..........................................................................Lesson 8 - A Balanced Mind
..........................................................................Lesson 9 - Complete Achievement of Shamata
..........................................................................Lesson 10 - After Shamata?

Contemplation and Placement Meditation...........Contemplation and Placement Meditation
..........................................................................The Importance of Ritual & the Dangers of Routine

Vipashyana Meditation........................................An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Vipashyana Meditation


*** Please pay special attention to, the practice with a candle flame. Use the electric kind to avoid the risk of a fire.
Place it in front of you and focus on the tip of it. ***



The following, parts of a text, come from the Mindfulness or Calming Meditation or Shamata article.
By - LarryReside, at http://www.PeacefulGarden.ca



Shamata is sometimes called either Mindfulness Meditation or Calming Meditation. It is called Mindfulness Meditation because mindfulness is the main part of the technique. It is called Calming Meditation because calmness is one of the main results. SHAMATA actually means complete concentration. The obstacles to complete concentration are also the same things that prevent us from being calm or from seeing ourselves and the world around us clearly


The 9 Stages of Shamata

Shamata meditation is first about training the mind to focus on a single task without getting distracted, and then we learn how to use that focus to observe and understand our own mind. It eliminates the shotgun reaction or the tendency to react completely automatically to what we're experiencing.

There are 9 Stages leading to the full attainment of Shamata where we have complete concentration with no effort and the physical and mental bliss from having a better understanding and more control of our body and minds. The stages are traversed upwards & downwards based on:

1) The length of time between meditation sessions. We are trying to develop focus, awareness, and peacefulness. We are not used to experiencing these things and so we are like someone trying to learn to play tennis for the first time. Therefore we need to imitate a professional player and practice playing until we get good at it. In the same way, we are not really meditating at first, but are imitating real meditators. That's why it's called meditation practice. We need to practice doing it over and over again until we get good at it. Just like practicing the piano, the larger the gaps of time between practice sessions, the longer we will have to work through the lower levels to get to the higher stages of meditation.

2) Our energy level or health during meditation sessions. If our energy level is low or we are sick or fighting sickness, then achieving our usual meditation levels and staying there may be more difficult.

3) Our level and strength of agitation or dullness currently present in daily life. If our life is particularly stressful or if we are going through a particularly intense period, our agitation may be stronger, or dullness may be strong from being tired or from focusing very hard on our problems and their feelings. This will make meditation more difficult and less effective (especially in the beginning). This high agitation or extreme dullness will make our advances slower. At this point it is better to have many small meditation sessions than to try to meditate for long periods of time. Extra rest, a change of scenery, physical exercise, and good nutrition will help alleviate these difficulties.

4) Our ability at each time to catch agitation and dullness. How careful we are during meditation to catch agitation or dullness while they are happening, will vary the speed and intensity of our advancing through the stages. Progress will be slower if we are more lax or are too intense, and will be faster if we are watching more diligently but calmly. We may not have much say in the matter, especially until our awareness of how our mind works increases. However, if we wish to advance quickly to the higher stages, we must be diligent in catching agitation and dullness and maintaining a balanced level of alertness and relaxation.

The stage that is considered our current level is the stage that we spend most of our time in during our meditation session. If we practice regularly, we will go through the stages back to this current level quickly. After that, we will have moments of going one or two levels past our current one (maybe even more) and that becomes the incentive for continuing practice. However, we must not grasp at these attainments, trying to re-create them. The stages must be experienced freshly and naturally. Attempts to regenerate stages only strengthens the separation between our "normal" state and our new meditative state. Experiencing the stages must occur naturally, organically and unforced (and they will).

We can try to practice this meditation for 10 minutes once a day.

Some people may not be able to meditate for even 10 minutes. There are some people who can't even sit still for 1 minute, let alone 10. This is not very good. These people are wound up like a tight spring, which is not healthy. Eventually the spring could snap and completely unravel. If you look at a wind-up toy or an old clock, you can see how this works. If there is the right amount of tension then the clock works. Too little tension and it doesn't work; too much tension and its completely broken and will not work properly again. If you start by putting in too much tension, the clock will not work properly right from the beginning.

For these type of people, it would help to just sit and count out-breaths until they reach 21. If they can do that regularly for a period of time, then they should try counting their outbreaths from 1 to 10 for 3 cycles. They can then gradually work from 1 minute of meditation to 5 minutes and then gradually get to 10 minutes. They may also try going for a relaxing walk first and then meditate - or try to meditate by a lake or out in nature or in a place that they find particularly calming.

Once we practice this way regularly, we try increasing each time to 15 minutes, returning to 10 minutes when we are short on time or energy. The effects are cumulative, so it is important to try to meditate regularly. Short regular sessions are far more valuable than long sessions followed by long gaps between meditation sessions. It is important not to strain too much in meditation. We should always ensure that we create an atmosphere where we feel meditation is helpful and that we make it enjoyable enough to increase our desire to return to it.


We should always return to a lower time when busy or too agitated or tired. We can eventually increase the length of time for our meditations or increase the frequency to twice each day. The best period of time for meditating is during transition periods between one activity and the next. (Between showering and breakfast, or between finishing work and starting supper, or just before bedtime, or at lunch break). For myself, my best times turn out to be just after breakfast and before I start the rest of my day, and at about 2:30 in the morning when I wake up in the middle of the night.

It can be amazing how difficult it can become to find even 10 minutes to do meditation and it can be amazing how many excuses we can find not to meditate. It is important for each of us to find, usually by trial and error, our own best transition time to use for practice. Then we need to try hard to stick to that time, but we shouldn't beat ourselves up too badly when we have problems. When we DO have problems we merely need to look at what happened and see if it was really avoidable or not and then try again.

Meditation takes more effort than people realize but it should be a practice that we look forward to and so we need to make sure that we don't force ourselves too much or practice too hard or for too long a time.




Lesson 1
Placing the Mind


In the first two stages of Shamata meditation, the metaphor of the Monkey, Rabbit, and Elephant is often used to describe our minds. In this example the mind is described as strong & powerful (the elephant) but smashing around, rough and lumbering because it is jumping from one thing to another (the rabbit (sense consciousness)) and it is going in any direction at the slightest whim and toying with, evaluating, and commenting on everything (the monkey (discursive thought)).

First, we tame the rabbit by reducing the amount of distractions and maintaining a certain environment and posture.

The first step in taming the rabbit is to set up a conducive environment. We need to find a clean, quiet place, without clutter and neatly arranged, where we can practice. There should be very little in the room or practice area and we could set out reminders of our spiritual practice including pictures, statues, books, offering substances (incense, food, candles, etc). The cleanliness and simple decorations are to reduce the visual distractions. if we do happen to get distracted, having objects of spiritual importance in the room will help remind us of our practice.

The quietness of the space removes the tendency of the mind to chase after sounds. Any sound that we do hear should be regarded as part of the background in the same way as the visual objects that decorate the room should be considered background. It is good at first try to practice in the same place as much as possible. This helps to reinforce our positive mind states and energize our practices. With time, just entering the room can bring us into a calm meditative state.

Another way that we control the rabbit is to keep our gaze slightly downward, just off the end of our nose. We focus in a general way and not at any particular point. If we are the type of person that tends to be very agitated or restless, it may help to close our eyes completely at first. If we tend to be very dull and sleepy, it may help to open the eyes more fully and look straight ahead. In the case of dullness, it may help to meditate outside sometimes, while looking at the sky. For someone who is agitated, short meditation sessions just after a quiet walk might be helpful at first.

The purpose of incense is to control our tendency to be distracted by smells. The incense should not be too sweet or too pungent, but pleasant and as neutral a smell as possible.

For the sense of taste, we place our tongue lightly on our upper palette, just behind the teeth. This allows the mouth to stay moist but without excess saliva. Also, in this position, excess saliva is quickly eliminated.

In terms of the sense of touch and body awareness, we sit and hold ourselves in a certain position. If we stood, we would have a tendency to want to move somewhere. If we lay down, we would have a tendency to sleep. That is why sitting is the usual posture.

Some teachers insist on a strict sitting posture, but I feel that there may be some situations where strict posture is not possible, especially in the west, where we are not used to sitting cross-legged at all. Certain yoga exercises can be done to help achieve the perfect posture, but for some people, it may not be possible at all. Some people with severe back or neck problems may need a chair or even need to meditate lying down. There is also a walking meditation that is practiced in Zen or Chan monasteries as a break between sitting meditation sessions.

The best position is known as the full lotus position, which has the legs crossed with the feet on the opposite thigh. We can also just sit cross-legged. The hands should be either right hand cupped in the left with thumbs touching, or palms down on or near the knees. The back should be as straight as possible. We should feel solid, secure and comfortable and we should try to keep awareness of our bodily position and our level of relaxation and tension. In this position, all of our energy flows in a circle towards our chi center, just one hand width below the navel.

The above position is designed to strengthen our energy and promote concentration. As soon as we move away from this position, we move away from this solidity and focus.

Some meditators can be seen with their hands open, with palms up and thumb touching their third finger. This is a position of being open to the world. The thumb touches the third finger to help prevent negative energy from entering their psychic channels from the outside. This type of position is not used in Buddhism (despite what you may see on TV), but can be used to work on our interaction with outside forces. Because we are trying to gain control of our minds and improve our focus, we keep the hands in a circular position at our navel or flat on our thighs.

For those who can't sit with their legs in full lotus, they can use 1/2 lotus, or Burmese position where the legs don't cross. They can also sit cross legged. In Zen Buddhism, they usually kneel with their palms resting on their thighs just above the knees. This is also a very stable and firm position, but requires a lot of strength in the knees and legs. In all of these cases, having your rear-end high helps stabilize the position and make it easier on the legs and joints.

For many of us in the west, because of lack of familiarity or practice or because of age, we can't sit cross legged, and so, we may need to use a chair. It can be more comfortable, when using a chair to keep our palms face down just above our knees. If we do use a chair, then our feet should remain flat, in order to keep as much solidity as possible in this position.

To make sure we are in a comfortable position, we can do the following exercise. Starting at the top of the head, we think of relaxing that part of the body. We work our way slowly down to our neck, shoulders, arms, hands, torso, hips, legs and feet; relaxing each part. At first this can take several minutes, but with practice this can take only a few seconds. This helps to make sure our back is straight and our position is comfortable.

We calm the monkey by focusing on the out-breath and watching for agitation and dullness.

We need to learn to calm down the monkey mind and to teach the monkey when to act and when not to act. We need to learn to ignore the monkey's constant chattering, when he's not helping us, until he settles down. We need to provide space for our minds, just like giving a large, safe pasture to a wild horse. Though the horse runs all through the pasture at first, eventually he will settle down and begin grazing calmly.

To begin calming the monkey and giving our mind this sense of space as well as working on the distractions of the mind, we begin by focusing our mind on our breathing.

Focusing on our breathing and watching our bodily sensations for tension or poor posture, or watching our mind for agitation and dullness are all ways to give the monkey-mind something to do that will actually help us out. With practice, we will train the monkey to stop chattering away all of the time and work with alertness to help us bring our attention back to the breathing and keep us alert and relaxed at the same time.

In other types of practices, we can use Mantras, or certain concepts and ideas as meditation objects to focus on. The Practice of reciting Mantras also helps to cut through our Monkey-minds and their discursiveness. The Mantras also have meaning, and, if we know the meaning of the mantra, repetition can help instill the meaning into our minds. For example, with the Mantra Om Shanti, Shanti means "patience" or "peace". So repeating "Om Shanti" is like telling ourselves over and over again - "peace, peace, peace" or "patience, patience, patience".

We can also focus on a candle light or a white light which can be used to instill clarity in the mind. If we wish to open up and be less closed in mentally and physically, we can look at the sky or something blue. If we wish to be calm, we can look at the grass or something green, or watch the even rhythm and fluidity of water and the waves in a lake or ocean.

If our minds are very active, tends to multitask, and is easily distracted, we can choose an image of the Buddha or some other peaceful image. First we would look at a picture of this image for a few moments and then attempt to visualize the image in our own minds. Then we would focus on trying to maintain that visualized image in front of us while we hold the meditation posture. Gradually over time, we would try to improve the clarity and detail of our visualization.

There is also focusing on an object to gain insight into it's qualities. This is similar to scientists watching animals in an attempt to gain understanding. There is also focusing on certain problems looking for a solution, or focusing on certain concepts such as "What is Compassion, and why should I practice it?" in an effort to apply the resulting understanding to our lives. Though this is often called meditation, it really is more of a contemplation. It uses the concentration and the mind control developed during meditation in order to investigate, observe our reactions, and stay on topic. This is still an important activity to engage in, especially in terms of spiritual development, but it is not really meditation per se.

Meditation is a science of the mind. Just as a concert pianist becomes skilled on the piano, a skilled meditator becomes capable of creatively working with their own minds and the resulting effects in the world around them.

The reasons why breathing is chosen in Shamata is because we always carry it with us, it is both internal and external, it is both impermanent and continuous, and it is connected to the body energy and the thought process. We try to unite the mind with our breath and just observe the operation of our body and mind and their reactions to our environment.

We focus on the cool sensation at our nostrils as we breath in, we feel our abdomen expand (breathing from the abdomen is supposed to be healthier and more calming than breathing from the chest). We then focus on the warm sensation of our out-breath at our nostrils as our abdomen retracts.

In the beginning, it may help to count our out-breaths to help us cut through discursiveness and better gauge our alertness. At the first out-breath, we count 1. At the next out-breath, we count 2. We do this until we reach 10, then return to 1 and start over. Each time we lose count, or go over 10, we return to 1. Each time that we find we have been distracted from the breathing, we return to 1 again. This helps us to maintain focus.

We try to just observe our thoughts and feelings etc. as they arise and pass away. We don't dwell on them, but we don't try to chase them away. We constantly return our focus to our breathing and the stillness and quiet around us, when we've discovered that we've strayed. We observe our thoughts and feelings as if we were a biologist watching animals coming and going from a watering-hole. We note them, but we do not react to them. We don't try to analyze them, but we look at them as if they are part of the background.

It is important to keep our attention like the strings on a guitar, neither too loose or too tight. The main obstacles to concentration are agitation and dullness and these must be counteracted with memory and alertness. If agitation, restlessness or tension sets in, then we loosen our concentration and relax our posture and try to release, or let go of, our tension. If dullness, sleepiness, or slouching sets in, then we tighten up our attention and straighten our posture. Forceful attention which is usually called Squeezing attention is needed to maintain concentration on the breath in the beginning stages. Mental wanderings (gross agitation) are the main obstacles or areas to work on in the beginning of our practice.



The 1st Stage - Placing the Mind

This stage is the result of hearing about meditation and learning the instructions. If we can meditate for 30 seconds without wandering, then we have completed this stage.

Once we have begun a regular practice, it can help to get a good feel for the possible results and benefits of meditation by doing a meditation retreat in which we designate a day or several days where we meditate many times over the course of each day. Again, it helps to start slowly and not take on too much too soon. Meditation retreats can involve 4 to 6 sessions per day, of 1/2 or 1 hour each, (with a 5 or 10 minute break at the 1/2 hour), involving meditations interspersed with lectures, prayers, contemplations, or studies.
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There are eye exercises and relaxation exercises, on the web, but in keeping the topic on Tibetan Buddhism this seems a good suggestion for you to try.
I hope it is of benefit to you.
KungaJanis
 
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby avisitor » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:00 am

Othorium wrote:Eye doctor can't help with me controlling my muscles, I went to two eye doctors. I need to rearrange my thoughts. I thought maybe meditation and the awareness you have of your body could give me some insight on how to "feel" or think about my sensations to be able to use them or separate them in function....


I know this is late .. but, it sounds like you are looking for some sort of feedback system
So that you can train yourself to work your muscles in the way that would most beneficial.
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avisitor
 
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby Derek » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:41 am

Othorium, here's my suggestion. And I emphasize it's only a suggestion, because I have no special expertise in your condition.

Try making awareness into a formal practice. Sit down for say, 15 minutes a day, just to be aware of what's happing in your body. Do that every day. Experiment with whether it's best to be aware of the entire body, or just the area around your eyes.
Derek
 
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby Othorium » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:46 am

Thank you all. I will read the replies. And try some of the suggestions!

edit: Oh I dont even remember that I made some replies after the initial post :P
Othorium
 
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Re: I need help with awareness

Postby Minjeay » Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:22 am

If it's about meditation, during meditation you should not pay attention to any possible sensations, so whether it happens or not is as unimportant as possible meanings this might have.

If it's not about meditation you might be in the wrong place for getting helpful answers for your problem.


Best
Minjeay
 
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